Jesus doesn’t save good people; He saves sinners. This truth is evidence of the miraculous grace of God. When I first met my wife 11 years ago, I was a broken shell of a human being. I was chasing the world and all its pleasures at rapid speeds.
I was living life to the fullest, but on the inside I was alone, empty and broken. Jesus says, “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” I am so thankful for this truth simply because none of my antics could help me escape the Father.
He broke me, reined me in and changed me. He gave me a new life, hope and joy to the fullest. He is changing me every day. He used my wife’s fervent prayers (then girlfriend) and the suicide of my closest friend to help me realize I was so tired of just existing. I surrendered my life to Christ, and today I write this as a new person.
In Matthew 9:12-13, Jesus said:
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
This is really good news! These verses give me great hope. You see, when we get really honest with ourselves, we find all sorts of sickness within us. My life was and is plagued with constant temptations to try to prove myself, to lust after the creation and to seek the praise of man. I have given in to these temptations more times than I would like to admit, but because I am His, I can admit to them.
This is the rest I have experienced, the rest that Jesus promises us in Matthew 11:28-30:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Jesus called me as I was. In the verses leading up to Matthew 9:12- 13, He called a tax collector by the name of Matthew to come and follow Him. Tax collectors were not well thought of by the Jewish Pharisees. Tax collectors were considered traitors to the Jewish people since they worked with the Romans. Matthew was like me — far from the Lord. But Jesus lived His life among the sick and sinners; He was in the middle of broken people. He ate with them, and He shared His life with them. He met them where they were. He met me where I was. I didn’t have to clean myself up to come to Him. The Great Physician found me when I was sick. He made me well. Matthew went on to become one of the 12 disciples of Jesus. I, too, have become a follower of Jesus.
For the Pharisees, the keeping of the law out of their own strength and self-righteousness caused them not to see their sickness. The law cannot be lived out apart from God Himself. Jesus upheld the law of the Pharisees, but unlike them, He upheld the law in complete righteousness. Jesus lived the perfect righteous life that we cannot live; He died the death that we deserve; He was resurrected; and now He offers those who believe in Him eternal life. Keeping the law is now an overflow of who we are in Him.
We no longer have to put on a façade. In Christ, there is no condemnation, and there is no shame. We no longer have to simply exist. His salvation is true freedom, and it is in Christ we live.