© Copyright 2017 John Foll
Are you tired of hurting yourself and others? It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.
“And it happened that as He [Jesus] was reclining at the table in the house, behold many tax-gatherers and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, ‘Why is your Teacher eating with the tax-gatherers and sinners?’ But when He heard this, He said, ‘It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means, 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE, 'for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” Matthew 9:10-13 NASB77.
There are two groups of people referred to by Jesus in this statement, ‘the righteous’ and ‘sinners’. What does the Bible have to say about the righteousness of man? “The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Psalm 14:2-3 NASB. ‘The best of them is like a briar, the most upright like a thorn hedge.’ Micah 7:4 NASB. This is the way many are who say they are a Christian, but don’t have a true conversion and God in their life. But those who see their need will turn to Him for help.
“Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” Jeremiah 8:22 KJV. Why are all of God’s people today not seeking healing from Him? This is God’s message to His people in our day too! There needs to be a balm in Gilead and help from the Great Physician, because many of His people in our day are in as much need of healing from the sickness of sin as they were in Jeremiah’s day and in the day when Jesus was dining with the tax collectors and sinners. Unfortunately because many of His people do not know or care that they are sick and in need of the Great Physician’s help, in need of the balm of Gilead, they have not been healed. If anyone needs healing they must first see that they are sick and in need of help; otherwise there will be no help or healing for them. The tax collectors and sinners in our passage in Matthew 9 received their opportunity of healing from sin from Jesus, and one of them was Matthew the disciple and apostle! See the verse before in Matthew 9:9. These were the sinners who the Pharisees were accusing Jesus of eating with. And at least one of them became Jesus’ loyal disciple, Matthew! How many people have been blessed by the book of Matthew? Aren’t you glad that Jesus ate with the tax collectors and sinners at Matthew’s house? We know that we are. There is hope for you too dear reader!
If someone see’s their need and allows Jesus to heal them from their sickness of sin, He will help them be good. When they have this change wrought in their heart they will have mercy and compassion on others who are still sick and in sin. If you consider yourself to be ‘the righteous’, go and learn what this means, ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE’, if you do not already know it. Hear now what God says here through Hosea the prophet, whom Jesus was quoting from In Mathew 9:13: “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.” Hosea 6:4-7 KJV. God is saying here that He wants His people to have mercy and compassion on others, to desire a true knowledge of Him and His ways of love, and to keep their covenant with Him.
No one can be good or righteous if they are not kind and merciful to others; this is the way God is with mankind! It doesn’t matter what someone says they believe, if they are not kind and merciful to others they are unrighteous! To be a Christian and a disciple of Jesus, all must be kind and merciful to others. When Moses asked God to show him His glory, God said, ‘I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.’ Exodus 33:19 NASB. The King James Version renders this as: “And He [God] said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” Exodus 33:19 KJV. So we see here that God’s glory is His grace, mercy and compassion! But all those who have been shown mercy and compassion by God, because they asked for it from Him, should be grateful for the kindness that He has shown them. This should awaken His love in their heart and sympathy for others who are still trapped in the bondage of sin and addictions. Those who are grateful for the help they have received from Him will have mercy on sinners and will want to help them, instead of tearing them down. This is what Jesus meant when He said ‘Go and learn what this means.’ Those who say that they know Him and are not kind and merciful to others do not really know Him yet, and if they don’t repent they will find themselves shut out from the kingdom of Heaven. See Matthew 5:7, 6:12; John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17; 1 John 4:20; 2:4; Matthew 25:21-40; 7:21-23.
We first heard someone using this text as a promise that God would help them ‘if they were sick’ by a dear brother in Christ. He said that before he met Christ he did a lot of bad things. We believe he was looking for hope that life could be better for him, he was listening to the voice of God. After he started studying the Bible, when he read this text, he knew there was hope for him! He prayed something like this, ‘Dear Lord I am sick, so I need a physician. Jesus came to heal those who are sick. Please heal me!” In his heart he knew that God heard is prayer, because he was sick! And God helped him to become a better person and to stop doing bad things! All who see their sickness can pray to God, and receive forgiveness and healing from sin; and get help to stop doing bad things, just like our dear brother did!
Yes, all those who are ‘sick’ can receive help from the Great Physician if they will plead for His help! Jesus came to help those who are sick, not those who are sick but don’t think that they are! God will not provide healing for someone like this until they see their need and freely ask for His help. He compels none. Those who do not see their great need will not be helped. But there is love and mercy for all those who know that they are sick and are desperate for the help that only the Great Physician can supply.
So there is a balm in Gilead and the Great Physician there to provide healing for all who are sick. Are you sick? Then there is hope for you! If you pray the prayer that my brother prayed above, you will be healed, no matter how bad you are and no matter what you’ve done. Jesus came to call you, Oh sinner, if you would be healed!
May the grace of God be with you all! May you see your need of Jesus and receive healing from all sin!
P. S. Thank you our dear brother for your testimony on this text and your testimony that you knew that God would hear your prayer to Him and help you when you prayed this prayer! How it gave you hope that God would save you because you were sick! We hope that your testimony and this article will be a blessing to others, giving hope to all who are sick and trapped in sin and want to be free! We want all to be delivered from the bondage to sin, all who want it.
Jesus said, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 KJV. So there is hope for all who want it! There is the Physician and the balm of Gilead for all who see their need and want it. No reason anymore to be trapped in sin and guilt, when Jesus came to make all free! Amen.
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