A Savior of sinners

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Matthew 9:9-13

9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” So, he got up and followed him.

10 And while Jesus was reclining at a table in Matthew’s house, see, many tax collectors and sinners had come and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples.

11 And after the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

12 But when Jesus heard the question, he said, “Those who are healthy do not need of a doctor, but those who are sick do.

13 Go and learn what this means, ‘What I want is mercy, and not sacrifice.’[1] For I did not come to recruit the righteous, but to save sinners.”

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A Savior of sinners

Jesus did church all wrong. He did not go out into his community and seek for good, honest, law-abiding, religious folk to add to his disciples. He catered to the seedy, the disreputable, the lowlifes.

When the respectable lot asked his disciples why Jesus hung around the bad apples, they probably shook their heads and said, ‘I honestly don’t know.’ So, they brought the question to Jesus. That was wise.

Jesus answered two ways. First, he quoted a proverb. He said that healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do. By this, he did not imply that those self-righteous Pharisees were healthy. They just did not realize that they were diseased. People who do not see their sickness just keep doing what they do until they drop dead. Symptoms are an indicator of a need. Sins are symptoms of the need for a Savior of sinners. That is why we need to look for broken people to fill our churches.

Then, Jesus quoted from the prophet Hosea. Hosea called on his people to stop playing like they were healthy and return to the LORD, so he could heal them. He wanted them to give God’s mercy a try. God’s mercy is first received from him, and then shared with others. That is what these sinners in Jesus’ day could do, but the Pharisees could not. Our churches are supposed to be hospitals where the patients get better and then turn into nurses under Doctor Jesus, healing others. That is how to do church right.

LORD, help us to get over our own superficial goodness, and share your mercy with a dying world.


[1] Hosea 6:6. See also Proverbs 21:3; Micah 6:6-8.

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About Jefferson Vann

Jefferson Vann is a former Christian missionary who now lives in Williamsburg, Virginia. If your church or small group would like to hear Jeff speak, you can contact him at marmsky@gmail.com -- !
This entry was posted in church, compassion, humility, hypocrisy, Jesus Christ, mercy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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