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The Great Physician

Mark 2.13-17
He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
It soon became evident that Jesus was deliberately associating Himself with the outcasts of Jewish society. He even called a tax collector, Levi (i.e. Matthew), to become one of His disciples! We do not know that Levi was a dishonest man, though most of the tax collectors were, but the fact that he worked for Herod Antipas and the Romans was enough to disgrace him among loyal Jews. However when Jesus called him Levi did not argue or delay. He got up and followed Jesus even though he knew that Rome would never give him back his job.

Jesus did not consider Matthew’s friends—as beyond God’s saving grace—even though they had been excommunicated by the religious leaders. These people were patients who needed a physician, and Jesus was that Physician. We have already seen that sin may be compared to sickness and forgiveness to having your health restored (2.1-12). Now we see that our Savior may be compared to a physician (2.17): He comes to us in our need, He makes a perfect diagnosis, and He provides a final and complete cure.

But there are three kinds of “patients” whom Jesus cannot heal of their sin sickness: (1) those who do not know about Him, (2) those who know about Him but refuse to trust Him, and (3) those who will not admit that they need Him. The scribes and Pharisees were in that third category, as are all self-righteous sinners today. Unless we admit that we are sinners deserving of God’s judgment, we cannot be saved. Jesus, the Great Physician, saves only sinners (Luke 19.10). If you belong to Jesus, praise Him today that He has forgiven your sins and made you whole.

Pastor Jeff
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