The Parable of the Great Physician Made Simple – Matthew 9:10-13
I have to laugh because when I saw the title of this parable, I didn’t even know what it was. So I’ve turned my Bible to where the sheet of paper said the parable was found. And that’s been my sermon preparation. If you ever wonder how much preparation I’ve done, it’s been many years of walking with Jesus. Most of these teachings I am doing on the parables of Jesus have been being preached with no reading or commentary or anything but with life experience and time meditating over the Bible and the parables and the teachings of Jesus and a life-long relationship with Jesus. Added to that is when you come to a sermon where you’ve got no preparation that leaves a lot of room for the Holy Spirit to use your mouth. When people see some of my simple teachings and call them profound and rich and deep, all glory has to go to God, because it’s not Matthew that’s doing it. Matthew is just a simple person. If you find him very deep, that’s the Holy Spirit in the same way that Jesus used to be.
I find it interesting sharing the parables of Jesus because he used to share parables because they did not really give you the meaning. You got to go and search for the knowledge of the meaning. So here we go. This is about the great physician.
“And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Have you ever had a tooth that had major decay in it? Some of my teeth, I have to confess, aren’t there anymore. An infection got into my teeth from tooth decay so bad, that when I got to the dentist because my mouth was aching and I couldn’t get to sleep without painkillers. The dentist said it’s going to be a major root canal which would cost $950, or we got to pull your tooth out. Myself, being a poor person who has lived a life of addiction and lived a life of poverty have always opted for them to pull the tooth out. Luckily, I’m on the government pension now and dental work doesn’t cost me anything. So when my teeth get that bad, I just say, “Pull it out.”
Now, let me ask you this question, when you’ve got a rotten tooth and the pain is unbearable, do you seek out the dentist when you’ve got the means and opportunity to pay the dentist? If you haven’t got a pension like me, and it costs $250 to get the tooth out and you had that $250, would you willingly pay it to the dentist to rip that tooth out and stop that pain? Would you? Do you? What about when you got a headache? Do you reach for a painkiller to stop the headache? What about if you got a migraine? What if you get a rash on your skin? Don’t you get a skin cream and put it on? When we’re sick, we seek out a doctor. When we’ve got the solution to our sickness, which is cold and flu tablets and basic cough medicines and stuff, we don’t seek out a doctor because we’ve already got answers. When our sickness gets to a stage that we can’t handle it, we seek out a doctor. Now, that’s hard sometimes for people in America, if they haven’t got medical insurance because doctors can be expensive and so can medicine. But here in Australia, you can basically get everything for free, almost, if you’re desperate enough.
So, bearing that all in mind, Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.”
The Pharisees were people who had an idea, a very, very good idea, of what the Lord said in the Old Testament Law. Then they had a whole lot of other rules and regulations in some sort of book which were all the rules that were required to be abide to fulfill the Law. Now, The Pharisees wrote those rules and conditions in such a way that it was very hard for some people to do those things. But the Pharisees sort of prided themselves in their own self-righteousness. They fasted. They tithed. They sacrificed. That’s what Jesus brings up later. Essentially, they all thought they were all nice, clean and holy and righteous and pure and clean. They weren’t unclean. They were perfect in the sight of God. So they were feeling really good.
For Jesus to sit with a real sinner, someone who is blatantly sinning, Jesus a holy rabbi no less, sitting down with the scum of the earth, was just an offense to them. It was a stench in their nostrils. It really annoyed them, so much so that even in Jesus’ presence they complained of his choice. The scripture records:
“Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.”
So Jesus walks in to this house wherever that house and right away he has a whole lot of tax collectors and sinners sit down to eat a meal with him and enjoy his company.
Let me say this in another way that we could understand in today’s setting. Imagine Jesus was with us today.. Jesus went and sat down in this certain house, wherever the house is. He sat down. Then a whole lot of politicians, a whole lot of drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes and pedophiles came down and sat down with Jesus and started to break bread and have dinner with him and tell jokes.
Isn’t that offensive to you? Is that offensive?
How about, if I come around to your house. You are having an open air barbecue. I’ve just sat down. Imagine that I’m an international public speaker. I’m an international speaker of the Gospel. I’ve got 250 speaking engagements every year. I’m in your City. I’ve been invited around to your house for a barbecue to meet you and spend some time with you. And when I get there, all the local pimps, prostitutes, gays, homosexuals, drug addicts and drug lords, and known pedophiles, child sex offenders, and slave trade people arrive to greet me and join me for your barbeque. They all gate crash the party and sit down and say, “Hey Matthew, we’ve seen you on You Tube. You’re so cool, man. Can we sit down here and have lunch?”
