The Gospel of Mark | Healthy & Sick | Mark 2.13-17 | 

by | Oct 29, 2023

“Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. 15While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2.13-17

It’s easy for me in ministry and life in general to gravitate toward healthy people. By ‘healthy’ I mean people not to burdened down by life’s struggles. Those who have it more “together” and are less of a mess. Why? Probably because it makes me forget my mess a little bit more!

But in truth, Jesus hung out with those who did not have it all together. He came to hang with those who were sin sick. Those who were not following the Laws of Moses, those who were not walking in the way of righteousness. These were the people with whom Jesus would hang.

When Jesus was walking beside the lake, he saw one of these sinners, it was Levi who was a dishonest tax collector. And to the surprise of everyone except Jesus, he said, ‘Follow me.” Now this was truly unacceptable. It was not normally what happened in these situations. The rabbi typically found people with potential and this crooked tax collector had very little redeeming qualities. Or so people thought.

When Jesus was questioned by the righteous people on this move he said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” I bet that put them in their place! These were the religious leaders of the day who were suppose to love and draw sinners to God. But they were content with hanging out with folks just like them and they expected Jesus to do the same.

But Jesus isn’t like us — he doesn’t gravitate to only the pretty, wealthy and powerful people of this world. Jesus spends time with the sick sin souls who have no where to turn. He goes where few of us venture. He loves when theres nothing in it for him.

I don’t know about you but I want to be more like Jesus. Because in truth, we are all sinners saved by grace. We were once broken, beat up folks who had no where to turn. And God invited us in. He captured our hearts and redeemed out souls. He cleaned us up so we might look more like him and reflect his image. And now, he asks us to do that for others — to love the least, the last and the lost.

Even though it’s easy to only spend time with people who seem to have it all together, God calls me to spend time with folks who need a spiritual doctor and to direct them by to him. Will you do this today? Will you love the sin sick souls who can not find their way without Christ?

“O Lord God, you are good. In the midst of the storms you bring relief. When our paths wander, you redeem your people. Come now, Holy Spirit, and help us to find our refuge in you. May your Power rest upon us. We give you permission to intervene. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen