Jesus Came for the Sick and the Needy

5 Mins read

Focusing on the ministry of Jesus is a wonderful place to be for both the new Christian and the seasoned believer. They will find ample amounts of guidance along their way. In the Gospels, Jesus is revealed in a unique way that is unparalleled in other portions of Scripture. To know Jesus is, in a very real sense, to know Him as He has been shown to us in the narrative accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

One of the startling facts about Christ is His great love for the sinner. Throughout the Bible, one can read of the love of God toward man. Amazing displays are given in both the Old and the New Testaments. However, in the Gospels, Christ can be seen in human form, conducting Himself as a man in the midst of normal, everyday life. This display is a great benefit for the Christian to take hold of and will give the one who desires to be taught by Christ many valuable lessons.

A portion of a short story is given to us in Mark 2:15-17 that must be read and studied carefully to gain a full appreciation of what is taking place.

Jesus spends time with sinners

At the outset in this portion of Scripture, it can be seen that Jesus spends time with sinners. The picture that is portrayed of Christ depicts One Who is comfortable in the midst of sinners. This does not mean that Christ condones sin. What it does mean is that Christ looks beyond the sin to the sinner himself. This also does not mean that Christ will not punish sin, because if someone does not repent, the justice of God must be upheld. What it does mean, however, can be captured in the words of John. Scripture says, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (KJV, John 3:17). Jesus did not come to condemn; He came to save.

One can see in Christ a Savior Who enjoyed spending time with sinners. Scripture says, “And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners…” (Mark 2:15-16). In this portion of Scripture, we can see that Jesus reclined with sinners and ate with sinners. The picture that is given is one of Christ spending time with sinners in an intimate setting.

Jesus teaches others to do the same

An interesting fact is that while Jesus spent time with sinners, He also spent time teaching His disciples to do the same. In the verse previously mentioned, did you take note of the fact that the disciples were with Jesus? Jesus did not guard His disciples from this encounter with the outcast of society. Jesus embraced the moment as a teaching opportunity for those that were currently following Him (His disciples), those that would follow Him (sinners), and those that would not follow Him (the scribes and Pharisees). In the same way, the disciple of Christ in the 21st century is also called to seek out the sinner and spend time with the lost.

It is important on a teaching such as this that wisdom is also touched upon. Many people are led astray by trying to be the Savior, when there is only One Savior. What is meant is this: People can think of themselves more highly than they ought to, and when this happens, they fall. Take the recovering addict for instance; there can be times when a recovering addict thinks that in his newfound sobriety, he can go back to the people with whom he used to associate and sit with them like Jesus did in an attempt to “save” them.

However, what happens more often than not in this scenario is that the newfound believer is led astray rather than the addict being won to Christ. Scripture also says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Gal. 6:1). While the example of the former addict is an extreme example, the same principle must be applied to the life of every believer. The principle is that there are situations and circumstances that are wise for individuals to avoid. Some situations and circumstances are ones that every Christian should avoid. However, there will be other situations and circumstances that are more individualistic. It is important not to turn the narrative account of Jesus’ sitting with sinners into a teaching that promotes foolishness.

Bearing this in mind, the Christian is to seek out the lost in a manner that would honor the Lord and guard the deposit that has been entrusted to him.

Jesus is not ashamed of His mission

Paul made it very clear that he was not ashamed of the Gospel. But where did Paul get this thought? Did it originate with Paul? Absolutely not! The thought originated with the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture says that the scribes and Pharisees spoke thus: “… How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?” (Mark 2:16). Jesus was not embarrassed by the fact that He was sitting down and eating with sinners. He did not try to hide his associations in front of some, while being outspoken in front of others. Jesus was firm in His convictions, and His convictions guarded His heart from the fear of man and the shame that goes along with that fear.

Jesus the Great Physician

As the scribes and Pharisees questioned the disciples as to why Jesus had been eating with sinners, Jesus overheard the questioning. The response of Christ was, “… 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” (Mark 2:17). How could they have missed this point? Where were they looking for clues about the Savior’s coming? The scribes were experts in the law, and the Pharisees were known for their strict law-keeping. How could such “devout” Jews have missed the mark in such an earth-shattering way?

When King Herod desired to know where the Messiah would be born, whom did he call to help him gain an answer to his question? He called the scribes. Were they able to help Herod with a correct answer? Yes, they were. However, one of the major problems was that they did not want to go and see the Savior Who had been born King of the Jews; they seemed to only want to give a correct answer. This initial introduction of the scribes in Matthew chapter 2 sets the tone for various encounters with the scribes throughout the Gospels. This same type of heart toward Christ can also be seen in the Pharisees.

When the scribes and Pharisees voiced their disapproval of Jesus’ actions, Jesus responded with a fact about the Messiah which was nothing new. It should not have caught them off-guard. In the book of Isaiah, we can read about the way that by the stripes of Christ’s healing would come to the people (Is. 53:5). We can also see in the Old Testament a God Who continued to pursue the Israelites in the midst of their sin and Who sought to lead them repentance.

The judgmental attitude of the scribes and the Pharisees was actually rooted in self-righteousness. They knew nothing of grace, and therefore they did not know how to give it. Jesus went on to tell them that those who are well do not need Him. This is obviously not the case. However, what is implied is that they did not see their need for Christ and thus dismissed Christ in the process. But in contrast, those who recognize their spiritual sickness and turn to the Physician will be healed of their sickness.

Final prayer

Father, I thank You for sending Christ to heal me from my spiritual sickness. Thank You for providing the solution to my sin problem. Teach me to never trust in myself but to always trust in Christ and look to Him. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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