Which One are You?
English Standard Version (ESV)
10 And as Jesus[a] reclined at table in the house, behold, many (A)tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, (B)“Why does your teacher eat with (C)tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn(D)what this means, (E)‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For (F)I came not to call the righteous, (G)but sinners.”
I can remember a time when I would read this passage and say to myself with chest out; “I’m one of the righteous!” Because if you listen to those listed among the sinners Jesus was eating with, no one would count themselves amongst them. No one wants to be called a sinner and no one likes to admit to being a sinner. In our minds sinners are the worst of society, they are the ones awaiting trial for murder and other horrendous crimes against humanity. In our minds, we are all good and we all have the sense to choose to follow Jesus. In our minds, we all have our houses in order and have purchased our tickets to heaven already. In our minds, we all try to live right and don’t break that many of the Ten Commandments. We are all in pretty good standings because God doesn’t have to do too much to clean us up. Are you getting the picture? Not yet? How often have we sat in our seats as the Pastor made a call for prayer and we started to get up until we saw who was already up there? We sat back down because we didn’t want to be associated with the struggling drug addicts or the alcoholics and prostitutes. It’s not ringing a bell yet? Its okay, the simple fact that we deny our faults makes us a liar; thus a sinner in need of a physician.
We have the unsavory habit of lying to ourselves about who we really are. What’s even worse is that we become extra critical of those who openly admit and bare their faults. As soon as someone humbles themselves and outwardly admit that they are not perfect and seek help, we lift up their sins in an effort to show how good we are. Since the “sinner” does not meet our standards, we shame them. The self-righteous Pharisees were guilty of this throughout the Gospels. They attacked Jesus because he pointed out their hypocrisy as he tried to show them that it is the heart the God is looking at. The perfect Pharisees where only perfect because they made up the rules and changed them when they needed to or just redirect attention to a sinner. Their hearts were so cold and harden that they missed what God was saying through Moses and all the prophets. We can all get to a point where we can miss what Jesus is really saying because our eyes our focused on us and not him. Meaning, if we simply read the word of God looking to validate our righteousness or glorify us we miss the blessing of glorifying Christ.
Our unholy worship of us produces self-centeredness and we miss the whole point of the cross. Just like I initially missed what Jesus was saying in this passage? I didn’t see the cross and the mission of the Gospel. My pride quickly judged myself as being righteous, saying that I deserved heaven or earned my place. It was all based on me and how I saw things. I was blind to my sin both the sins on the surface and below near my heart. I was blind to my sins of omission and commission and it was all on propose as my heart of transgression could not see (James 4:17 & Romans 8:5-9). Understand this, Jesus lived, died and rose again for sinners. Those that think that they don’t have sins are liars (1 John 1:8-10 ). Those that claim righteousness on their own are lost and their hearts cannot see. So which are you? Does the cross mean salvation to you? Or does the cross offend you because it calls you a sinner 100 percent, who cannot hope to earn or live good enough to be saved? Pick? Or are you the sinner eating with Jesus, the sick person waiting to see the doctor? Or are you the sick person who doesn’t think that you are sick and you are letting yourself die willingly?