People will often ask me, “Why would you drive six hours one way to go to the doctor?” It’s a legitimate question. My answer is always the same, “He is interested in curing me instead of treating me.” There’s a big difference between the two. Most of the American system of healthcare is designed to treat the symptoms of a disease instead of attacking it at its root because the money is in treating it rather than curing it. Think of all the over the counter medicine we buy. We’re reading the symptoms on the box that it treats so that we can be relieved of them for about four hours. Then, we have to take that medicine again just to get rid of the symptoms again. We go back and buy a new bottle when we run out. What if there was a medicine that stopped what was causing the symptoms with one dose? Would you rather take that? That’s the difference in treating diseases versus curing them.
That same line of thinking that treats the symptoms creeps into our Christianity. We look at the symptoms of our brokenness and try to treat them. Each of us have certain propensities to sin based on the way we’re broken inside. We get mad at ourselves for falling for the same temptations over and over and vow not to commit that particular sin again. We try to remove the triggers, we try to make sure we’re not in those situations again or we think we somehow have the willpower to beat it. None of those work because they’re dealing with the fruit of the sin rather than the root of it. As long as we do that, we will continue to commit the same sins over and over. We’re been conditioned to think our salvation is based on our behavior rather than God’s grace.
In Mark 2, Jesus was addressing the same thinking in the Pharisees. Some friends lowered a guy through a ceiling to be healed by Jesus. The first thing Jesus told him was that his sins were forgiven. Why? Because that was his greatest need. His physical condition was a result of the fall of man. He then healed the man, but the Pharisees got angry. Jesus later called Matthew and then went to his house for dinner. The Pharisees couldn’t believe Jesus’ behavior because their relationship with God was based on symptoms and behaviors rather than grace. I’m verse 17, Jesus replied, “Who goes to the doctor for a cure? Those who are well or those who are sick? I have not come to call the ‘righteous,’ but to call those who are sinners and bring them to repentance” (TPT). Jesus didn’t die to relieve the symptoms of a fallen world. He died to make you whole and to cure the disease of sin within you.