Wednesday after the Transfiguration of our Lord
Scripture: St. Matthew 9:9-17 (NKJV)
9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. 10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
14 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. 17 Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.”
Everyone feels the sickness of sin within them; unfortunately some just hide it or suppress it better than others. But we are all plagued with the illness of selfishness, inappropriate desires, and hurtful carelessness toward others.
It is a poor physician who says to one who is gravely sick, “You’re fine, just get up and get back to work. Suck it up and earn your keep….” Christ shows mercy to those who are sick. He calls our illness what it is by the wisdom of His Law and teachings. His Word and Spirit make us humble and discerning so that we can faithfully understand that we are sick and dying because of those sins. And then He makes us whole and renews our spirit through the merciful gift of His body, His blood, and His forgiveness.
Furthermore, it is His teaching, wisdom, and Spirit that make us well enough to truly rise up and serve Him, not merely the treating of symptoms with feelings or entertainment. It is dangerous malpractice on the part of His servants who ignore the Word and tell dying sinners that they are not really sick. Others carelessly focus on the symptoms, trying to make people feel better with superficial things like hollow entertainment-worship or self-help placebos.
It is far more beneficial to us, and far more important, that we receive the truly substantial blessing of His whole Word, rightly applied, and His Sacraments of Baptism and the Supper. These are the things that truly make us well and give us everlasting life.
We pray: Lord God, always grant us Your Word and Sacraments so that we may be strengthened and preserved in saving faith in Christ Jesus. Amen.