What if they gate crashed your party? How would you feel? Maybe you’re not like the Pharisees. Maybe you’re a beautiful Christian. In your daily life, you’re mixing with prostitutes and drug dealers and homosexuals and street kids and mentally ill people and you should handle these sort of people at your party.
I live in a community. My church is a community of people like that. These aren’t offensive people to me. In fact, it’s hard for me to get on with Christians sometimes. It’s a lot easier to get on with sinners. Jesus was the same way.
Imagine if Jesus had said to the Pharisees on that day ” These people are sick. They’ve got a spiritual toothache. They need someone to do a root canal for them or they need someone to pull this tooth. Why are you getting on my case? They’re the ones that need some help. You don’t care. They’re written off as sinners and tax collectors. They’re scum of the earth to you. You won’t lift a finger to help them with their sin or make them more righteous or help them obey the Law. You just reject them outright. I’m not going to reject them. They need the truth. They’ve got a toothache, can’t you see? They’re messed up. They need some answers. You’re the guys with all the answers. You obey the law perfectly. You’re not sick. But they need a physician.
So, go and learn what this means. I desire mercy not sacrifice. I don’t want your fast 2 days a week. I don’t want you to throw your coins into the poor box and make a big loud ring.”
The poor box used to have a big circle and you could place your hand down into the poor box like this really quietly and drop the coin in the bottom. Or you could throw your coin in and it would make a big “Clang! Clang! Clang!”
The Pharisees, the righteous and the religious are people of that day. people bound up with religion and self-righteousness; They used to get their coins and go bang and make a clang. And everyone would turn around and say, “Oh, he just
gave some money.”
Jesus said, when you give your alms, don’t sound the trumpet. Don’t make that big clang that was called sounding the trumpet. Don’t do that. Don’t let your right arm know what you’re left arm is doing.
So the Pharisees used to sacrifice their money. They used to sacrifice their herbs. They used to do all the sacrifices. They used to give all their lambs. They used to pay their herb tithes. They used to do the first fruits offerings. They used to do everything perfect. They’d fast. They’d do all these sacrifices to be righteous. But they’re all works. They’re all works of the flesh.
But Jesus said, “I desire mercy and compassion.”
You see dear reader. The people of Australia pass a heroin addict, someone who’s putting up a needle up their arm, and have no mercy on them. Do you know that 82% of Australians who have got a heroin addiction had been sexually abused as a child? They need help. I’m not sure you understand what it feels like to be molested by someone 20 years older than you. I understand what that is like. It seriously messes with your head.
When you are:
Living in bisexual relationships; Living in addictions to prostitutes; Living in addictions to pornography; Living in addictions to alcohol; It seriously messes your head up.
It takes a lot of work, a lot of help, a lot of counseling, a lot of understanding to get you healed up and into a condition where I am now. And I’ve still got pain and hurt that needs to be fixed with and dealt with.
Jesus says have mercy on people like Matthew. Don’t condemn them and don’t write them off as a sinner. This is the first time I’ve been so frank in this collection of parables that I’m doing on video and as a series of articles that will be published into a book. But it serves this parable well for you to know that I’ve used the services of prostitutes for 20 years in my past. How many times did I sin then? I’ve slept with men. I’ve done all sorts of bad things. And here I am, sharing that I’m out of that. I am not doing that anymore.
And yet God’s still using me. That’s because Jesus had mercy on me. That’s because Jesus had mercy on me. He’s still the same. He’s still laying on his love. He’s still loving up on all the hurting and broken in the world. He wants you to do that. He doesn’t want you to condemn all those sinners.
We look at this parable and think to ourselves how bad the Pharisees were for condemning Jesus, and yet if we are honest, truly honest with ourselves, we just do not think that people practicing addictions and sexual sins should be allowed to fellowship with all of us clean righteous church goers.
We spend time in the Bible, we spend time at church and Bible studies and we spend our money giving to the work of the Lord. We make all these sacrifices and we think we please God. But God calls all of these things living under self righteousness. Jesus wants us to show mercy to the broken and hurting as well as sacrificing in the aforementioned way. He wants us to be the doctors to the people with pain and suffering and heal their emotional and spiritual lives up through the power of the Holy Spirit and His wisdom.