Doctors make up one of the most respected segments of our society. And yet some people think they're supposed to be miracle workers, and they get upset when the physician doesn't instantly know what's wrong with them. One thing is for certain: The days of doctors making house calls are long gone.
Except for one. In Matthew 9, Jesus calls Himself a physician as He's making a house call to those who need Him. You see, the world suffers from a sin disease. Every person has it, and no one can cure it except for Jesus. He's a specialist in it, and He has a 100 percent cure rate.
In verse 9, Jesus calls a tax collector named Matthew with these words: "Follow Me." Matthew immediately gets up, leaves his tax booth, and follows Him. And the first thing he does is prepare a feast and invite his friends to meet Jesus (see v. 10).
Matthew wanted to show off his Savior. He wanted to share his faith with his friends. Just as Jesus went out to find Matthew, so Matthew goes out and invites his friends to come over for supper. That's evangelism. (More people will come to a dinner than they will a prayer meeting, and Matthew knew that.)
So Jesus sits and eats with a crowd that is unclean, ritualistically. Verse 10 calls them "tax collectors and sinners." The Pharisees were quick to criticize Him, but Jesus wasn't doing anything sinful. He was sharing His life with them and loving them. The thing that angered the Pharisees was not that these sinners wanted to be with Jesus, but that Jesus wanted to be with them.
For a Jew to associate with a Gentile, especially to eat with one, meant that Jew became one with the Gentile. Thus, Jesus was becoming one with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus answers the Pharisees' criticism with: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick" (v. 12). In other words, "Where else would you find a doctor? They're sick. That's why I'm here. I'm making a house call. I'm here to minister to them."
You see, the gospel is not for good people. The gospel is for bad people who know they are bad and need to come to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and cleansing. People become Christians for the same reason sick people go to a physician for treatment--because they are convinced they need to.
There are people who don't like going to doctors, and others see their symptoms and say, "You ought to go to a doctor." "No, I don't need to." And there are people who won't come to God because they're convinced they don't have a need. They say, "I don't need to come to God. I'm good enough the way I am." People will seek salvation when they know they're lost.
Jesus' reference to "those who are sick" (v. 12) speaks of the Pharisees and their narrow, ritualistic religion. They claimed to be well. They claimed to be righteous. But they were the sickest of all because they did not care for those who were lost. Formalized religion can blind people to their need, making them think they are righteous when they're only self-righteous, cutting off the cure of Christ for their sins.
Nobody is righteous apart from the blood of Christ. "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). There's no hope or help for a person who thinks, "I'm good enough," until they recognize, "I'm a sinner. I need Jesus Christ."
May God help us in our approach to the sin-sick world. May we be a friend to them -- not becoming like them, but loving them, reaching out to them, and bringing them to the Great Physician for healing.