Identify yourself.: a medititation on mark 2:17b   Leave a comment

Identify yourself.
Mark 2:17b
……(Jesus said) It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, I have not come to the righteous, but sinners.
The context of this verse is the “calling of Levi” where Jesus comes up to Matthew’s , tax collecting booth, and says to him, “Follow me” Matthew leaves what he is doing and follows Jesus. Jesus is then seen again having dinner at Matthew’s house, with Matthew’s tax collecting friends. “Sinners” The teachers of the law however did not seem to pleased with this, Jesus was seen to be a Rabbi and a Holy man, and here he was dining with outcasts and sinners. The question among each other,”why is this man eating with tax collectors and sinners” and Jesus responds
It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, I have not come to the righteous, but sinners.
This just struck me this morning as I am reading through Mark’s gospel, and come across this verse. Jesus says in” I have not come” meaning He did come for some but apparently not for others. But He came, laid aside His Glory in Heaven and came to our sin drenched world. He walked our streets that are filled with violence and lust and the God in whose presence no unholy thing can live, came to us. He came to us, reached into our human existence and felt life the way we feel it.
What a glorious condescension, that God would in His divine Son, reach into the world polluted with sin an and the decay and visited it with mercy. It is only right then to look into why Jesus came.
He came to visit because “ the sick”,” needed a doctor to revive the soul, the sinners needed a saviour that saved the soul. Those” dead in their transgressions and sins” Ephesians 2;1. That needed to be saved from their own depraved sinful selves. It is those I identify with, for I am one of their number. I am one the “sick’ the spiritually dead” who need life who need a saviour. It is not for the righteous or those who think they have it made, neither for the unrighteous who do not want to leave their sin.
We see Matthew in context “following Jesus” with probably no idea where he was going except that Jesus had called him and he now followed. Leaving his comfortable life, he followed His new Master. Matthew knew what he was, but even more than that, He came to see the one who called Him. He came to see Jesus as more glorious than the sin he had treasured all the years and forsook his former life and followed Christ to eventually a martyrs death ( so tradition tells us) This very worldly man, walked away from his riches ( tax collectors were not poor) and instead followed Jesus. Being a witness eventually, of His death and resurrection, seeing “the how” of just how Jesus saves sinners. By dying on a cross, taking upon Himself the full wrath of God due to sinners in particular and especially those he effectually calls and cleanses. In our place condemned he stood. John newton on his deathbed was reported to have said “ I am a great sinner and have need of a great Saviour. So with us. Let us not tarry on our heavely journey any longer, but while it is light and God’ grace still abounds, let us call upon “the great Physician” the one who came specifically or the “sick” and the ‘sinful” and make Him our treasure and our delight. Like matthew let us walk away from a world that “is passing away” and look forward to the new heaven and the new earth, created by and given to those who have come the fount of life, Jesus who has shed His blood for the remission of our sins.


Posted January 15, 2010 by Reformed and renewed in Uncategorized

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