In Luke 5, Jesus makes the memorable statement “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” The Doctor is in, so the question that remains for us is whether we see ourselves as the righteous who have no need of him or as sinners who need repentance.
At the start of the chapter, Jesus did some teaching in Simon’s boat. He was writing out a prescription. The question was, would his listeners take action, fill the prescription or decide they had no need of it? Jesus gave Simon an object lesson, telling him to put out from shore and put his nets in the water. “I have already tried that” was Peter’s first thought, but then he relented and did as Jesus asked. The resulting catch of fish was miraculous, breaking the nets and beginning to sink the boat. His posture on the outside showed the breaking on the inside as he fell to his knees before Jesus and said “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” And that is the starting point for all of us. If we are not sinners, why bother with a savior? Blessed good news, Jesus is still calling us sinners to repentance.
If the sin in our hearts was visible externally in our outward appearance, would we be more apt to recognize it and seek treatment? The next account in Luke 5 is of a man with Leprosy, a very obvious external skin disease. In this case, he already knew he was diseased. Every interaction with other people reminded him of it. When he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” After we know we are sick, we must see Jesus. What does it mean to see? In one sense we see everyone in a crowd, but in another sense we do not truly see others until we recognize them. This man saw who Jesus was and knew he could heal him. The posture of his reaction shows he recognized Jesus for he fell on his face before him. Blessed good news, this Doctor is still accepting patients!
There is yet another account in Luke 5. This man did not need to change his posture for his illness had paralyzed him and left him flat. He knew he was helpless, no one needed to tell him so. But this man had a special blessing, friends who believed in Jesus. They recognized Jesus and knew he was the person who could intervene. When they could not get through the crowd, their faith boldly took action and they climbed the roof, opened it up and lowered the man in front of Jesus. What friends! Could we be a friend like that to someone?
We are not saved by our works, for they are never enough. We are saved by the work of Christ, by putting our faith in him. All the way back in Genesis God began revealing his plan when he called Abraham and promised to do marvelous things on his behalf. The scripture says he believed God and God was so pleased with his faith that he marked down Abraham as righteous because of it. And the same thing happened for the paralytic man in Luke 5. When he saw their faith he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And to make the point clear to everyone he healed the man’s body as well as his soul.
The Doctor is in! In what ways are we broken, aware of our sin, aware of our helplessness? What we need is to see Jesus, to recognize him as the Lord, the Healer, and the Savior. And when our inmost being recognizes him, our outward selves will show it as we fall on our knees and worship him.