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Mark 2:17

Posted 09/15/21, by Dan Vis

Jesus frequently mingled the concepts of physical and spiritual healing together. Typically, the physical was a metaphor for the spiritual.

In one case, Jesus was attending a feast hosted by Matthew, his future disciple, with many publicans and questionable types in attendance. The Pharisees used the occasion to insinuate Jesus was of questionable morality to associate with such as these. But His answer was classic:

Mark 2:17
When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Here, he parallels the work of a doctor who heals the sick, with His own more spiritual work of calling men to repentance. Just as a doctor must go where sick people are, so Jesus needed to connect with sinners.

These words suggest a number of profound points--beyond the obvious, that perhaps we saints need to find more ways to mingle with unbelievers, and avoid limiting our friendships to just fellow churchgoers.

In particular, there's the point only those who sense their need will seek someone to help them. This was an implied rebuke to the Pharisees, who tended to come across as self-righteous. Perhaps these words poked that shell, and got some to face their own hidden inner struggles.

But we also see the objective Jesus was always pursuing in His ministry: to call sinners to repentance. Forgiveness, costly as it was, was easy. But bringing someone to repentance--that required, and still does today, a delicate surgical precision.

Both of these thoughts are key to how fully we experience the ministry of Jesus to our heart. Are we willing to see our true condition? To confront our true need? And how willing are we to repent? To intentionally choose to let go of those sins we cling to? Honestly, how much of either of these is a part of our daily experience?

This was the real work of Jesus. Bringing spiritual healing to all those who were open to seeing their true need, and open to the solution He proposed.

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Posted by Dan Vis on 09/20/21
That's a great question Luis, and I'm not 100% sure I know the answer, but it seems to me the question boils down to motivation. Connecting with people in order to build a relationship and ultimately share the Gospel is one thing. Connecting with people in order to indulge in whatever worldly pleasures they may enjoy is another.

I'd also point out, that there are people in the world who are good moral people. I think I Corinthians 15:33Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. and Psalms 1:4The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. for that matter deal with those who would subject us to blatantly evil influences. Even in terms of witnessing, we should exercise some discretion about how, when, and who we associate with. Just my quick thoughts.
Posted by Luis Fernando Quirarte on 09/20/21
Great post!
The concept of reaching those not of the faith has always perplexed me a little.
Here we see Jesus reaching out to the lost. I assume to create friendships (or at least be friendly) in order to win their confidence and trust so that He is able to minister to their spiritual needs.
However in Psalm 1 it seems to advocate against such association, as well as I Corinthians 15:33Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners..
How are we able to reconcile this?
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/16/21
Yes, this is indeed a facet of that grand mystery Qing. Some really profound issues there. That's exactly why we need such a skilled Master "heart" Surgeon...

I like that way you put it Everton! So succinct, so true: "If we keep company with Christ we are in need of surgery". Might as well just expect it! :)
Posted by Everton Guthrie on 09/16/21
I l like this. If we keep company with Christ we are in need of surgery. Easy as that. He left heaven to seek us. We definitely aren't guardian angels. Whatever our tag, we have maladies that must be cut away.
Posted by Qing Ling on 09/16/21
Valerie perfect verse cross reference!!

Forgiveness, costly as it was, was easy. But bringing someone to repentance...

Dan Excellent insight into the grand conundrum of how true love must involve freedom of choice - the potential for rejection. 🤔
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/15/21
That really is the question Valerie: Am I willing to see myself. And I think you are right that the only way to truly be "willing" is to confront the pain of seeing our self as we are--which involves being broken. Good post!

I like that Kathryn, that if we don't stay humble and teachable, "we are goners"! Got a chuckle out of how you put it, but it's pretty much true. :)
Posted by Kathryn D. Search on 09/15/21
One of the things I think of often is the need to always be humble and teachable. If we are, Jesus can make the changes in us that are needed. If were are not, we might as well throw in the towel, we are goners. Of course, being humble and teachable means following up on everything we learn about ourselves and letting it sink in and change us.
Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 09/15/21
Are we willing to see our true condition? Am I willing to see my true condition? I believe the answer is what Christ means in Matthew 21:44And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. and Luke 20:18Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.. I have to fall (surrender) on the stone (Christ) so that I can be recreated into His image.
The questions presented in the last paragraph are consistent with a message I heard last night. This is a time for soul affliction and examination, a time to be sober and to watch unto prayer.


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