“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.” For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” (Matthew 9:12-13)
This is a difficult passage. Is Jesus saying that the Pharisees and teachers of the law are righteous in the sight of God and need no Savior? Or is it that their faith is true, and they are children of God, even though their lives are tarnished with sin? Is it then the sinners that Jesus is rubbing elbows with who really need salvation and righteousness?
Did Jesus have to come for those who had a right relationship with God? Of course! He was their Savior, by faith, even though they didn’t know it. It was these, so called, who needed to learn of the mercy of God for all. This would eventually lead to the mission field of the Gentiles.
Jesus has a heart for the sinner. His compassion is boundless. How are we in that area? Do we tend to lean more toward the Pharisee than the merciful? It should always be the case that our heart goes out to the ones farthest from the Lord. They need a Savior and we know who He is. Can we say of ourselves that we are also called to be a witness to the sinner? Yes, that is our calling!
Heavenly Father, help us put first in our mind a concern for the lost. We have not been very good at that. We need Your boldness and guidance to be available for them. In Your wisdom lead us in ministry to sinners in need of Your salvation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.