Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Luke 5:31-32 31 And Jesus answered and said to them, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32 "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."

The Pharisees constantly grumbled because Jesus ate with the outcasts and unclean of society—the prostitutes, the tax collectors, and others. On one occasion, Jesus remarked that it is not those who are well who need a physician but those who are sick. It's a very simple statement but in the physical realm no one would deny it. Everyone understands that it is only the sick who need the doctor and not those who are healthy!

Jesus transitions this to the spiritual realm and, as he often does, shocks his hearers with statements that are hard to swallow. Just as a healthy person does not need a physician but only a sick person does, so does a righteous person (=spiritually healthy) person not need repentance but those who recognize their spiritual "illness"—sin. Amazingly, he converses with the Pharisees here and they are the epitome of self-righteousness and self-sufficiency.

So for Jesus to boldly speak to them that he did not call the righteous to salvation he meant that he does not save those who think they are spiritually fine, spiritually healthy, spiritually righteous in and of their own good works. Rather, Jesus claims that he has come for the sinners who recognize their sin for what it is—sin. They see their wickedness as heinous in the eyes of a perfectly holy God. They see that their righteous deeds are as filthy rags before an all-perfect God.

The verse is terse, clear, and unmistakable. Those who think they are self-righteous and spiritually healthy are actually blind to the most aggressive spiritual illness ever, namely, sin. But it is those who see their sin, call it for what it is, and come to Christ as sinners in repentance seeking forgiveness that he will graciously and completely forgive.

Have you recognized your sin? Or are you one who thinks he is "healthy"?

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