“When Jesus heard this, he told them, ‘It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Who needs Jesus? The “right” answer to that question (at least as far as Jesus’ followers are concerned) is everyone. But I want to focus on a different angle of it with you this morning. Focus on the word “need” there with me for a few minutes. If you need something, by definition, that implies you don’t have it and can’t get along without it. With this slight shift in focus, then, let’s ask it again: Who needs Jesus? Let’s talk about it.
Now, from a cultural standpoint, we misuse the word need all the time. We talk about needing all kinds of things that we don’t really. What we actually mean is simply that we want them. We simply use the word “need” to emphasize just how strong our desire for whatever it is happens to be. But when it comes to things we actually need, the list gets a lot smaller.
Food. Water. Air. Clothing and shelter (we might group those together under the heading “protection from the elements”). You could make a good argument that we need some intangible things as well like companionship (“it is not good for man to be alone”) and purpose. But that’s about it. Maybe you can think of one or two things I forgot, but probably not many. Our list of actual needs is pretty short when you get right down to it. Once we have those basics covered, the rest is really luxury.
So then, how about Jesus? Into which category does He belong? Well again, Christians are primed to say, “need,” but what does that really mean? After all, people seem to get by just fine without Jesus all the time. Physically speaking, my lungs and heart do their job whether I know anything about Him or not. Now, yes, you could rightly argue that He is the one who sustains those things and so we do in fact need Him, but if billions of people are sustained by Him whether or not they have a relationship with Him, do they need Him beyond that?
Does anyone really need Jesus? I’m going to say, “Yes,” and here’s why. There is actually one more human need that I didn’t mention a second ago. We need a relationship with God. Now, an atheist might protest rather vigorously that he most emphatically does not need a relationship with God, but I beg to differ. People generally need to be in a relationship of some kind with a power beyond themselves. Call that power whatever you want, we were made to seek something greater than us. It only takes a bit of observation to see the truth of this borne out rather clearly. Just look at how religious humanity has always been. No matter how different we might be on a wide range of particulars, our religiosity remains consistent. People have always sought out something greater than themselves and which gives form and substance to their lives.
Well, there is only one God who is real. We may seek any number of substitutes, but these cannot ultimately fulfill the need that pulses at the core of our being. And, the only way someone can enter into a relationship with the God who is real is through Jesus.
If you’ve been seeking to have that god itch scratched somewhere other than the God revealed in the pages of Scriptures, you know as well as I do that while you may have gotten some momentary relief from this or that religious option, nothing has given you the lasting satisfaction you are seeking. That will continue to be the case for as long as you keep searching in all of these other places because those gods, whatever form they happen to take, aren’t real.
There is but one God and His name is Yahweh. And the only way we can be in a relationship with Him is to place our trust in Jesus. Jesus is the way. He is the one who paid the price for our sin. We couldn’t and can’t do it on our own. Only Jesus can get us there. What this means is that people need Jesus. They don’t simply desire Him–in fact, if they don’t have Him, they probably don’t desire Him at all–they need Him. We may be able to physically exist without Him, but we’ll never become fully what we could be on our own. And eventually, this life will end and access to the life that comes next is only granted through Him. We need Jesus. You need Jesus. Do you have Him?
2 thoughts on “Morning Musing: Mark 2:17”
This is beautiful and it was a part of my prayer this morning. Makes me think of the song “I Need Thee Every Hour”
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Thanks for that! I really appreciate it. I’m glad this one hit home for you. That’s a great song, by the way. The band Jars of Clay has a terrific arrangement of it. Here’s a live version of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FinzOzz5XnQ
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