I have this thing about going to the doctor. I don’t like it.
I don’t like yearly check ups, eye exams, or flu shots……even when I’m sick…….I resist going to the doctor. I’ll ignore my symptoms until I can’t, then I’ll plan my own course of treatment, try an essential oil or a handful of vitamins and as a last resort, buy the over-the-counter stuff. If all of that doesn’t work, I’ll finally make the call for an appointment to see the doctor.
The doctor can see what I can’t see. He has more knowledge about what ails me and has access to what can help me – usually a prescription for medicine.
Jesus talks about doctors in the Gospel of Luke chapter 5:27-32.
Levi, who is better known as Matthew, is thrilled at his new life away from tax collecting. To celebrate, Matthew threw a feast for Jesus. Apparently, Matthew invited a lot of his friends to the party. Maybe because he wanted them to meet Jesus, or maybe because he thought the more the merrier. Probably both.
But the religious leaders were upset that Jesus was eating with “those kind” of people and asked Jesus’ disciples why he had anything to do with them. Jesus answered them.
“Healthy people don’t need a doctor, only the sick.”
The King James Version of the Bible uses the word whole instead of healthy.
“They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.”
Jesus continues, “I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” Verse 32 in the NLT.
Because of their observance of the law the Pharisees deemed themselves whole. They were blind to their spiritual sickness therefore had no need for the Sovereign Physician of souls.
The same story in Matthew 9 verses 9-13 has an additional statement. Jesus told the Pharisees to “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’
The Pharisees missed the point. Loving and caring for others is more important to God than religious rituals.
Before we judge the Pharisees and the teachers of the law we should ask ourselves if we have any of the same attitudes. Do we think we’re good? Do we tend to think “those people” need to get it together?
We all have our own definition of “those people”. Corrupt politicians, thugs, meth heads, strippers, racists or murderers. Those who rule the system and the ones who abuse it. The ones who are left out and the ones who leave them out. Those we think Jesus would never dine with. Those we think are too far gone.
Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy people who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to invite good people but sinners to change their hearts and lives.” 5:32 NCV
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