Summary: New beginning in faith
6 With what shall I come before the LORD
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”
4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins....” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 And the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.
9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
The Message, Eugene Peterson’s translation of the Bible, heads this section of Matthew’s Gospel with the words, “Who needs a doctor?”
But before we get to the part where Jesus actually asks that question and gives us the obvious answer that it is the sick who need the doctor, Matthew tells us about Jesus healing a paralyzed man and of how He calls a tax collector into His service.
In both instances the so-called religious authorities are scandalized by these actions of Jesus. In the first instance He tells the paralyzed man that his sins are forgiven and the authorities are disgusted at this blasphemy. When He later tells the man to take up his bed and walk, the crowd is filled with awe and offer praises to God.
In the second case, Jesus calls Matthew, who is a tax collector, to be His disciple and then goes for dinner at Matthew’s house. The religious authorities are scandalized once more – “why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
And then, finally, we get to Jesus’ question, “Who needs a doctor?” And He answers His own question, “Surely not the healthy, it is the sick who need the doctor!”
But who is sick?
Is it the paralyzed man?
Is it the tax collectors and sinners gathered at Matthew’s house?
OR, is it those self-righteous people who question the right of Jesus to act as He pleases in the announcing of His Kingdom?
…….And that is exactly what He is doing …
Jesus is announcing the Kingdom of God.
In declaring forgiveness of sins for those paralyzed – not just in their bodies but in their lives.
When the circumstances of life have totally hemmed them in so that they can no longer move.
Paralyzed by a string of bad decisions, unintended words, careless sin ….
When life has become such a compromise of choices that it seems that God no longer cares ….