Mark 2:17

And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’
Mark 2:17
When we first became aware of the spread of Covid-19, we wrestled with how and where to treat this disease in a way that limited further spread. We designated clinics and hospital wings as Covid or non-Covid. But the more pressing question was who. Who should be tested? Who should be treated?
Confusing, sometimes contradictory, rules emerged for all of us, along with new vocabularies, as we united our efforts to stay healthy and flatten the curve. But the most conservative approach to this global pandemic could not guarantee protection. Even if we scrubbed our hands until they were chapped, wiped down groceries before unloading, and tied on masks every time we left our houses, some risk remained. We caught each other chewing on fingernails, rubbing our eyes, failing to stifle a sneeze. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t keep the whole Covid-19 law. Still, people have become sick and more than 100,000 have died.
It is the same with God’s Law. Born into sin, we are incapable of keeping God’s law. James 2:10 says, ‘For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.’
Where are we susceptible to this sin sickness? We don’t have to look past the first commandment. ‘I am the Lord your God . . . You shall have no other gods before Me.’ This quarantine has shown us how we make gods of ourselves, our belongings, our agendas and desires. We become addicted to substances and devices, give the first fruits of our time and money to ‘gods of wood and stone, idols of silver and gold, work of human hands that neither see, nor eat, nor hear, nor smell’ (Deut 4:28, Psalm 115:4).
Jesus sums up the remaining Ten Commandments with the royal law, echoed in James 2. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ It’s a simple statement, but impossible to keep. When a lawyer asks Jesus who his neighbor is, Jesus responds with the story of the Good Samaritan. Loving our neighbors means loving our enemies.
James adds that if we show any partiality, we commit sin and the law convicts us (2:9). Our nation is on fire right now, the result of deeply entrenched racial injustice, generations of partiality on a personal, local, and national scale.
In the second chapter of Mark, the Pharisees criticize Jesus for sitting at the same table with tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees prefer Jesus show partiality to them. Instead, Jesus offers Himself as a physician for the sick; He calls not the righteous, but sinners. This is good news for us.
We are all sin sick. We don’t need a Covid test to prove it. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We can rejoice that our sickness finds eternal cure in the Great Physician, and by His wounds, we are healed.
Rebecca Janni | Author

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