“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Luke 5:32 NIV
Looking back over the years from the rise of the fur trade to the abolition of Prohibition, you can find several outlaws with a Canadian connection who broke laws on either or both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. They include “Mad Trapper” Albert Johnson, a mysterious Yukon loner who terrorized local trappers. With twenty-one men, forty-two dogs and a bush plane on his tail, Johnson fled across rugged terrain in extreme cold, eluding police for weeks and killing one officer. He was finally taken down in a hail of gunfire on February 17, 1932.
The religious leaders in Jesus’ day had a huge pride problem. They didn’t see it in themselves of course – they thought they were the most righteous people on the planet and it led to pride. I knew a young follower of Jesus years ago who had that same problem. He was convinced that all sin in his life had been eradicated and he was living in complete victory over sin. And he was so proud of where he felt he had arrived spiritually that no one liked him and no one wanted to be around him. He had totally missed one of the foundational principles of the kingdom of God – we only become righteous by recognizing how far short we fall of God’s holiness. That’s what Jesus was getting at in Luke 5:32 when He said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Those who are self-righteous are a long way from the kingdom of God – and see no need for a Saviour. Those who are aware of their sinfulness are much closer to the Kingdom and Jesus came for them – for us.
These have been words from the heart.