The Lord Jesus did not come into the world, as some suppose, to be nothing more than a law giver, a king, a teacher, an example. Had this been all the purpose of his coming, there would have been small comfort for us…. A teacher and an example might be sufficient for an unfallen being like Adam in the Garden of Eden. But fallen sinners like ourselves want healing first, before we can value rules.
The Lord Jesus came into the world to be a physician as well as a teacher. He knew the needs of human nature. He saw us all sick of a mortal disease, stricken with the plague of sin, and dying daily. He pitied us, and came down to bring divine medicine for our relief. He came to give health and cure to the dying, to heal the broken-hearted, and to offer strength to the weak. No sin-sick soul has gone too far for him. It is his glory to heal and restore to life the most desperate cases. For unfailing skill, for unwearied tenderness, for long experience of people’s spiritual ailments, the great Physician of souls stands alone. There is none like him.
But what do we know ourselves of this special role of Christ’s? Have we ever felt our spiritual sickness and applied to him for relief? We are never right in the sight of God until we do. We have got nothing right in religion if we think the sense of sin should keep us back from Christ. To feel our sins and know our sickness is the beginning of real Christianity. To be aware of our corruption and abhor our own transgressions is the first symptom of spiritual health. Happy indeed are those who have found out their soul’s disease! Let them know that Christ is the very physician they require, and let them consult him without delay.
J.C. Ryle (1816-1900), in Mark, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, pp 23-24.