Monday, August 13, 2007

The Call

Matthew 9:12 ..."Those who are well don't need a doctor, but the sick do. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Jesus has just forgiven the sins of a paralyzed man, and to prove that He had the authority to do so He also healed his body. From there He went on and He called Matthew, a tax collector, to follow Him, and Matthew immediately got up and followed Him. We next see Jesus having dinner in Matthew's house. We don't know if it was the same day, or if this was a few days later; the text doesn't say. What it does say is that many tax collectors and sinners came to eat with Jesus and His disciples, and that the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day, were once again upset with Jesus and His actions because He didn't fit into their conception of righteousness, and they asked His disciples, "why is your teacher eating with sinners?"

You see, in the world of the Pharisees there was no room for "sinners" because being associated with sinners would have defiled them and they would no longer be able to show how righteous they were; it was all about what they looked like, it was all about what other people thought. They were not righteous on the inside where it counts, and Jesus told them so over and over again. He told them that they were like whitewashed tombs, beautiful on the outside but inwardly full of dead men's bones (Matthew23:27).

It is to these people then that Jesus says, "Those who are well don't need a doctor, the sick do." The Pharisees didn't see their sinfulness, they thought they were righteous because they "kept" all of the commandments and laws, but what they had missed was that the commandments and laws that God gave were to show us how sinful we are, not to show us how to be righteous. The commandments of the Law deal with our attitudes more than our actions. What Jesus is telling us here is that in order to be set free from the bondage of sin we must first admit that we need to be set free. Jesus didn't come to save the righteous; they don't think they need a savior, he came to save those who know that they are lost, that they are sick, that are broken over their sin, and that acknowledge their need for a savior.

So spend some time today thanking Jesus for coming to seek and save the lost, and thank Him for dying in your place.
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