BAND AID OR HOSPITAL
15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:15-17
I know that I have heard this a lot of times in my life as it refers to our calling as the Church. As we see the social injustices in the world and watch as things seems to go from normal to chaos in the manner of seconds. I know that there are times when it seems we really don't have all of the answers and we struggle to recognize what we are to do as Christians. How are we to respond to the situations in the world without seeming as though we are choosing sides or throwing political weight on one side or the other. In many cases it seems as if we are trying to fix a broken bone with a band-aid because of our inability to discern the reaction we should have when faced with the difficult issues. I know that in the last few years the church and the teachings of the Bible have come under attack by the situations of the world, and I continue to remind myself that God's Word has and will continue to withstand any attacks of this world. The Truth has and will continue to be passed on for generations to come. But that we need to rethink our model of Church from being just a quick fix to one that spends time evaluating the true root of the problem and become the hospital God intended for us to be for the world.
I do believe that from the early beginnings of the Church, we were called to reach beyond the walls and help all of those that were in need. In fact, when we see the birth of the church found in Acts 2, we recognize that they met together each day, studied together and sold
their processions to help support the needs of the community of faith. I know that in the modern era, we try to do that as well with ministries and budgets that continue to provide opportunities to reach people for Christ. But I do struggle some times when I see people that are falling through the cracks and I continue to question if we are willing to play the long game. Are we willing to do everything that we can to help others or do we find ways to give quick relief because we have other issues that take hold of our time. I struggle because I know that there are only a certain times that we as the church come together as a community of faith, but even in those times we can find ourselves fractured, isolated and removed. We can walk into a room filled with people and still feel as if we are the only person there. WE have to begin to change our focus. We have to being to equip our people to get outside the box and recognize that we all have our own problems that need to be healed through the blood of the Lamb. We all recognize that there is a struggle in this world to overcome the evil that continues to hold us down, and we are in desperate need of long term care and not just a little peroxide, a band aid and a short response to come and see us if you need any more help. The world is in need and it's time to exchange the pews for hospital beds and start really digging in to diagnose what is at the root of the problem.
As Jesus is just beginning His ministry, I am not surprised that Jesus did not go to the temples first and preach. Yes, I know that when Jesus was a young boy, He was found teaching in the Temple with One with great knowledge. But when He began He ministry with the disciples, we find Jesus outside among the people doing triage for their conditions. He was willing to break down the walls of the Church that seemed to cause a separation between those who taught and those who needed to listen. The more amazing point was the reaction recorded in Mark's gospel as it pertains to the religious leaders of the day. It completely blew their minds that Jesus would sink to such levels as to sit with unclean people. It blew their minds that He would not consult them first to ask where and who He needed to see. No, Jesus pretty much set up His own MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) Unit that was ready to begin to diagnose and help those that were in need. Sometimes we struggle to remember the importance of the Church to get outside the walls and truly understand the needs of the people. We continue to live, SOMETIMES, with the mentality that if they need help they will come. But we forget to recognize that there are those who are still so sick and dejected, that they will never come close to the Church. So many that are sitting at the bottom of the steps in need of someone to take the time to talk and care. It is not that we don't want to do that... it is the problem that many of us are truly struggling ourselves and need to be healed first before we feel as though we can help others.
I really do love Jesus' response in the Scripture today. Simply put, Jesus is telling us that we have the knowledge on how to heal. We have to be willing to stop putting the band aid on our broken situations and step up and take our medicine so that healing can occur. We have to stop making excuses on why we cannot help others and step out with the ability to sit with those in need and take to them to the Spiritual healing they need to survive. Jesu blatantly
said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." I just hope and pray that we realize that Jesus would not show up in our churches. Jesus is trying to show us that we need to be the CHURCH outside the walls. That we need to mobilize our efforts and take the healing power of the Gospel out into the streets. Into the homes and hearts of those who are desperately struggling to find answers and make it through the day. We have to find a way to offer a different solution than just a band aid and push it down the line. We have been challenged to step into the lives of others and I hope and pray that we take the steps we need to be the Church God called us to be. In the earliest days, the Church was the central part of the community. In most cases that built the Church as the first building in the town and used it as the central meeting place for ALL things that happened. It was a school, government building, place of refuge, a hospital and the house of worship. It effected every area of the towns life. It is time that we find a way to get back to that model and become the place where those who are in need find complete healing from their pain.