Jesus’ Judgment of Love – Br. Curtis Almquist

Br. Curtis Almquist

Mark 2:13-17
Two things we hear from Jesus in this Gospel lesson are eye opening. For one, Jesus relentlessly shares meals with notorious “sinners.” Sitting at table with someone, sharing a meal, is a “socially intimate” experience. There’s a sameness between everyone at the table: the same setting, at the same time, eating the same food, feeding the same needs we all have. Jesus sits at table with “sinners and tax collectors,” which is code language for the dregs of society, with whom Jesus is very glad to share a meal and to share life. (If you are sometimes a member of the dregs, welcome home.) And then Jesus alludes to his like a physician: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” Jesus presumes we are unwell. We are not fine and dandy, thank you. We are unwell, Jesus presumes. There’s something about our own life that is significantly damaged, broken, unmanageable, scarred, fearful, or traumatized that needs healing. We’ll need the healing care of Jesus, the physician, for the rest of our life. Our need is that great. Jesus presumes this.

Secondly, Jesus’ taking on the role of physician tells us about the nature of God’s judgment. We are unwell. We cannot heal ourselves. We go to a physician, first to receive a diagnosis. A diagnosis is a judgment. A diagnosis is a physician’s judgment based on what we report and what the physician sees, and hears, and feels in his or her examination of us. The physician draws on their training and experience to determine that this is what is wrong with you, in their judgment. And then you would want your physician to prescribe some treatment that will enable your healing and wholeness. In their judgment, this remedy will save you. This remedy will be a salve to your woundedness. And you would also have every hope – given that you are sick and therefore quite vulnerable, perhaps even fearful or ashamed – that your physician would treat you in a kind and merciful way. Jesus is the Great Physician, a great one indeed. 

Saint John of the Cross, the 16th-century Spanish friar, said that, in the end, we will be judged by God. And God’s judgment will be a judgment of love.[i]

[i]Saint John of the Cross, OCarm (1542-1591), was a Spanish mystic, and Carmelite friar and a priest.

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  1. JGIBSON on January 25, 2019 at 16:27

    True to form, Brother Curtis, and deeply satisfying.

  2. Robert Sherwood on January 25, 2019 at 13:57

    Brother Curtis:

    I wish I could do as well in 10 Minutes of preaching as you have done in 1. This is Good News indeed, the kind people are dying to hear.


  3. Désirée on January 25, 2019 at 09:32

    It is comforting to think that we will judged by God’s love- I hope that I may come to believe these words. I feel that it is the things I do incorrectly or not at all in which i will be judged,
    Knowing that I will never be able to fulfill.

  4. Margo Fletcher on January 24, 2019 at 18:56

    Does the judgement of love include “rebuke’ ‘demand for restitution’, ‘repentence and change’ so people who are far more sinned against than sinning have a choice in offering their forgiveness?

  5. Karen F on January 24, 2019 at 15:36


  6. Jeanne DeFazio on January 24, 2019 at 14:27

    Thanks for the wonderful reflection on human frailty. Live the images and the answers that appear in the contents
    When I saw I was first I was a little disappointed. I get much from hearing what everyone has to say. I stopped in the middle of running errands to read this because I needed a God break. Thanks for letting me reflect on brokenness with the hope of Jesus present. Someone recently told me that 2019 20+19 equaling 39 those 39 stripes Jesus took do that by His Stripes according to the books Isaiah and letters Peter heal us all!

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