Read:  Luke 5:1-11, 27-32

Focus: Luke 5:31 – 32
Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”

I had considered myself a Christian pretty much my entire life; however, that wasn’t really an intellectually honest self-assessment for most of my life. Let’s break down the word Christian to see what it means and why I wasn’t being honest when I considered myself a Christian for so many years.

 The Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry defines Christ, the first part of the wordChristian, as follows:
The term Christ is a title; it is the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament term messiah and means anointed one. It is applied to Jesus as the anointed one who delivers the elect from their sin. Jesus alone is the Christ. As the Christ, He has three offices: Prophet, Priest, and King. As Prophet, He is the mouthpiece of God (Matt. 5:27-28) and represents God to man. As Priest, He represents man to God and restores fellowship between them by offering Himself as the sacrifice that removed the sin of those saved. As King, He rules over His kingdom. By virtue of Christ creating all things (John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17), He has the right to rule. Christ has come to do the will of the Father (John 6:38), to save sinners (Luke 19:10), to fulfill the Old Testament (Matt. 5:17), to destroy the works of Satan (Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8), and to give life (John 10:10, 28). Christ is holy (Luke 1:35), righteous (Isaiah 53:11), sinless (2 Cor. 5:21), humble (Phil. 2:5-8), and forgiving (Luke 5:20; 7:48; 23:34).

Now that’s a long definition, but I think it’s a good one because it provides us with a scriptural view of Jesus Christ. The definition for –ian is significantly shorter. According to the online Free Dictionary, we have the following definition of the suffix –ian:  One relating to, belonging to, or resembling.

So, based on those definitions, if I am to be a Christian, I need to be someone who is relating to, belonging to, or resembling Jesus the Christ.

As I said, I thought I was a Christian. I went to church (occasionally but more than some of my friends), I prayed (but mostly for myself or close loved ones), I tried to be good (now there’s a loaded word because I didn’t have a basis to define what was good), I didn’t think of myself as prideful (who ever does, besides I was better than that), and I thought I was mostly forgiving (unless someone really, really didn’t deserve it). I even attended a couple of churches that seemed to be saying to me that everything was OK with the way I was living life. So, yeah, I was doing OK with God; I wasn’t like those other people who weren’t even trying.

Anyone see the issues there? I was trying to live a “good” life based on my works and through my own strength, but it was never enough and subsequently, I wasn’t very Christlike. I was going through the motions. I was fooling myself and others, but I wasn’t fooling God. Jesus addresses this with very clear language in Matthew 23 when He called out the Pharisees as hypocrites. In Matthew 23: 25 – 26, He said “Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.”

Jesus was speaking to these same hypocritical religious people in today’s focus verse, and I would submit He was speaking to those of us in today’s society who fail to see our own need for Him as our Savior. Healthy people don’t think they need a doctor, and people who think they’re good by their own or cultural standards don’t need a Savior.

Today is Good Friday, and we remember Jesus hanging on a cross for us to cancel out our sin debt. Every single one of us who is willing to put aside our own pride, humble ourselves, recognize our sin, see our own weaknesses, and cry out to Jesus to forgive, to be our savior, to come live inside of us becomes a member of the elect, part of the family of God. At that point we don’t become sinless (we will have a continued, life-long need for Jesus as our Savior and for the power of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives), but at that point, we do become Christians. We begin belonging to Jesus Christ, and once we belong to Him, no one or nothing can ever steal that away!

I came to that point in my mid-thirties when I reached a level of desperation with life and finally called out to Jesus to be my Savior. It was the single most important and life-changing event I have ever experienced. Take a hard look at yourself. Have you been going through the motions, trying to fool everyone including yourself? If so, you need to ask yourself, “Is this really what I want? Am I satisfied? Is this all there is to life?” You don’t need to stay where you are. Jesus is calling you, seeking you with His arms wide-open and asking you to invite Him into your life as a true follower of Him.

Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to die for me. I can’t imagine the pain and humiliation He experienced while hanging on the cross. Thank You that through Jesus’ sacrifice I can be in a right relationship with You, that You invite me into Your family. I’m sorry for my choices that go against You; I’m sorry for my sin. Please come into my life and wash away my sin. Change my rebellious heart. Re-make me into someone who resembles Jesus. Please fill me with the Holy Spirit so, through the Spirit, I have the strength to follow Jesus. In Jesus’ name… Amen

If you prayed that prayer and accepted Christ as your Savior (whether it was today, last year, or ten years ago), the next step is that you need to be baptized. Why? Because Jesus commands it of us. There is a lot of scripture that supports Jesus’ command for all believers to be baptized, but in summary, see Matthew 28:18–20 if in doubt. The church is holding baptism this weekend (what an awesome way to celebrate Easter). If you’ve accepted Jesus as your savior and would like to be baptized, please contact the church ASAP.

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