"How true it is, and how I long that everyone should know it, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—and I was the greatest of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as an example to show everyone how patient he is with even the worst sinners, so that others will realize that they, too, can have everlasting life."
1 Timothy 1:15-16 (TLB)
Jesus didn't come to the world to spend time with the people that are all "put-together", you know, the ones who seem to have their lives sorted out, no problems. He didn't prefer the rich and healthy, the successful and happy, over the poor, sick, struggling and sad people. Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and guess what, that's all of us. We all struggle with sin from the pastor to the politician, from the rich to the robber. Jesus came into the world to show mercy to everyone that would receive it from Him.
Sometimes it's hard to believe that God would have mercy on a murderer isn't it? Well, the part of the Bible we read today from 1 Timothy is written by a former murderer. Paul is his name. Paul had followers of Jesus killed before he encountered Jesus. He calls himself the greatest sinner of them all. Paul came face to face with the incredible mercy of God in the person of Jesus so that Paul could be an example to show the world how patient God is with even the worst of sinners. That is good news isn't it?
It is comforting to know that God's love is patient and not easily angered (1 Cor. 13:5), and it's good news that God isn't looking for perfect people to work with, He is just looking for those that are willing. People that respond to God's mercy, just like Paul did, will find that God transforms their lives into something quite wonderful that make other people want God too!