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.”
When Jesus heard it He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
Jesus was eating with tax collectors and sinners, the lowest people in the society. Jesus compared Himself to a physician who goes to those who are sick and need help. Just as Jesus went to those needing healing, these days healthy people go to doctors only when they have need of their services. People who go to multiple doctors regularly and are symptom free because of the drugs they take are not healthy people. Only those who take no drugs, have no sickness, are at a good weight, have energy and can function optimally can say they are healthy and well.
In this account of Jesus’ deeds and words we also see that He was not going to be forced into social custom. He had authority over man-made customs that disregarded the laws of God. We know that Jesus would not disregard God’s laws because He fulfilled the law perfectly (Matt 5:17). Today, we are no longer under the law; we are under the New Covenant of grace. There was nothing wrong with the law; it is not something to be dismissed as irrelevant. It is, rather, to be respected as perfect but at the same time we know that we are not capable of keeping it perfectly. Even if we try to keep the law we will never be good enough to embrace salvation.
Part of the law had to do with sacrifices and the tabernacle – and later the Temple – plus the duties of the priests. Since there is no longer a Temple, and the New Covenant is now in place, these laws no longer apply. However, there are other types of laws that we adhere to every day. We have discovered that they really help us to live better lives. One example is found in Deuteronomy 23:12-13 where the people are told to go outside the camp when they need to relieve themselves and, using a shovel, bury the excrement. Today we don’t go outside to relieve ourselves (although we used to have outhouses) but we do have a complex sewer system that takes excrement away from the cities and towns so people can live healthier lives. Apparently God’s sanitation laws are still in use and very valuable. We would not stand for horses or dogs relieving themselves in the streets without any cleanup… no way.
In Matthew 9 Jesus was following God’s laws but not man’s laws. The laws found in the Old Testament, except those dealing with the Temple and sacrifices, are still valuable for us today. Jesus came for those who were sinners, those who were sick, those who needed deliverance and those who were impoverished. Is it possible that knowing what is said about dietary law (not Kosher law – that is man’s law) and adhering to it could change our health outcome and allow us to live a long, productive, healthy life rather than a shortened life or a long life in misery?
The answer is “yes”. The Bible is not a health book but where it touches on health, food and healing it is absolutely accurate. Jesus came for those who are sick, poor and oppressed. He came to provide everything needed in this life. Not only is it possible to be healed but it is also possible to live a life without colds, allergies, flu and little aches and pains. Living without need of a physician is great and is possible for us… even today.