Had you been chosen as an Old Testament prophet, you would have had the unpopular job of giving people bad news. Judgment, punishment, destruction—these were the sort of words you might have become known for using. Sure, you would have also used their redemptive counterparts, like restoration and salvation, but often only after all the judgment, punishment, and destruction talk. When Jesus came along, He spoke words of warning like the prophets before Him, but He also offered forgiveness in a way that they, not being God in the flesh, could not. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17).
While some people were drawn to Jesus, many were offended by His words and actions. Scribes accused Him of blasphemy for telling a paralytic man his sins were forgiven (Mark 2:5–7). Pharisees were appalled that He let a notoriously sinful woman touch Him (Luke 7:39). Why did Jesus say these things and spend time with these people?
Jesus knew the Father’s heart, a heart that aches for sinners limping through this world under the weight of rebellion and brokenness. It had been His plan from the beginning to provide a way for sins to be forgiven. That way is Jesus. No matter how dark or scandalous our personal sins may be, God extends mercy to us—and to the entire world—because of the price Jesus paid on the cross. He laid down His life to secure pardon for every repentant sinner.