Mark 2:14-17 “As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, ‘How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard it, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.’” In this story, Jesus uses the analogy of sickness to sinfulness and implies that He is the physician that heals them in that He calls sinners to repent for salvation.
Jesus was able to heal all who came to Him. When the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus, He summarized His ministry like this: Matthew 11:4-5 “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.’” The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are full of stories where Jesus healed all who came to Him. He truly was the physician that healed sickness of the people. But at Levi’s house, He told us that He is also the physician that heals our sinfulness. He is the Great Physician.
When we obeyed the gospel, we were saved and our sins were forgiven; we were healed. But as we continue to live as Christians, we sometimes sin and demonstrate spiritual sickness. The apostle Paul describes a form of spiritual sickness in describing how the Corinthians were taking the Lord’s Supper. 1 Corinthians 11:27-30 “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” When some in Corinth were eating the Lord’s Supper and not discerning the Lord’s body, they became weak and sick – spiritually sick.
You might ask what spiritual wellness looks like. I suggest that it is when we bear the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” By walking in the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit, we demonstrate spiritual wellness.
The apostle Paul tried to teach and reason with the Jews in Rome about the gospel. Acts 28:24-27 “And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: ‘The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying, ‘Go to this people and say: ‘Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you will see, and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’’’” Spiritual sicknesses that we find here are dull hearts, hard of hearing, and closed eyes. God could not heal them until they allowed Him to soften their hearts, give them hearing and opened their eyes. We too can experience these spiritual sicknesses when we are not truly open to what God teaches us through the scriptures.
One of the sicknesses that is common for people today is heart disease. The Bible refers to various heart diseases in a spiritual sense. The apostle Paul wrote about the hardness and impenitent hearts of those who were hypocritical and judged others while doing the same thing. Romans 2:3-6 “And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds.’” I encourage you to check the condition of your heart that it may be soft and loving and not hard and impenitent.
We may be guilty of other spiritual sicknesses. Here are some symptoms that suggest spiritual sickness: fear and anxiety, resentment, anger and blame, guilt, shame, remorse, irritability and chronic negativity, addictive behaviors, unrepentant sinning, apathy and listlessness. Spiritual sickness can also be manifest through physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach upsets, muscle tension, and fatigue,emotional remoteness, melancholy and lack of joy.
The solution for all spiritual sicknesses is Jesus. He is the great physician. I encourage you to come to Him and learn from Him. Confess your spiritual sickness; repent and ask for His forgiveness. Fully trust in Him. Jesus told the church in Laodicea in Revelation 3:18-19 “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.”