“They that find Christ [discover that] though he be so glorious and excellent a person, yet they find him ready to receive such poor, worthless, hateful creatures as they are, which was unexpected to ’em. They are surprised with it.
They did not imagine that Christ was such a kind of person, a person of such grace. They heard he was an holy Saviour and hated sin, and they did not imagine he would be so ready to receive such vile, wicked creatures as they. They thought he surely would never be willing to accept such provoking sinners, such guilty wretches, those that had such abominable hearts.
But behold, he is not a whit the more backward to receive ’em for that. They unexpectedly find him with open arms to embrace them, ready forever to forget all their sins as though they had never been. They find that he as it were runs to meet them, and makes ’em most welcome, and admits ’em not only to be his servants but his friends [Luke 15:11-24]. He lifts ’em out of the dust and sets ’em on his throne; he makes them the children of God; he speaks peace to them; he cheers and refreshes their hearts; he admits ’em unto strict union with himself, and gives the most joyful entertainment, and binds himself to them to be their friend forever.
So are they surprised with their entertainment. They never imagined to find Christ a person of such kind of love and grace as this. ‘Tis beyond all imagination or conception.”
Jonathan Edwards, ‘Seeking After Christ,’ in Works, Yale ed., 22:290
(HT: Dane Ortlund)