Friday, October 16, 2009

The Call Of Jesus

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
Luke 5:31, 32
Who does Jesus call to follow Him? The answer is clear from these verses. Jesus calls sinners to follow Him. To be a sinner is to be someone who is sick and in need of a doctor. Jesus is that doctor.

Each of the three events in chapter 5 leading up to the call of Levi either involves sin or disease or both. In the calling of the fishermen, Jesus calls Peter and the rest of the fishermen to follow Him only after Peter recognizes how sinful he is. In the next event, Jesus heals a man of his leprosy. In each of these first two events, Jesus acts as a doctor who deals with either spiritual sickness (sin) or physical sickness. In the third event, Jesus acts as a doctor who deals with both spiritual and physical sickness. But what’s so important to see in this event is which of the two sicknesses Jesus gives greater priority.

Jesus is teaching in a house that is crowded full of people. Word has spread around town that He has the power to heal so four men decide to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus obviously with the hopes that Jesus would heal him just like he has healed everyone else. So they pick up their friend and carry him over to the house where Jesus is teaching. But once they get there, they realize that there is no way they will be able to carry their friend up to Jesus because there is far too big of a crowd. But they are determined to get their friend to Jesus because they want him to be healed. So what do they do? They climb up on the roof and lower their paralyzed friend through the roof so that he’s right in front of Jesus so that he’s close enough for Jesus to touch him and heal him. And when Jesus saw their faith, he reaches out and touches the man and heals him. That’s what we would expect. That’s what I’m sure the paralyzed man and his friends expected. But that’s not what happened. The verse says: And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you” (Luke 5:20).

If you read the rest of the story, Jesus ends up healing the man in order to prove to His doubters that He has the authority to forgive sins. So we see that Jesus is a doctor who treats both physical and spiritual sickness. He has come to heal sicknesses of every kind. But what’s so important to see is that Jesus gives far greater priority to spiritual sickness than He does to physical sickness or sickness of any other kind.

This is an excerpt from the message I preached at the Stanford University InterVarsity fellowship last night. You can read the entire message here.

Thank You, Jesus, for being the only effective Doctor for the lifelong disease of my fear of man that would otherwise keep me from preaching Your Word.

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