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Who needs a doctor? Sick people!

February 28, 2022

Daily Scripture

Matthew 9:9-13

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 [Hosea 6:6]. I didn’t come to call righteous people, but sinners.”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Labelling people saves time, but makes it hard to respond flexibly to real people. The “righteous” people of Jesus’ day grouped people like Matthew under the label “tax collectors and sinners.” Yes, tax collectors helped pay the Roman occupiers by collecting taxes (usually excessive) from their fellow Israelites. But Jesus ignored labels, and saw a responsive heart in Matthew. (For another example of his behavior, cf. Luke 7:36-50.) Following his example helps us be more flexible.

  • Matthew was an outcast from respectable society. So imagine the type of friends who came to his house to eat with Jesus! (The Message paraphrased “tax collectors and sinners” in Matthew 9:11 with colorful precision as “crooks and misfits.”) Who might you see as “tax collectors and sinners” in 2022? How do you believe Jesus would treat (and have us treat) those people?
  • When Jesus said, “I didn’t come to call righteous people,” who was he talking about? Was he saying that he actually saw those shocked, outraged Pharisees as “righteous,” or was he just observing the irony that THEY thought they were “righteous”? Is anyone, including you, so righteous that it’s not just as much of a stretch for Jesus to offer you his loving, merciful welcome as it was to offer it to Matthew and his shady friends?

Loving Lord, help me to see others through your eyes that lit with love and compassion at the sight of a “sinner.” Help me to love and serve anyone I can in your name. Amen.

GPS Insights

Kersee Meyer

Kersee Meyer

Kersee is a part of the Resurrection Experience team at the church and works alongside other creative folks to make videos to connect people to community, their faith and God.

Since I can remember, labels have help inform the way I understand myself, others, and the world around me. It started out pretty simple, like “athlete” or “girl scout” (3rd grade was probably my earliest memory of labeling someone). Growing up in youth group, it felt like I always wanted to be labeled as the good Christian student. To this day, I can remember looking up to a student who was a few years older than me. It felt like everyone knew her by that label.

The older I’ve gotten, the more complex labels started to feel and the more pressured I felt to learn about them. I would bet $20 that someone asks me about my Enneagram number at least three to four times a month! Based on conversations I have with people, my number may be a nine, but I have no clue what that means. Someday I’ll Google it.

As a church staff, we all completed the CliftonStrengths assessment. After taking the assessment, we were able to learn our strengths individually and as a team. I remember feeling embarrassed by some of my “strengths.” My strengths include harmony, responsibility, and arranger. I’d look at someone whose strength was “achiever,” and wish so badly that I had that too.

My co-worker and I both had “learner” as a strength. Gallup sends you an in-depth explanation of how each of your top strengths is unique to you. We both had the same label, but I liked his explanation better.

Our labels can be helpful to shape our ideas of ourselves and others, but when we allow it to be our only understanding of someone it becomes a thief that keeps us from seeing who they truly are.

Jesus said he didn’t call the righteous but the sinners. Jesus sees the righteous, but he saw the sinner (like Matthew) as whole, loved, capable.

How are your labels for others limiting you? Labels can be helpful if they open the door to getting to know someone. Jesus is challenging us to look past our beloved labels, good or bad, to truly see one another the way he does.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.