Context is EVERYTHING.
In the gospel of John when the man born blind is healed by Jesus and this causes debate over the healing, the man is brought a second time to The Jews and he says to them, "We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him." The healed man was defending Jesus. The teachers were insulted saying, "You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?"
The clause (not a "phrase" for all the Grammar Nazis out there who may read my blog and fail to ever send me an email or comment with corrections ;) "God does not listen to sinners" caught my eye yesterday. It is interesting. It seems like it was common knowledge among the Jews since the man said "we know" and Jesus is a friend of sinners and at the same time He is Holy. Jesus tipped the whole Jewish world upside down. The Jews were losing control. Jesus was healing on the Sabbath, hanging out with sinners, teaching without having gone to school, speaking with authority like no other. A radical, Jesus' family believed he had gone mad.
So what happened? Jesus not only listened to sinners but dined with them, entered their homes, allowed a sinful woman to wash his feet with her tears, touched the lepers, called a tax collector, traveled with a traitor, spoke to a Samaritan woman, treated women as people, etc. This was just the beginning, His earthly ministry was nothing short of AMAZING; the Beloved disciple John wrote in his gospel, "Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world could not contain the books that would be written." (John 21:25)
Planned from Eternity past between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that the Father would send the Son to die for sinners, God made a way for sinners to have a hearing. By Jesus' Blood and Righteousness we now have access to the Father. No longer in need of a priest to approach the Holy One, but now by the Life, Death and Resurrection of Christ Jesus: He bids us to come. The writer of Hebrews says that we may boldly draw near to the throne of grace that we may find mercy and find grace in our time of need. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans: that God showing his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. On our own, dead in our sins and trespasses, God can not hear us, BUT now through Jesus Christ, who came in order to save sinners, we being covered in His Righteousness can now confidently know that sinners saved by grace alone can enter into the Presence of God, wrecked and messed up as we are at times, knowing that it is not in our own goodness, piety, and works that give us the ear of our Heavenly Father but by The Son who even now is interceding for us.
So, let us worship HIM in Spirit and in Truth. When we open the Word of God may we be granted wisdom to read it within the context of the whole Redemption Story. Let us call upon the Name of the LORD knowing that we will indeed be heard.