“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” 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.'[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13 (NIV)
I love Jesus’s style. I love that he didn’t just preach about what to do, he demonstrated it. I love that he actually went to Matthew’s house and ate dinner with his not-so-reputable friends. I love that Matthew was not ashamed of Jesus in front of his friends, and that his friends were willing to have dinner with Jesus. I can just picture Jesus having a great time with these people. I see the Pharisees saying “OK, we’ve got him now! What man of God would have dinner with this crowd?” But Jesus is right there with an answer. He tells them that it’s the sick that need a doctor, so He is in the right place! He also gives them a Scripture to study for homework, reminding them that God desires mercy from them.
In my life, I need to figure out how I can relate to the “sick” around me and truly engage with them. If I was like Jesus then many of these people would want to be with me and be willing to listen. What a privilege! However, I also need to figure out how not catch their illness! Somehow I think it is more difficult than washing my hands, eating right and getting enough sleep. Arming myself with the Word of God, prayer, and obedience are a good start. Right now, I think I’m better at engaging with the world then protecting myself…
Lord, I realize that even when I don’t feel sick that I truly am in need of the Great Physician. Forgive me. Heal my illnesses, both those with tangible symptoms that I can sense and those festering inside that I don’t even realize are there. Once healed and forgiven, show me how to be salt and light in such a lost and broken world. Remind me that what you desire from me is mercy, the same mercy that you gave to me.