MARK 2:16-17: “When the experts in Moses’ Teachings who were Pharisees saw him eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, he said to them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor; those who are sick do. I’ve come to call sinners, not people who think they have God’s approval.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: What is the true condition of my heart? Have I grown comfortable in my life, trusting in outward appearances, like the scribes and the Pharisees? It is really quite easy to do. In fact, the longer we are Christians the more susceptible we are to this pitfall in life. As we surround ourselves with other believers, with church attendance and service, and other activities, we isolate ourselves from the outside world, and we are tempted to place our trust in what we “do”, instead of what we need to “become”.
The scribes and Pharisees could not understand why Jesus would associate and eat with sinners. This was beneath them. They were no longer part of this caste. They were God’s chosen people, the recipients of the Law, the keepers of the Temple. Surely, if Jesus were truly the Messiah, He would not join Himself with those who were of such character.
I find this attitude many times creeping into my thoughts as I listen to the news or hear the countless stories of broken lives. It is easy to say “…Lord, I thank you that I am not like other men, sinners, broken, lost…” And yet – I was, and I am. Some may immediately object and say – “We are no longer sinners! We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!” While this is true, it does not mean that we no longer deal with sin. If we deal with sin, then we are sinners. We are not lost sinners destined for hell. Rather, we are sinners saved by grace, that need to be continually transformed by grace. If we rest in a fall assurance of our outward appearance and surroundings, we will never look into the depths of our heart and realize – We need a doctor!
David was keenly aware of this pitfall in his life. David never intended to fall into sin. He was a man after God’s own heart. David was a man who loved to worship, was fervent in prayer, and loved the Scriptures. Yet, David succumbed to a weakness in his heart and sinned. Perhaps David had forgotten his earlier days and had begun to trust in his ability as a warrior and a king. However, David, humbled himself, repented of his sin, and from that day forward maintained a different posture toward the Lord and toward his own ability.
- “Examine me, O God, and know my mind. Test me, and know my thoughts. See whether I am on an evil path. Then lead me on the everlasting path.” (Psalms 139:23-24 GW)
- “Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a faithful spirit within me. Do not force me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and provide me with a spirit of willing obedience.” (Psalms 51:10-12 GW)
And the Apostle Paul warned…
- “These things happened to make them an example for others. These things were written down as a warning for us who are living in the closing days of history. So, people who think they are standing firmly should be careful that they don’t fall. There isn’t any temptation that you have experienced which is unusual for humans. God, who faithfully keeps his promises, will not allow you to be tempted beyond your power to resist. But when you are tempted, he will also give you the ability to endure the temptation as your way of escape.” (1 Corinthians 10:11-13 GW)
Lord, it is easy to point a finger at others, but so difficult to look within my own heart. Help me not to trust in an outward appearance of piety, while neglecting the true inward condition of my heart. Grant me the grace to be open and honest before You. Examine me this morning. Know my mind and my thoughts. Reveal anything within me that needs to be placed before You in sincere repentance. Keep me walking in Your light, in Your love, and lead me in the pathway of righteousness today.
In Jesus Name!