30 The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.
There are a couple of observations we can make about this passage. The first is how the Pharisees respond. The Pharisees are the religious leaders of the day and they respond how we might think Jesus would have responded. “Grumbling, complaining annoyed, eating and drinking with sinners.” They had just seen him heal the sick, cure the diseased, and then claim to forgive sins, which are all claims of His deity, and yet now Jesus is sitting with tax collectors. Who does Jesus think He is?
Jesus didn’t claim to be a good person, a good teacher, a prophet, or a religious leader, but God who comes and walks among the lowliest of low and brings a message of forgiveness and purpose. This was completely different than what the religious leaders expected. It was completely different than merely adding religious behavior.
Our second observation, which gives us a great deal of insight into why we might have this feeling of exhaustion that we talked about earlier. In verse 31 Jesus tells us He didn’t come for those who are healthy, but for those who are sick. This statement has deep insight into the gospel that is often neglected and overlooked. There is a little bit of sarcasm in verse 31 because it creates an illusion that there are those who are healthy, and there are those who are sick, but Jesus knows He is the only one who is healthy and all of humanity is sick.
Are you convinced you are sick? Are you convinced of your sin? Or do you just see yourself as basically healthy and just need a little vitamin Jesus to get you through the day? The pharisees were saw themselves as healthy and as a result are drifting toward self-sufficiency. We do that today in very subtle ways when we find ourselves thinking, “I can’t believe they did this, said that, their children did this.” We are drifting away from the gospel and elevating ourselves based on moral or external behavior.
We do this in discouragement as well because we tend to see ourselves as healthy people who should be doing better. We think, “I shouldn’t be wrestling with this, I should be over this by now, nobody cares about me, I am all alone” and slowly we are drifting away from the gospel and toward self-sufficiency.
Augustine, a great theologian in the 300’s, described by the world as a saint, but when he described Himself said, “Lord, save me from the wicked man that I am.” He was crying out for Jesus. John Knox, possibly the greatest preacher in the history of Scotland said, “In my youth, middle age, and now after many battles, I find nothing in me but corruption”. He desperately needed Jesus. The Apostle Paul describes himself as the chief of all sinners and desperately needed Jesus. Jesus isn’t someone we needed when we were sick, when we were kids, when we have bad things happen, but we need Him all the time.
Self-sufficiency is the opposite of the gospel and puts the pressure on us, what we are doing, what we aren’t doing, and the result tends to go in one of two directions. It is either arrogance because we are impressed with ourselves, or discouragement because we should be doing better. However, if we are convinced of our sin, we are convinced we are sick, convinced we need Jesus, and convinced that we are in desperate need of Jesus at all times.