The Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors [and] asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Recently, we looked at Psalm 139 and the need to seek God’s help in dealing with sin. The first step, of course, is acknowledging and remembering that sin continues to reside in us.
There are two extremes of attitude, both of which are incredibly harmful. One is believing we’re so good, God is duty-bound to receive us. The other is believing we’re so bad, God could never receive us.
In Mark 2, the Pharisees are guilty of the first attitude. Jesus isn’t saying they’re ‘righteous’, and therefore have no need of him. Quite the contrary. He’s saying that those who believe they’re healthy (i.e. without sin) see no need for a doctor. It’s only those who know they’re sick who look for healing.
Sinners of all kinds flocked to Jesus. Partly because he was able to do amazing things, but also because they knew he would never turn them away. This is a lesson we all need to remember. Spurgeon put it like this, in the form of a prayer:
It is sweet to come to you in this way. If we had to come telling you of the good in us, we would question whether we were flattering ourselves. But, Lord Jesus, we come just as we are. This is how we first came to you, and this is how we still come, with all our failures, with all our transgressions, with all and everything that is what it ought not to be, we come to you.
As I reflect on these words, I’m reminded of the wonderful song, Jesus Take Me As I Am. For we can come no other way to Jesus but humbled and broken, ready for him alone to bind us up and make us whole. As you listen to the song, may it be your prayer of dedication this day.