When Richard Nixon resigned and held up in isolation no one visited him for fear of sullying their reputation, no one except Chuck Colson who risked the trip many times. When asked about it later he said, “To let Mr. Nixon know that someone loved him.”
The way I read it Jesus was the sinner’s friend even before the sinner converted to sainthood. That is, while his goal was to gain full access to sinners’ hearts, he befriended them before they turned over the keys. Though, to fully enjoy the benefits of his friendship (i.e. to be saved) people must repent, he didn’t wait for them to convert in order to be their friend. I think the same goes for us on our quest with him. People shouldn’t have to come to faith before they can be our friends.
– Originally published in Reaching Rahab: Joining God In His Quest For Friends