And Jesus answered and said to them, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.Luke 5:31(NASB)
The Holy Spirit of God was upon the Lord Jesus Christ Who was sent by the Father to bring good news to those that were afflicted. He came to bind up the broken-hearted, proclaim liberty to captives, to declare freedom to prisoners, and to pour out the Lord's favour on all who trust in Him.
Jesus came to comfort all who mourn... and to adorn each one with a glorious garland of beauty instead of ashes. He came to offer the oil of gladness to those who were mourning and to clothe them in a mantle of praise, instead of being covered in a spirit of fainting. Jesus came so that God would be exalted, and His name would be praised and glorified.
It was early in His ministry when the incarnate Son of God started to choose certain men to be His disciples, many of whom would be used of God to pen the Scriptures for our learning.
Levi, who was also called Matthew, was one such individual called by the Lord to, "follow Me." He was not a righteous man, but a sinner in need of salvation. He was a Jewish employee of Rome, hired to gather crippling taxes from his downtrodden countrymen. Matthew was probably a man who cheated many people - as was the habit of those money-grabbing tax-gatherers, in the days of Christ.
Matthew was a man who fell within many of the categories that Jesus came to save. He came to save sinners that were afflicted, those who were heart broken, and ones who were shattered in spirit and soul. He came to help the down-trodden, heal those that were captives of the greedy sin nature, and free those imprisoned by Satan, death, and hell.
Jesus ate and drank with prostitutes, tax-gathers, and sinners, because they were in need of salvation. Jesus came to save those that were lost in sin. He had not come to call those that were righteous in their own eyes, but sinners to repentance. Jesus came to save sinners who recognised their sinfulness and realised their need of salvation. Jesus came to call sinners to repentance - and Matthew was one such sinful man.
And so it was that when Jesus passed by, He noticed Levi, a tax official, sitting in his little tax booth, and said to him, "follow Me." And immediately, he left everything behind and got up and began to follow Jesus. Levi was so happy that he gave a big reception for the Lord in his home, and a great crowd of tax gatherers and other sinful people joined them joyfully.
Together, these sinners reclined at the table with Jesus and found salvation for their soul. What an irony that this sinner, who was so despised by his countrymen, should become the disciple that the Lord chose to pen the first New Testament book - the God-breathed, Gospel of Matthew.
However, the Pharisees and Scribes started grumbling at the disciples and derided them by asking, "Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?" It was then that Jesus answered these legalistic religionists, who were so self-righteous in their own eyes, with these astonishing words, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick." Jesus had not come to call those that are righteous, but sinners to repentance.
What an irony! Jesus came to save ALL men... for all have sinned. Jesus came to save the cheating tax-collector and the proud Pharisee, for ALL are sinners and all fall short of God's glory. All are in need of forgiveness of their sin - Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, black and white, old and young, tax-collector and philanthropist.
All are sick with the disease of sin and all need to be healed... but those who refuse to recognise their sinfulness and need of salvation, are the only ones He cannot save... "for he who believes is not condemned, but he who has not believed in Christ is condemned already." Because such a man is not honest enough or sufficiently humble to recognise that he is a lost sinner in need of salvation, "he is condemned, because he will not believe in the only begotten Son of God."
Heavenly Father, there are many in that need Your healing hand upon their lives. Thank You that You came to heal the broken-hearted and set the captives free from their bondage of sin. Father, I pray that many would recognise their brokenness and diseased lives and admit their need of Your touch upon their lives. Thank You that Christ died to pay the terrible price for our sin and that through His blood we are healed and made whole. Use me to share this good news with those with whom I come in contact today. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.