Review and Reflect – Mark 2:17

Jesus comes saying, Pharisees and sinners alike need to repent. The religious need to stop trusting in their religion to make them right. The irreligious need to stop avoiding God and pushing him away. Jesus says to them, follow me. If I am to find myself in this story, I am either a Pharisee or a sinner. Sometimes I am both on the same day. Sometimes I trust in what I’ve done or intend on doing to obtain God’s blessing and favor. Sometimes I trust in my moral standards that I’ve put in place for myself. Other times, I’m a miserable failure who can’t seem to conquer any obstacle I face. There are times I push God away or avoid him because I know it would require me to be humble or selfless. But Jesus says, there is a better way. He says, “follow me.” The religious won’t earn their way to God and the irreligious won’t gain or accomplish anything in this life that will deeply satisfy them. Jesus calls us to himself. This is good news, this is Gospel. He doesn’t lay standards down for us to follow, he lays himself down for us to follow. Am I a Pharisee or a sinner? Whichever I am, I need to follow Jesus. As a Pharisee, we are trying to hide our flaws, our brokenness, and our sins. Jesus will uncover this and even with all of our deceitfulness and scars he loves us and offers us himself. We religious people are “those types of people” that we look down our noses at when Jesus goes to their house. We may be worse, because we don’t admit it that we are sick. Then others of us as sinners flaunt our sinfulness and embrace what comes naturally even though it is destructive to us. Jesus says “follow me” out of your sin and he offers us his love and himself. He is the physician for the terminally ill. He is savior for eternally lost. He calls us to recognize how creative we are at justifying ourselves and avoiding God. He calls us to repent of this and follow him. In verse 17, Jesus says he is calling the sinners. He isn’t calling them to a standard of living. He isn’t calling them to a religion. He isn’t even calling them to morality or righteousness. He is calling them to himself. He is calling us, in all of our pride and in all of our failures, to embrace him, to follow him, to trust in him.

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