Jesus said to the Pharisees, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17, NIV). When Jesus says he is not coming for the “righteous,” he does not mean that some people don’t need him. The clue to what Jesus does mean is his reference to himself as a physician. You go to a doctor only when you have a health problem that you can’t deal with yourself, when you feel you can’t get better through self-management. What do you want from a doctor? Not just advice – but intervention. You don’t want a doctor simply say, “Yes, you are sick!” You want some medicine or treatment.
Jesus calls people “righteous” who are in the same position spiritually as those who won’t go to a doctor. “Righteous” people believe they can “heal themselves,” make themselves right with God by being good or moral. They don’t feel the need for a soul physician, someone who intervenes and does what they can’t do themselves. Jesus is teaching that he has come to call sinners: those who know they are morally and spiritually unable to save themselves.
Because the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus Christ, said, “It is finished,” we can rest from religion – forever.
The renowned British minister Dick Lucas once preached a sermon in which he recounted an imaginary conversation between an early Christian and her neighbour in Rome.
“Ah,” the neighbour says. “I hear you are religious! Great! Religious is a good things. Where is your temple or holy place?”
“We don’t have a temple,” replies the Christian. ‘Jesus is our temple.”
“No temple? But where do your priests work and do their rituals?”
“We don’t have priests to mediate the presence of God,” replied the Christian. “Jesus is our priest.”
“No priests? But where do you offer your sacrifices to acquire the favour of God?”
“We don’t need sacrifice,” replied the Christian. “Jesus is our sacrifice.”
“What kind of religion is this?” sputters the pagan neighbour.
And the answer is, it’s no kind of religion at all.
[Reference: Jesus the King: Understanding the Life and Death of the Son of God by Timothy Keller (Riverhead Books, 2011) Page 50-51]
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.