Somebody Call a Doctor?

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” –Matthew 9:10-12 (NIV)

Wouldn’t the Christian life be so easy if we were obliged to only serve those who we can tolerate? Those with whom we can easily get along with and enjoy their company? Although this would certainly be ideal, this is only fulfilling part of the Christian definition of service to others. Christ, by His example, demands that we serve everyone regardless of who they are. All of us are sinners and thus we all need to be restored by Christ and His redemptive work. Christians take on the role of the doctor, with the message of Christ as his medical expertise. But just as a doctor should be prepared to deal with minor health issues, he must also be prepared to deal with larger issues as well. A doctor cannot have any qualms about helping a patient because to have any would be a violation of the nature of his profession. Looking at the group of disciples Jesus had illustrated this point well. Take for example Matthew the tax collector. Jesus would have had every reason to refuse to deal with his kind. Not only did tax collectors collect taxes from every Jew, including Jesus’ own family in all likelihood, for their Roman oppressors, but many tax collectors would also amass their own personal wealth by helping themselves to some of the money collected from taxation. Or take for example Simon the Zealot. As he belonged to a group that murdered anyone who they deemed to be collaborators with the Roman occupiers, Jesus would have abhorred by Simon’s readiness to shed blood if need be. Yet he included such people to be His disciples. If Christ Himself wasn’t picky on who needed to experience the love of God is his life, why should we as followers of Him?

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Total Depravity, Total Solution

“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” – Hebrews 7:25 (NIV)

One only needs to crack open a history book to see the depravity of man. Even the most noble of ideologies, the most benevolent of movements, fall prey to the corruptive force that is human nature. Throughout history, man has tried to wrestle with the problem human depravity by proposing ideas and methods that would eventually take man to a perfect society where their corruption will cease to persist. However man, in his finite understanding, can and will continue to only come up with solutions that may address and solve part of the problem, but never the whole. The unfortunate result is that the part which was not dealt with festers and grows until it completely destroys every noble aspect of the movement or ideology. Why does this happen? The reason is that man constantly applies small bandages to gaping gashes. Man’s depravity is total. It is inherent and affects every single person born into this world. It does not discriminate against race, gender, or socio-economic status. As long as human beings exist, depravity will exist.

What then is the solution? Total depravity deserves a total solution. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross had as its intent to deal with the root of human nature; its inherent wickedness. God knew that man could not save himself because all have fallen short of His standards. Since God is holy and just, He cannot tolerate sin and by His standards, all who sin face death. Yet, God in His love did not want to send His creation to such a fate and thus sent His Son to die in place of humanity. If an individual only believes that Christ came to die in order that the penalty of their sin may be satisfied, then they are completely forgiven. Christ’s act of redemption through His death and burial is complete and final. It had to be so in order that each and every sinful desire of man would hold him back no more. Through an acceptance of this fact, man can be elevated out of his corruption. Not by his own hands, but by those of Christ working through him. Total depravity is a problem bigger than humanity itself, and it needs a person bigger than humanity and its depravity to solve it.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.