In what is commonly referred to as the “love month” due to the celebration of Valentine’s Day, I have a word of unimaginable comfort for you from the One who loves you more than you could ever imagine.
“But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them’ ” (Luke 15:2 NIV).
Who is This Man who welcomes sinners and eats with them? He is none other than God incarnate who left the throne room of heaven, took on the flesh of man in the form of a servant and went to a cross to pay the penalty of sin. This Man is Jesus Christ, fully divine and fully man. . . “Jesus is the Word who was God and was with God and was made flesh” (John 1:1, 14). In the words of Charles Spurgeon, “It needs an angel’s tongue to describe such a mighty stoop of love.” To be sure, a holy God in human flesh needs an angel’s tongue to plumb the depths of such amazing love.
Yet, this “stoop of love” was done for you, a sinner in need of a Savior. How incredibly sad to see the Pharisees and the teachers of the law complain about this “stoop of love,” that they themselves so desperately needed. But blinded by their own sin-filled, self-absorbed, self-righteous hearts, they could not see themselves as they truly were … sinners in need of a Savior, who was none other than This Man!
Like no other
Even the best of men are only men at best, but not This Man. This Man is a man like no other man who ever existed. This Man is the perfect man, the supreme man, the “superman,” over and above all other men. This Man is the greatest man in every way as the supreme revelation of God.
This Man is greater than the first man. Adam was promised life if he obeyed the one prohibition God gave to him in the Garden of Eden. But Adam chose to disobey. This Man was promised death if He obeyed every command. And This Man obeyed completely and died on a cross for all those He welcomes and eats with…great sinners like you and me, in desperate need of an even Greater Savior!
This Man is greater than the man Abraham. Abraham responded to God’s call to leave his family and his home to go and establish a new people of God. Abraham went out and established a people of God too numerous to count but only in the physical sense. But This Man left His family and home in heaven to go and establish a new people of God spiritually, that would live on in eternity.
This Man is greater than the man Moses. Moses delivered the people of God out of bondage and into their earthly and temporally Promised Land. But This Man delivers the people of God out of bondage into their heavenly and eternal Promised Land.
Greater than the prophets
To be sure, all of the Old Testament prophets were great men. But This Man was greater in rank, power and authority. The prophets were used by God to speak the Word of God. Yet This Man was, is and forever shall be the very Word of God who was in the beginning.
This Man is greater than even the high priest of Israel who offered sacrifices for the sins of God’s people. These were mere shadows of the substance that was to come. And in the fullness of time, This Man came and offered Himself and as the supreme sacrifice, once for all, for the sins of God’s people. As incredible as this all is, there is even more. When This Man welcomes sinners, He welcomes them with a promise that one day they will be sinners no more, and that includes you.
That’s right This Man who began a good and perfect work in you will one day complete what He started. This Man who has brought you out of the grave will one day soon bring you into glory. This Man loved you just as you were…a vile, depraved, corrupted sinner…but loved you so much not to leave you in that condition. When you breathe your last and are received into glory, you will be the exact image and likeness of This Man. And if you have never received This Man as your Savior and Lord, He is still welcoming sinners today.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. Never forget that . . . Amen!
Tommy Boland is senior pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach. He blogs regularly at tommyboland.com.