Summary: We all have a perception of ourselves and others that can often be greater (or lesser) than how others perceive us to be. Most important, however, is our ability to practically learn of God’s TRUE perception of our lives.
Go and Learn What This Means
Theme: Walking as ones in need of being healed from our sins.
A. Our lives are full of perceptions:
1. How we perceive ourselves.
2. How we perceive others.
B. A number of people (with honest hearts) realize – when confronted – the need to be saved and want to
do what is necessary for God’s salvation.
1. They understand that without Jesus they will die in their sins.
2. Thus, like Matthew, they are ready and willing to leave their current walk and follow Him (Jesus).
C. Conversely, many professing Christians who are just like the Pharisees were in Jesus’ day.
1. There are Christians who see themselves without because they are already righteous.
2. These same Christians have difficulty associating with people of the world the way Jesus did.
3. In the end, they need to learn the same lesson that Jesus taught the Pharisees.
I. EXEGESIS OF MATTHEW 9:9-13
A. Matthew: tax collector. V. 9
1. Disloyal Israelites hired by the Romans to tax other Jews for personal profit.1
2. Thus, tax collectors were one of the most despised among the Hebrews in the first century. Matt.
11:19; 18:17; 21:31
B. Matthew: immediate left his (current) life and began following the Savior. V. 9
1. Those who have no urgency regarding their situation are full of excuses. Matt. 8:21-22
2. But, those who truly see their own need follow after the Savior. Matt. 8:23
C. It was with this attitude of hatred that many Pharisees couldn’t understand why Jesus ate with them.
1. With Jesus’ perception of the Pharisees Jesus said “It is not those who are healthy who need a
physician, but those who are sick.” V. 12
2. The lesson he wanted the Pharisees to learn: “I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not
come to call the righteous, but sinners.” V. 13
II. THE PROBLEM OF SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS
A. In their own minds, they are healthy (saved).
1. They are pure/clean/healthy in their own eyes. Cp. Prov. 30:12
2. With this attitude, they may perform the righteous requirements of the law, but their motives are
not pure before God. Prov. 16:2
B. They do not realize that they need to be healed from their self-righteousness.
1. The apostle Paul, after having been converted to the Lord (Acts 22:16), still regarding himself the
chief of sinners. Cp. 1 Tim. 1:15
2. Conversely, the self-righteous do not see themselves this way, but with arrogance regard
themselves as pure in their own eyes.
C. It is to this type of person that Jesus passes on, looking for “sinners” to come follow Him. cp. Matt.
1. MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (ele ctronic ed.) (Mt 5:46). Nashville:
III. LEARNING FROM JESUS
A. Rebuked by the Lord.
1. “Go learn what this means”: a statement of rebuke. Cp. Matt. 12:7
2. Many Christians “look down” upon others yet without the humility, kindness, and love before our
3. They are rebuked because they strive to justify themselves before man and God. Lk. 16:15
B. God teaches us not only to do His will, but to walk humbly before Him.
1. We are not to walk religiously according to the appearances of man, yet inwardly as arrogant and
ungodly. Mic. 6:6-8 (cp. Lk. 18:9-14)
2. Instead we should walk as men in need of the saving grace of God, as did the apostle Paul.
A. Righteousness does not come ultimately by us walking in the light, but from the true source of Light.
B. If we are guilty – as Christians who have been baptized into Christ – of walking as if we do not need
to be healed, then we have lost sight of God’s grace as His children.
C. Instead we – like those who have yet to be immersed with Christ – need to walk with humility in need
of the Physicians healing hand.