(30) But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? (31) And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. (32) I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.Luke 5:27-32
By observing 4 responses found in this passage we can know what it means to follow Jesus in discipleship.
Response #4- Fish (continued)
The scribes and the pharisees were people who were very pious. They studied the scriptures intensely. They knew the scriptures. They memorized whole books of the Bible. They were zealous for Judaism and for the Old Testament at a level. But they also missed the whole point.
The scribes and pharisees loved Bible study. They loved the temple. They loved gathering with people in the synagogues. They loved expositional preaching. They even loved people who looked godly like they did.
The scribes and pharisees believed that they had it all together. They thought that they were good with God because of their own righteousness.
These people asked Jesus, “Why are you hanging out with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus, why are you calling someone that is a publican into discipleship. What kind of rabbi are you? Our disciples are the best of the best. It seems like your disciples are the worst of the worst. And look at the outcome- now you are even hanging out with the worst of the worst.
Notice Jesus response:
(31) And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. (32) I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.Luke 5:31-32
Let me ask you a question: Were the publicans sinners, but not the pharisees?
Of course not.
The Bible says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Jesus was not saying that the pharisees didn’t need forgiveness. Jesus was saying that the ones that He could save were the ones that recognized their need for a Savior.
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: (10) Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. (11) The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. (12) I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. (13) And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. (14) I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.Luke 18:9-14
Jesus reserved his harshest criticism for people who refused to understand their own sinfulness.
To Jesus, these men were asking, “Why are you eating with the mission field?” The answer, “The mission field is who needs to be reached.”
When we spend our time trying to be righteous without growing to be fishers of men, we are being more like the pharisees than the disciples of Jesus Christ. This does not mean that we are for sin. We hate the sin that causes people to be separated from God. We hate our own sin and pursue Jesus.
But in the meantime we do not hate the sinner. We do not hate our own mission field.
The point of discipleship is to glorify God by observing everything Jesus taught so that we can be sent on His mission.
Who do you need to fish for today?