Matthew 9:12

Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 9:12

“But when Jesus heard this, He said, it is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” – Matthew 9:12 

When Jesus called Matthew, a tax collector, to follow Him, he took Jesus to his home and provided a feast for Him.  There were also many others there with them.  “Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples.” Matthew 9:10. Now tax collectors were considered horrible people by the Jews for several reasons.  First, many times they would collect more than was due as a payment to themselves, but more terrible than that was that the money they collected went to Rome and not the Jewish leaders.

Now Pharisees arrived at the dinner as well.  “When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, why is your teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” Matthew 9:11. In essence, what they were asking the disciples was, ‘You call this man the Messiah, the promised one of David.  You say He is a great man and yet, He eats with all these sinners and tax collectors.  Why would He fellowship with them?’  In those days, eating and drinking with others denoted an intimacy and a familiarity with those you partake of food and drink with.  The Pharisees, by asking their question was accusing Jesus of seeking fellowship with these people, these tax collectors, sinners, and wicked people.  What we can deduce from what they said is that there is no way Jesus could be righteous if He delighted in the company of these hideous people.

According to Jewish tradition, not the Law but their traditions, it was sinful to fellowship with sinners.  Jesus heard what they said.  The disciples did not need to tell Him, for He was aware of their words, and I am sure their hearts.  “But when Jesus heard this, He said, It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” Matthew 9:12. This is our focus verse.  What He was saying was, not everyone needs a doctor, only those who were sick.  Of course, the Pharisees were sinners as much as anyone else.  However, as Pharisees, they thought they were already pure and holy, because they followed the law and all the traditions of Judaism.  And since they believe such, they believed they did not need His help or aid.  And He clarified what He said with these words, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13. Again, those He declares righteous in this verse are those who believe they are and do not believe they need forgiveness.

We are called to go to all who are sick and show them Jesus, the one who came to heal them of their sickness, that being sin.  This is why He came, to show this to all who understood their predicament or believe when they are advised of it.  Reach out to the sinners and do not ignore or shy away from them. Reach out to those who need and are open to hear the gospel; no matter who they are and what they have done.  If we are to be like Jesus, then we must reach out to such as He did.  This is our calling.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Mark 2:17

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Mark 2:17 

“And hearing this, Jesus said to them, it is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17 

Jesus again went out to the Sea of Galilee. “And He went out again by the seashore; and all the multitude were coming to Him, and He was teaching them.” Mark 2:13. In this, Jesus was fulfilling the purpose of His coming. “And He said to them, Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, in order that I may preach there also; for that is what I came out for.” Mark 1:38. God the Father sent Jesus here to show the world the truth. “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life and might have it abundantly.” John 10:10. Therefore, when there were people interested in hearing what He had to say, He spent time with them, Note the end of the above verse. “and all the multitude were coming to Him, and He was teaching them.”

Now, as He was walking He sees Levi, also known as Matthew. “And as He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax office, and He said to him, Follow Me! And he rose and followed Him.” Mark 2:14. This was no doubt where the first toll station would have been found for those coming from across the sea. This particular station was probably set up to gather taxes to be given to the Roman leader Herod Antipas. Levi was an official of the Jewish client-king Herod and was not a Roman tax collector. However, they were probably hated as much as those of the Romans, and for the same reasons. Their dishonesty was well known, using intimidation as well as force to collect them. Furthermore the Herodian rulers were at best semi-Jews and were hated as much as the Roman governors. And when Jesus calls him to follow Him, there was no hesitation. He immediately left and followed Him.

Now after the above, Jesus had a meal with Levi at his home. “And it came about that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax-gatherers and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him.” Mark 2:15. Because of Levi’s conversion,  he prepared a meal in which Jesus was invited, along with many other tax collectors along with those who were seen as sinners by the Jews. Now, needless to say this was not taken well by the scribes and Pharisees. “And when the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax-gatherers, they began saying to His disciples, Why is He eating and drinking with tax-gatherers and sinners?” Mark 2:16. Today, we do not understand just how outrageous it was for Jesus to associate with outcasts. In ancient Jewish society, fellowshipping at a table was one of the most intimate expressions of friendship. This was why the religious leaders could not understand how Jesus, whom they considered a religious person, would share a meal with such awful people. In fact, they were offended and disgusted that Jesus would not just speak to them but dine with them.

Now the Pharisees were speaking to Jesus’ disciples, and Jesus overheard their words. “And hearing this, Jesus said to them, it is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17. What He is saying is that He did not come to minister to the healthy but the sick. And He is referring to their sinful ways. He came here for those who know they are sinners and desire to be forgiven and made whole. But those who believe they are righteous because they do the works they believe make them righteous believe they do not need what Christ offers. The Jewish leadership: Pharisees and Sadducees, and the Scribes believed they were righteous because they believed they followed the Law as God desired. What they did not understand is that man is ‘sick’ if they sin but once. And this applied to all people.

There are many in this world who need to accept the truth of the gospel. And these are the ones who need to hear the message of Christ. We are called to go out to the sick and lost to declare the truth. “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” Mark 16:15-16. Those who are called the ‘sick’ are the ones who are unsaved. And they can only be healed if they recognize their situation and give themselves to Christ. There are many who believe they are healed but have never accepted Christ. But also, we must be willing to go out and present this truth to all who are willing to hear it. For as the Apostle Paul said, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:13-15. Let’s go out to the sinners and unsaved, no matter who they are, and help them be healed of their sinful life via the blood of Christ.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, for their