Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
THE PHYSICIAN FOR SINNERSMatthew 9:9-13
Matthew 9:13b “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 9:9-13 begins with Jesus calling Matthew, a tax collector, to follow Him as His disciple. Soon, Jesus and His disciples are having dinner in Matthew’s home with many tax collectors and others labeled as “sinners.” In answer to a question from the Pharisees about why Jesus would eat with these people, He responds that the sick need a doctor and not the healthy. Jesus declares that He has come to call sinners and not the righteous.
Jesus did not only call Matthew to follow him and be his disciple, he actually sat at a table with men and women like Matthew – tax collectors and sinners and ate his meal. Tax collectors had a poor reputation among Jews. They were considered traitors because their occupation aligned them with the hated Roman Empire. Tax collectors were known for exacting taxes beyond the required amount so that they could pocket the excess money. They were greedy and dishonest.
Why would Christ spend his time with people who are so impure and dirty with sin? Jesus answers in verses 12 & 13. “It is not healthy who needs 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.” Jesus came to this world to call sinners. Christ called tax collectors and sinners to be his disciples because they are the sick spiritually. He is a spiritual physician. Jesus came to heal the sick. If Jesus came to this world to save sinners, we ought to focus on teaching the Word of God to them. We need to replicate Christ’s ministry and focus on the type of people he focused on.
The Pharisees and Scribes had different views on religion. They assumed themselves to be righteous already. They did not think they needed to save.
1)The Pharisees and Scribes were more concerned with the preservation of their own holiness than with the helping of others’ sins. They shrank away in disgust from sinners; they did not want to do anything with people like the tax collectors and sinners. Their religion was very selfish and they were more concerned to save their own souls than saving the souls of others.
2)They were more concerned with criticism than with encouragement. They were more concerned to point out the faults of others than helping them conquer those faults. Our first instinct should never be to condemn sinners; our first instinct should be to help them.
When we think about evangelism, we need to think as Christ did. We naturally think we should seek out highly moral people. Jesus came to save sinners. Though it is easy to surround ourselves with “good” and “religious” people, Christ surrounded himself with sinners. He ate with them and happily associated with them. When we are tempted to follow the religiously elite, remember Christ’s words, “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” We should focus our evangelism on people who are sinners. Introduce Christ to them and He will heal their iniquities.
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)
Mr .Mathew P.George
St.Johns Mar Thoma Church