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Summary: A look at role of church as a hospital, to provide healing touch for wounded hearts and dying souls.

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RBBH (River Boulevard Baptist Hospital)

Joke: A fellow walked into a doctor’s office. The receptionist asked him what he had.

He said, "Shingles."

She took down his name, address, medical insurance number and told him to have a seat.

A few minutes later a nurse’s aid came out. She asked him what he had.

He said, "Shingles."

So she took down his height, weight, a complete medical history and told him to wait in the examining room.

Ten minutes later a nurse came in. She asked him what he had.

He said, "Shingles."

So she gave him a blood test, a blood pressure test, an electrocardiogram. She told him to take off all his clothes and wait for the doctor.

Fifteen minutes later the doctor came in. The doctor asked him what he had.

He said, "Shingles."

The doctor examined him and found nothing. He asked, "Where are the shingles?"

He said, "Outside in the truck. Where do you want them?"

Matt. 9:12 “When He heard this, Jesus replied, Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.”

Have any of you seen the movie “Patch Adams”? Robin Williams plays Patch Adams. Patch’s desire is to be a doctor. He begins his internship at a university hospital. There are doctors there who are treating diseases. They see patients. But Patch treats people. He sees hurting people. He shows compassion and mercy.

In Matt 9:9, we read: “As Jesus was going down the road, he saw Matthew sitting at his tax collection booth.”

Tax collectors had a reputation for being crooked agents. They were considered the enemy. They were Jews who worked for the Roman government, collecting taxes. They took a commission on the taxes they collected. And what a commission! They overcharged the people and pocketed the difference. The Jews hated tax collectors. They considered them cheaters and traitors. On the social scale, tax collectors were at the bottom. They were barred from worshiping in the synagogue. They had no social or religious life. They had few friends. When everyone else saw Matthew, they saw a tax collector.

But, when Jesus saw Matthew, he was a man, a man needing a healing touch. Jesus showed compassion on Matthew. He said “Follow me Matthew. If you look back in the book of Matthew to the events leading up to this story, you will see Jesus’ ministry up to this point. He had called some disciples. He was preaching and teaching about God. He was healing people, of “every kind of sickness and disease”. Jesus had healed epileptics, the demon-possessed, lepers, and a paralyzed man. Jesus had healed Peter’s mother in law. Matt 8:16 states “He healed all the sick.” The news about Jesus had spread. Jesus’ ministry was well underway BEFORE He called Matthew. Why Matthew? Jesus had compassion on Matthew. He knew with the right touch, there was hope for Matthew.

Matthew got up immediately and followed Jesus. He left everything-great wealth and power. Without hesitation, he arose and followed Jesus. Matthew was hungry for healing for his wounded heart. That night, Jesus and disciples went to Matthew’s house for a dinner party. All of Matthew’s friends were there. There were fellow tax collectors, drinking buddies, prostitutes. The New Living Bible describes these guests as “many other notorious sinners.”

The Pharisees were watching Jesus. They followed and hounded him like new reporters do people these days. The Pharisees saw Jesus heal a paralyzed man. They heard His teachings. And that very day, they saw Jesus ask an outcast to be one of his disciples. They thought they were the righteous ones. Yet, Jesus asked someone like Matthew to be a disciple. The Pharisees trailed Jesus all the way to Matthew’s house. They asked the disciples “Why does YOUR teacher eat with Tax collectors and sinners?” They were stating, “What kind of person is He anyway? Just look at the people he hangs out with-the scum of the earth. And HE’S your teacher? Religious people don’t associate with likes of them. We don’t!”

But no one was beyond Jesus’ compassion, his grace, his mercy. Jesus reached out to the hurting people. He reached out to hurting people like Zacchaeus. In fact, Jesus asked to go to Zac’s house, didn’t he? It wouldn’t be surprising if it wasn’t His idea to go to Matthew’s house, too. “Matthew, let’s have dinner at your house tonight. I want to meet your friends.” Jesus cared about people that no one else cared about. But oftentimes we are like the Pharisees, aren’t we? We are a bit more cautious and much more selective. Jesus heard the Pharisees’ question. I am sure they wanted him too. People do that, don’t they? We ask questions like that, hoping that the person we are talking about will hear our words, hear our disapproval and our disgust. But Jesus didn’t’ need to hear their words. He knew what was in their hearts. He also knew the pain that was in Matthew’s heart. Jesus said “Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do’

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