Jesus is Not a Friend of Sinners

Jesus Christ as a friend of sinners is widely misquoted and often used to justify his closeness to sinners. Let’s look into what the Bible actually says.

Matt 11:15-19 “He who has ears to hear, let him hear! But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, and saying: ‘We played the flute for you, And you did not dance; We mourned to you, And you did not lament.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”

Jesus never referred Himself as friend of sinners but the people who also called John as having a demon. Hence, next time when you use this phrase or sing “Jesus, friend of sinners” from Casting Crowns, you are acknowledging that Jesus is also a glutton and a winebibber, and John the baptist has a demon. How unbiblical, deceiving and a misquoted phrase? The worst thing is, it is even sung in many churches with no discernment on what they are even singing!

Not a Friend of Sinners

Matt 9:9-13 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.

We see here Matthew, a tax-collector followed Jesus Christ who came to his home. But many other tax-collectors and sinners also came and sat with Him. Note that Christ did not invite any of those other sinners or tax-collectors but they came and sat with Him. So, what is Jesus doing? Having fellowship? building friendship? Absolutely not! He is preaching sinners for them to repent. It is more merciful to preach sinners to repentance than to walk away and leave them to die in their sins. Jesus is not hanging out with sinners or having any fellowship with them.

Who are the Friends of Jesus?

John 15:14 “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

Jesus’s friends are those who do whatever He commands them to do. These followers of Christ who obey Him are not called as sinners. He is a friend of anyone who repents and obeys Him.


It is not only unbiblical to use the phrase that Jesus is a friend of sinners, it is also sending a deceiving message to sinners and ungodly. Jesus is only friends of those who obey whatever He commanded. If you are deceived by these sugar coated messages, beware. He will declare He never knew you if you are a sinner. Repent now! Forsake your sinful ways and obey Him! Then, He will be your friend.

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