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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

September 21, 2023

Matthew 9:9-13

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick,” Jesus tells the Pharisees when they object to Him eating with tax collectors and sinners. And this statement is true, but it’s also deliberately misleading in order to lead the Pharisees to the truth. This statement is rhetorically wrong to make the right point to those who are in the wrong. Here Jesus is creating a false category that doesn’t exist to show the Pharisees and us who we really are.

It is true that only sinners need the Gospel, but it’s also true that there is nobody who is not a sinner. It’s true that Jesus has come to call sinners and not the righteous to repentance, but there are no righteous. It’s true that only those who need forgiveness need Jesus, but it’s also true that everybody needs forgiveness and thus needs Jesus. Those who are well have no need of Christ’s healing, but nobody is well. That’s why He’s come to give eternal healing to mankind.

So in all of this, Jesus is essentially saying, “are you upset that I’m giving my time to sinners instead of to you? Then admit you are a sinner and come join the crowd of people I will clothe in my mercy. Are you hungering for the attention that I’m giving to the corrupt and condemned? Then acknowledge your own corruption, cry out for me to rescue you from condemnation, and I will give you what you need. I will invite you to take your seat at the feast of salvation.”

And so it is for us. If it bothers you to see Jesus, through the church, giving His time to the filthy and the worthless, don’t rage. Repent and rejoice. Because that means Jesus will always give His time, His presence, and His healing to you.

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