Mark 2:14-17 – “As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, ” Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him. 15 And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. 16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, ” Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” NASB
The Pharisees were self-righteous. They provided Jesus object lesson after object lesson to present His message of Grace. In today’s world, I find it incredibly disturbing the level of bitterness and hatred that exists among people. I find it even more disturbing when I find it among those identifying as followers of Christ and Christianity.
The Pharisees thought they had a corner on truth and were the only ones pure in their doctrine and Jesus repeatedly revealed that it was not the outside of the cup that God focused on but the heart. The Pharisees had their spiritual ‘T’s’ crossed and their ‘I’s’ dotted and yet missed the mark in the eyes of the Savior and the revealed will and heart of God in the Bible. They sought to earn their acceptance and in doing so demonstrated the reality they were ‘sick’ spiritually and ‘bankrupt’ relationally.
We have a condition where those who are outside the faith are filled with enmity toward each other. We have a condition in the church where those of various sects, groups, camps, and/or persuasions are at enmity with those not, like them. That identifies the condition of my title – “We, as a society, are sick and need healing.”
When Jesus called Levi, the tax collector, a man whose occupation caused him to be despised by the Pharisees, the Lord was the immediate target of the religious crowd. Our Lord went into this vile man’s home, sharing a meal and when the Pharisees knew it, they cheerfully branded Him a heretic because he was associating with SINNERS!
Imagine that! The Great Physician seeking out those in need of spiritual healing. These Pharisees were not bold enough to confront Jesus to his face, so they buttonholed his disciples asking their condemning questions, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard them and responded directly to their accusations and condensation saying, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” If it were not for the incredible seriousness of that, it would be hilarious the way Jesus put the Pharisees in their place.
His answer should have caused an immediate recognition by the judgmental, self-righteous looking down their noses as those they considered SINNERS! But it didn’t! Jesus identified His purpose of “seeking and saving that which was and is lost.” His declaration, that it is not the healthy that need a physician but the sick was an indictment against, the attitude of the Pharisees. It exposed the truth that although they were rigid in their keeping the Law of God but also the Laws of their own making, they were suffering from a serious heart problem.
Their hearts were not gracious or loving. They were not forgiving or interested in the spiritual condition of those they considered SINNERS! They were judgmental and harsh in their treatment and view of anyone not a member of the Association. Jesus identified that attitude was foreign to His heart and the purposes of God. He identified that there is a Spiritual Physician who has come to Heal the Spiritually sick if the sick will receive Him.
If we allow ourselves to become like the Pharisees, we reveal a spiritual sickness in our own hearts and our great need of the Heavenly Physician to heal us. If we, who are followers of Christ, fail to manifest spiritual health how will those in the world believe and receive it! In many ways, we are sick and need healing. I encourage you to bring your entire heart and mind to the Cross and allow our Lord through the Holy Spirit to apply His healing balm and heal us. In that state of wholeness, we can manifest not just represent Christ to the world.
God, bless you as you embark on this beautiful day in Christ!