We are in the middle of a sermon series called Words to Live By, where we are delving into five different words in the Christian faith that when believed and lived by have the power to completely transform our lives. This Sunday we talked about the word “repentance.”
Repentance means to change one’s mind, and it implies turning from evil and towards God. In Luke 5:27-32, Jesus calls Levi the tax collector to follow him. Tax collectors had a lot of enemies in that time period. They were seen as collaborators with the enemy and dishonest thieves. Yet Jesus sees Levi the tax collector as a child of God and invites him to be a disciple. When the Pharisees grumble against Jesus and the disciples for eating with “tax collectors and sinners,” Jesus tells them that healthy people do not need the doctor but sick people do. He says he came to call sinners to repentance. Here, Jesus was showing the Pharisees the depth of the love of God in how God desires to bring healing and wholeness to all people, no matter who we are or what we have done.
When we are talking about repentance we are not talking about fear tactics and being sinners in the hands of an angry God, as Jonathan Edwards once preached. Repentance is not a requirement of associating with Jesus, it is a grateful response through our encounter with Jesus. Jesus’ way is to love us and give us grace upon grace, and that grace calls us to repentance. In this passage in Luke, Jesus compares himself to the great physician. Our God is the great physician who heals our sins so we can be well and whole. Repentance involves acknowledging wrong doing. Admitting that one has, or has been, participating in evil is the first step toward healing. Repentance also involves changed hearts and lives, which happens through God as our great physician. It involves making a U-turn- turning away from the evil and sin and our lives, and turning back towards God. Jesus is our great physician who heals our sins and makes us whole through repentance.
Questions to Consider and Discuss:
- How is God inviting you to repent of evil in your own life?
- What does the image of God as a “great physician” mean to you?
Monday- Luke 5:27-32
Tuesday- Luke 19:1-10
Wednesday- Matthew 3:1-12
Thursday- Matthew 4:12-17
Friday- Psalm 51:1-19