“I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you.” – John 15:15
Because Jesus showed humility and love by taking time to get to know individual who were known sinners, He gained a sort of reputation amongst the so-called “religious” people of the day, who couldn’t believe that any holy man would even think of getting so close to people who were not living outwardly righteous lives. “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” (Matthew 11:19) Jesus knew that He had to develop a personal interest in someone before expecting them to repent and change their lifestyle.
Jesus did not condemn sinners, but also did not condone them remaining in their sin. When He asked an adulterous woman where her accusers had gone and she said they no longer condemned her after what He had told them, Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11b) Jesus forgives sin and is a friend of sinners, but also wills that they turn from their wickedness and follow His law, which is instituted for their own good.