9 As Jesus continued on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at a kiosk for collecting taxes. He said to him, “Follow me,” and he got up and followed him. 10 As Jesus sat down to eat in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners joined Jesus and his disciples at the table.
11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 When Jesus heard it, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. 13 Go and learn what this means: I want mercy and not sacrifice. I didn’t come to call righteous people, but sinners.” Matthew 9:9-13, CEB
(We’re in the middle of a series on sacrifice for people in recovery that starts on Day 1. Get caught up or you may feel lost. The first five days are the groundwork, then the real fun starts.)
From yesterday: “If the ‘healthy people’ are simply the people who think they are healthy, then the sick people are the people who know that they need a doctor.”
Why is this important?
It speaks, again, I think, to the importance of earnest faithfulness. Pursuing God’s vision for life is something that can only be done from a place of genuine, humble submission (see Steps 1-3*). We cannot pursue God’s vision for life when we believe that we can be in total control like the people in Hosea, or like those who are healthy and, therefore, not in need of a doctor. It is when our need for God is revealed to us (the acknowledgment of our illness), that we can be given a new identity: as people who, as a community, can do this thing called “faithful loving mercy.” When we are aware of our need for God to give us a new self, we are open to receiving the gift of mercy from him which, in turn, allows us to be the kind of people who can sacrifice genuine-ly. More on this tomorrow.
*Here are Steps 1-3 for those who don’t know them:
1. We admitted we were powerless over our dependencies – that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.