Biblically, Logically, Personally
September 12, 2020
Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners (Matthew 9:12-13).
Jesus said, wisdom is justified by her deeds (Matthew 11:19). By that He meant those who follow wisdom are wise; they understand the motives behind certain actions and approve of them.
In responding to the criticism of the Pharisees for attending Matthew’s dinner party with ‘low-life riffraff’, Jesus gave a brief parable that has a three-fold argument. The first argument is logical: Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. If a person is morally and spiritually sound, then he doesn’t need Jesus or the righteousness He offers in salvation. But if a person is morally and spiritually sick, then he does need Jesus and the righteousness He offers in salvation. It was a stinging jab at the hypocritical Pharisees who said they had such righteousness, and who condemned those who didn’t.
The second argument is biblical: Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” This is a quote from Hosea 6:6. “Go and learn what this means” incensed the Pharisees who used this phrase to rebuke ignorant students. It was Jesus’ way of telling them they were ignorant of the very Scriptures they professed to master. But the point is clear - the truly righteous child of God will be merciful and forgiving, not judgmental and condemning. This again was a stinging indictment of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees who believed themselves to be righteous when in fact their righteousness was but polluted rags.
The third argument is personal: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. The Pharisees drew attention to themselves and their piousness. Jesus drew attention to the Kingdom of God. The Pharisees condemned sinners. Jesus came to save sinners. The Pharisees didn’t believe they needed Jesus. The sinner does. Both do.
In the broad spectrum of religious pluralism in our culture, it is the task of the Christian and the Christian church to make clear the Gospel of Jesus biblically, logically, and personally. God is not interested in man’s religion - it cannot save anyone. God is interested in man’s personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Our righteousness is just that - our righteousness, and it is woefully insufficient to grant us entrance into the Kingdom of God. Our only hope of salvation and eternal life is to be clothed in the righteousness only Jesus Christ provides.
“Father, help me open the eyes of the spiritually blind to the truth of Jesus Christ. Let me never accept a person’s religious profession as a testimony of true faith in Jesus Christ. In all of my associations and ministries help me to be biblical, logical, and personal so that people will see and hear Jesus in and through me, and be drawn to Him whom to know is eternal life. Amen.”