On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
I moved house recently. I used to live in a flat at the school where I work, but I have now moved into a house in East Grinstead, which belongs to one of my colleagues, and which I share with another colleague. We like to keep it in the family! Having suffered from a recent period of illness, I have been a little bit naughty and not told my GP that I have moved; the thought of having to register with a doctor where I now live and having to explain everything that’s happened seemed like a bit of a nightmare!
It was in the news yesterday, however, that the UK Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, has announced that within a year, it will be possible to register with a doctor anywhere you like, taking away the hassle of having to change doctors when you move house. That could make things a lot easier!
Wherever one sees a doctor, however, it tends to be for a broadly similar reason; illness. I don’t know of anyone who goes to see a doctor when they’re well – that’s probably a sure fire way to get ill!
Jesus recognizes that it is the sick that need a doctor, and uses this to explain why he is associating with social outcasts; it is not the spiritually sound who need to hear Jesus’ words as a matter of life or death, but those whom without Jesus would not hear of the path to salvation. Similarly, it is not those that do not think they need to hear the words of Christ who need to listen to him, but actually those who recognize that they do, and therefore listen carefully to what Christ has said. It is necessary, therefore, to recognize that spiritually, we are all sick. We all need to hear Jesus words, precisely because we all need the salvation that he promises.