Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”
The spiritual significance of this passage is obvious and relevant and helpful. In Luke chapter 5, Jesus is being ridiculed by pious people for eating and visiting with Levi, the cheating tax collector, and his cheating tax collector friends. But everything about Levi is going to change (including his name!) He leaves his corrupt and cheating ways and follows Jesus wholeheartedly for the rest of his life. He was “sick.” And Jesus healed him.
I think it’s funny that Jesus’ response to the Pharisees is that healthy people don’t need a doctor since every single one of us qualify for and are in desperate need of the “medicine” of Jesus’ forgiveness from our sins. We all need saving. And Jesus, just Jesus, makes us righteous (Romans 3:22). Then, the righteous (the ones who believe in Jesus) aren’t sick anymore.
This is so difficult for our society to grasp. People voluntarily adopt very specific medicinal and dietary changes in their life so they won’t get sick. And people who take medicine when they’re not sick actually create disease as we have seen with antibiotic resistant bacteria that can’t be eradicated from modern operating rooms.
Healthy people don’t need a doctor. And healthy people don’t need to live like a sick person anymore. People who don’t have celiac disease do not need to eat a gluten free diet. Yet we have a HUGE (way huge-er than the population of people with the disease) eating on gluten free diets. So much so that there are menu pages dedicated to these not diseased people in restaurants. These Paleo-dieters are feeling sluggish, not shaking common colds, and losing their hair 6 month into it. There are so many healthy people living like sick people. Does anyone consider the consequence might actually be disease from this unnecessary self-preserving lifestyle changes?
Sick people need a doctor. Sick people need medicine. Sick people. Perfectly healthy people shouldn’t be taking medicine just in case. They are not sick. Medicine and radical diets should only be taken if you’re sick. It is not for keeping diseases away.
Spiritually speaking, Believers aren’t “sick” anymore. We don't need to try and impress God by what we do anymore. We shouldn’t be living like “sick” people.
Consider what Colossians 2:13-23 says:
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it. You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? (WE ARE NOT SICK ANYMORE!) Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.
And, spiritually speaking, for the unbelievers... they are in desperate need of the Great Physician!
Help me not to ever get caught up in trying to “save my own life” by trying to conquer my own selfish desires apart from you. Thank you that by believing in your Son, my heart is made good and healthy. Thank you that I am not bound to jumping through any hoops to make myself right with you. Thank you that Jesus is all that I need. Help me not to do things the way society dictates for “good” living or to fall into the trap of what pious people think Christians should do or to search for ‘medicine’ to make my life better -because I am not sick. Jesus rescued me! Help me to do what you want me to do set by the example that only Jesus gives. I love you and praise you and pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.