It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:12-13).
It wasn’t the religiously correct thing to do. In fact, it was scandalous. But Jesus did it anyway.
He ate dinner with Matthew, the tax collector, at Matthew’s house. And there were other tax collectors and sinners there as well. These were seedy characters, the dregs of society, unclean in the eyes of the Jewish leaders.
When these religious leaders saw Jesus dining with this group of cheats and misfits, they were up in arms.
They asked Jesus’s disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus caught wind of their question and gave an answer that left them scratching their heads.
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means. I desire mercy, not sacrifice, for I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The Jewish leaders had established their own standards of righteousness. They were doing quite well according to these standards. They weren’t sick, nor were they sinners like those tax col-lectors. At least that is what they thought. So they had no need for Jesus, or for his mercy.
Jesus went to those who needed mercy, who needed a physician. To them, he brought for-giveness and life and the “righteousness that comes from God” (Romans 10:3).
Jesus dined with the sinners, because he came into this world to call sinners unto himself. Aren’t you glad he called you?
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Today, thank Jesus that he reached out to you and healed your soul by giving you forgiveness, life and freedom. And then look around. There are people in your sphere of influence who are desperately seeking what Jesus alone can provide.
Tell them the good news of the gospel message and watch them become ‘well’ through faith in Jesus.