There’s a line in the popular Christmas song “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” that I love: “Peace on Earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.” The word “reconciled” means “to restore friendly relations; to work out differences; to be at peace with one another.” To truly be reconciled with someone means that whatever the disagreement was about doesn’t even matter anymore, because it has been settled. When Jesus became our substitute on the cross, He made a way for us to be right with God. Because of this, we have peace in our relationship with the Creator of Heaven and Earth. This reconciliation was possible because Jesus’s sacrifice ended the estrangement that had been caused by sin. Jesus became our Savior and our Friend; He reconciled us to God and therefore Himself.
Even when Jesus walked this earth, He was known as a Friend of sinners. It seemed He preferred to spend His time with the tax collectors and “sinners” rather than anyone else.
I know we in America are not huge fans of the IRS, but in Jesus’s day this dislike was next level. People despised tax collectors, because they were constantly cheating people, charging them extra, and pocketing the difference for themselves. So, the fact that Jesus hung out with these guys, and even called one to be his disciple (Matthew), was almost unthinkable.
He also allowed His feet to be anointed by a “sinful” woman (implying she had had many lovers or was a prostitute), ate in tax collectors’ homes, and welcomed with open arms those whom society deemed “less than.” This shows us who Jesus valued and who He came to have relationships with. This shows us that He came to be friends with sinners like us.