A Friend Of You And Me

Saturday of Week after Ash Wednesday in Lent

Is. 58:9-14 & Lk 5:27-32

Once again Jesus was in trouble with the Pharisees and scribes. They objected to His eating and drinking with people generally regarded as sinners. Jesus replied that He was like a doctor who had come to heal the sick. The tragedy of the Pharisees was that they did not recognise that they were sick! They thought of themselves as virtuous, but behaved in the ways which Isaiah condemned. They placed heavy burdens on people's backs by imposing many rules and regulations. Jesus accused them of greed, intolerance, and lack of compassion.

The difference between the Pharisees and the so-called sinners was that the Pharisees were blind to their own faults. If only they could have recognised the symptoms and realised that they needed the physician.

Matthew the tax collector had heard Jesus preaching and he was ready to admit that he needed to change his life. He could not change without Jesus' help, and so he placed his life in Jesus' hands, trusting Him to do whatever was necessary. Jesus must have longed to be a friend and physician to the Pharisees, too, but they stubbornly refused to admit that there was anything wrong.

Are we sometimes like the Pharisees, believing that we can cope with life on our own? Perhaps we've been brought up to be independent and stand on our own feet, and it is hard to admit to our own weakness and failure. We struggle on, using our own resources, instead of admitting that we need Jesus' help. It is easy for us to see what is wrong with other people, but we fail to see what is wrong with ourselves. How can a doctor help us unless we first recognise our illness and then seek help for our problems? How can Jesus help us, unless we open our hearts to Him and admit that we have gone wrong? We should not be afraid to approach Jesus for we are the people, the sinners, He is calling.

Lord Jesus, may we always acknowledge our sinfulness, and recognize You as our Physician who can heal all our ills.