Bible Reading Blog — January 12, 2016

12 Jan

Today’s Readings: Genesis 37-42 & Mark 2:13-17

Mark 2:17 “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

These words of Jesus to the religious leaders in Mark 2:17 are backed up by everything Jesus has been doing in the gospel of Mark to this point. He has been preaching to and healing those who have ears to hear and hearts to believe. It is not that Jesus will not call a religious leader to Himself, it is that most refuse His call. Remember the Sermon on the Mount . . . “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:3). The problem with the religious leaders was their self-confidence. They believed through their righteous deeds that they were worthy and sufficient. They may have given lip service to grace, but in their heart of hearts it was their good deeds which they believed commended them to God, or at the least their good intentions to obey the law.

In reality, it is neither our good deeds nor our good intentions which make us right with God. Instead, those who are made right with God are those who realize they have no way to be right with God in themselves. They recognize themselves as sinners before God and come to the Great Physician for the soul healing that only He can give. Then they rest in His love and He raises them to health so that they can serve others. This is the pattern for life with God.

The moment you begin to make progress in your life with God is the moment you stop thinking about how to make progress with God through self-improvement. Christian living is not about having all your ducks in a row, it is about pursuing God. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Mt. 6:33). It is true that Hebrews tells us to “Strive for holiness” (Heb. 12:14) but even this is because “without which no one will see the Lord.” The goal is seeing the Lord. God is the goal. If you are not satisfied with Him here, why would you want to go to heaven? I am afraid many of us want to go to heaven so we can be free from sin. And we want to be free from sin so we can finally feel good about ourselves. But really, the only true way to feel good about ourselves is to see ourselves as a beloved child of God, to find our identity in who Jesus is and what He has done for us. Turning our focus from how righteous we are to the goodness and righteousness of Jesus is the first step toward really being a follower of Jesus.

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