Jesus was tucking into a slap up meal with a bunch of no good low-lifes. Some respectable people in the neighbourhood were outraged. If this upstart really was a man of God, he certainly wouldn’t mix with that lot!
Jesus had an answer for them: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
This is no ‘moral tale’. It’s a common sense truth and a really important, if unusual, public health announcement.
1. A common sense truth
If you’re a doctor, there’s no point in you hanging around people who are well. Where you need to be is in among the sick.
Jesus is a doctor. He has come for the sick: people who are morally and spiritually sick – terminally ill. He came from heaven for sinners. He came to save the lives of sinners. That’s why they found him among sinners.
2. Important public health announcement
‘It’ is dangerous. You can’t see it. You can’t feel it. You can’t X-ray it or CT scan it, or diagnose it with a blood test or urine sample. But we all suffer from it, and it’s a killer.
You need the right diagnosis to realise you’ve got it.
Test 1: Do you love the LORD your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength? No? Well then, you’ve got it.
Test 2: Do you love your neighbour as you love yourself? No? Well, then, you’ve got it.
If you have anything less than a constant, deep and lasting passion for God and his Son Jesus Christ, you suffer from terminal spiritual sickness. You are out of sorts with God. As a dead limb loses its feeling and goes numb, so your spirit is dead and numb to God. You have no or little feeling for him. You need a doctor.
But there’s only one doctor who can treat this sort of terminal illness. It is Jesus – sent from heaven by God to save us. Jesus removes the deadly infection – our sin. He injects new life into our dead souls – the Spirit of God! So – come to the doctor. He promises the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the Holy Spirit.
‘It’s not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’ (Mark 2 v 17)
Christians: remember! We are not ‘respectable’ people, but sick people who have been to the doctor – sinners who have been treated and saved. It’s not for Christians to commentate on the ills of society, but to dispense the much needed medicine of the gospel: the good news about Jesus, and to bring others to the doctor.
Not a Christian? Jesus calls on you to come to him and let him save your life. You may not realise it, but you are terminally ill. You need forgiveness of your sins and to receive new life from God. Without this treatment from Jesus, you will never recover, but suffer terrible death forever.
Vicar at St George’s