Matthew 9 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“While He was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came as guests to eat with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when He heard this, He said, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn't come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13
A few days before I moved to California, I saw my (soon to be) new boss on Larry King Live. Just before a commercial break, Larry figured he’d catch Pastor Greg Laurie on a trick question. Larry asked, “Greg, isn't religion just a crutch?”
Pastor Greg quickly retorted “Larry, for me it’s not just a crutch. It’s a whole hospital!”
What’s up with Messianic communities, that so many have lost their perception of being a hospital? Is it wrong to enter a hospital and admit you need care? So, why are people afraid to approach their congregation in a similar way? We praise the hospital triage staff for quickly diagnosing our condition and immediately rushing us into treatment. So, why do congregations have this stigma about diagnosing a sin issue, and promptly suggesting a proper course of discipleship?
The Pharisees were in denial. They ministered in the synagogue more than anyone, yet they denied their own need for inner healing. “How could the ‘doctors’ need medical attention?” was their attitude. Doctors? They couldn't heal themselves, much less others. Yet, they criticized Yeshua for healing, and associating with patients they dismissed as untreatable…or uninsured, as it were.
Before the Great Physician will heal us, we must humbly present ourselves for His diagnosis. Then, we must trust His prognosis and submit to His plan of treatment, which will lead to our wellness. I once had a doctor prescribe me medicine and say, “Take every pill.” The moment I felt better, I quit the prescription…only to get sick again.
In today’s passage, Yeshua made a house call. Matthew risked his personal reputation in order to 1) Show his friends that he was (spiritually) healed, and 2) Introduce his (spiritually) ill friends to Messiah. Yeshua honored that risk.
The Messianic community is supposed to be a spiritual hospital, its members acting as paramedics. We are called to seek and to serve the lost & needy. We exist to search-out the sick & dying, share our stories of crisis & healing, and bring the people back to the “hospital” for ongoing care & community.
~Steve Wiggins, Assistant Rabbi
Daily Devotional, Sunday, April 28, 2013