Those Whom Jesus Can Help

John Koedyker

Read: Mark 2:15-17

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. (v. 17)

Jesus cannot help everyone. It’s not that he doesn’t want to. His heart’s desire is “patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). However, human beings are not puppets. God won’t force himself on us.

Today we meet some people whom Jesus could not help. Mark identifies them as “the scribes of the Pharisees” (v. 16). They were passionate about keeping the law, thinking that would make them righteous before God. It’s an old and common thought. Even today, it is often believed that if a person does good things, he or she will go to heaven.

But the fact of the matter is, the Lord cannot help people who, in their own eyes, are righteous. Instead, he calls people who realize their sinfulness and their need to repent and be forgiven. “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick,” says Jesus. He came, not to call those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and thus need a Savior.

William Barclay once said, “To have no sense of need is to have erected a barrier between us and Jesus; to have a sense of need is to possess the passport to his presence.” Do you sense your need for him? —John Koedyker

Prayer: Lord, take away our sense of pride and self-righteousness and help us see our need for you. Amen.