The Pharisees 4 - Not Realising We Need Healing
Updated: Sep 18, 2019
Chan Gin Kai
Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32)
The Pharisees reacted cynically when they saw Jesus dining with the tax collectors, remarking, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” (Luke 5:30b) To the Pharisees, a self-respecting and righteous rabbi would stay far away from sinners, not fraternise with them.
Jesus’ reply to them was so simple and logical that it made the Pharisees look silly; a doctor’s job is to heal the sick, not those who are well. So his role as a rabbi (and every rabbi) should be to focus on providing spiritual healing for sinners. Of course the Pharisees were sinners too, and needed spiritual healing like those that they had frowned upon. But they were too proud to recognise that they too were spiritually sick.
Who are those that would refuse to see a doctor? Here are a few (not exhaustive) categories:
Those who are not sick
Those who don’t know that they are sick
Those who know they are sick, but think it’s nothing serious
Those who know they are sick, but think they can heal themselves
Those who know they are sick, but know they won’t like the doctor’s advise
Category 1 obviously doesn’t need a doctor. Categories 2 and 3 need a doctor, but are hindered by a certain ignorance or denial. Categories 4 and 5 are stopped by some kind of stubbornness and resistance towards getting help. Unless you’re in Category 1 and are completely well, the other Categories where you’re sick but refuse to see a doctor, pose some danger to you.
Category 1 doesn't exist when it comes to spiritual sickness; there’s not a single one among us who’s a perfect picture of health. None of us are immune to the virus of temptations. Some of us may have fought harder against temptations and had certain measures of success; but we have all fallen and sinned, and require spiritual healing. Let's not bluff ourselves that we're okay. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)
Categories 2 and 3 apply to those among us who do not realise that we are spiritually sick. We’re relatively happy, our lives seem all together, and we’ve never even thought much about whether we are well or not. Perhaps the symptoms of spiritual sickness have not really surfaced, or we are simply unaware of the signs. Or perhaps we’ve noticed them but think it’s nothing serious. We brush them aside, and tell ourselves we’ll deal with them later. We think our struggles are small and we're in a better state than others around us. We don’t realise that our sins will escalate and endanger us one day. For those among us who are in Categories 2 and 3, let’s remember the warnings of the Bible, “but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:14-15)
Categories 4 and 5 are arguably the most dangerous. If we have the power to help and heal ourselves, we would not even have fallen in the first place. We need to realise our need for God and His power. We also have caring Christians who are willing to help us grow spiritually too. But are we humble enough to seek help? Change is naturally difficult, and not always enjoyable. We may not like hearing what people tell us. The medicine may be bitter and the remedy tough, but the consequences of not getting healed is fatal. Let’s not be stubborn towards God. The Bible warns, “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed. God ‘will repay each person according to what they have done.’” (Romans 2:5-6)
The Pharisees didn't realise that they were spiritually sick and needed healing. We share in the same danger if we start getting complacent. Jesus healed all of us when our sins were washed away at baptism. But we can still fall into sin and fall away.
We need to acknowledge our need for Jesus' constant healing. With the help of caring friends and the power of God, we can all find life.
Read more about 'The Pharisees':
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God".