“Jesus is going to be so, so, so, so mad at you!”

I sat stunned. I’m not sure what the kid behind me was doing, but it didn’t matter. Jesus was not mad at him as is momma told him so. He may have straightened up, I honestly don’t know. All I could think about were the possible effects of how this boy would relate to God.  Yes, he may grow up to be obedient out of fear, but certainly not from adoration. No, in his book Jesus will not be a friend to sinners or a Savior to worship.

Sadly, I think many have this same distorted view of God. We consider him being more like a policeman looking to bust us than the loving, welcoming Father that he is. Perhaps it’s the reason we hide from others what is really going on and pretend even to ourselves that we have it all together. And why we feel like we have to clean ourselves up before we can go back to God – or to church. But the longer we stay away the harder it is for us to feel like he could ever love someone like us.

If only we “got” who he really is.

God’s word calls his people to “Come Boldly to His Throne of Grace” with no qualifying statement. Never in Scripture does Jesus turn his back on sinners. Instead he seeks them out and over and over again we see the most unlikely of sinners transformed by grace.  Sinners who now desire to abandon their former ways to follow him. Interestingly, Jesus’ stiff arm and rebuke is reserved for the Pharisees – the rule followers who are so certain God must be well-pleased with them that they have no idea how desperately they need a Savior.

What I wish I could go back to tell the boy is: “Jesus is for you. He is on your team buddy. Even when, and especially when, you are behaving badly.” He came for those like you.

And the same goes for the rest of us. Jesus is not mad at you.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17

Jesus came to rescue sinners. So if you are like the Pharisees and don’t know you are a sinner, you don’t see you need rescuing. But for the rest of us – there is no better news than to realize a holy, perfect God left his heavenly home to embark in this sinful, broken world to come hunt us down, no matter what our story. Nothing we’ve ever done disqualifies us, or even shocks him.

Does this mean our sin doesn’t matter?

As Paul said in the book of Romans, “By no means!” The penalty for sin is death, but for those who are in Jesus, it has already been paid for by his sacrificial death. All of it – our past, present and future sin. So now when God looks upon us, it’s with a smile because of the perfect record of Jesus given to us.

When we “get” this kind of mercy and grace, we grow to hate our sin more and more. And instead of trying to hide our sin or justify sin or clean ourselves up, we know we can run to him, like the prodigal son, without fear. Not only does he look upon us in compassion in our sin, but he welcomes us with open arms with grace upon grace upon more grace.

What if instead of the little boy hearing his momma say, “Jesus is so, so, so, so mad at you,” he heard the story of the One who behaved perfectly for him?

What if he knew the perfect One said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:14)” so in his sin he could go boldy for forgiveness?

How comforting would if be for the little boy to grow up knowing even when he messes up he doesn’t have to fear disappointment, condemnation or rejection from God?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Do you know this Jesus?

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends”. John 15:13

Jesus is not mad at you!