Jesus' Nickname

Mathew 11:19 " A friend of tax collectors and sinners"

I don’t know about you, but when I was younger (a long time ago), we had nicknames for everyone. Rarely was anyone called by their real name.  For me, my nickname was “Forch”, short for Fortunato.  "Hey Forch, how's it going”, “Forch, let’s go play baseball”.  You don’t hear too many nicknames anymore, but when you do, hopefully it’s something that characterizes a person in a positive way.

Not so with the Pharisees.  They gave Jesus a nickname that they intentionally wanted to be seen as a negative.  But their plan had the exact opposite effect.  They said that Jesus was “a friend of tax collectors and sinners”.  Oh my, how scandalous!  But instead of a negative, this became a positive because the name revealed the heart of God for all people.

As a friend of sinners, they came to Him in big numbers. However, they did not remain the same. The unconditional love and unmerited favor of Jesus changed their lives.  Luke 15:1 says, "Then all the tax collectors and sinners kept drawing near to Him to hear Him".

Imagine if every church had the same nickname, “The friend of sinners”. How do you think the sinners would feel?  I can just imagine where they would go, and to whom they would go to if they needed help in their lives.  Jesus was honored by that nickname, it said who He really was. Let’s make that our nickname too, shall we!