Who needs a doctor?
I wonder how Matthew's day started when he met Jesus. It must have been like any other day filled with habitual routines to get ready for a normal day. Walking from his home was probably the same old same old; he had done it countless times. Was Matthew aware he had the disease of "being despised" and that he lived as one who was "despised?" I am sure that in the early years during the onset he knew. As time went on, the despising stares and abusive hecklings were just part of the normal routine as he walked through the streets to his tax booth and back home. Had he become so hardened to them that they became part of the noise of the market place?
Diseases of the soul eventually become so enmeshed in our lives that we cannot tell the difference between healthy and sick. We become blind to them, and so do those around us. You are what you are, and you will be as you are. The disease is subtle, it also affects the so called healthy. The label of "despised" is never attached by the one who is despised, it is attached by the "healthy" and so both need healing.
It should never surprise us that we find Jesus dining with the despised: tax collectors, sinners and prostitutes and Pharisees. Someone has to find us and heal us. That healing happened at the Cross and the Resurrection. Its power is so great that it shatters the strongest shackles and changes the worst of us all. I am sure Matthew could say that when he looked back on that day Jesus said; "come follow me."
As we go about our day; we will interact with people we like, some we will simply walk past and others we will even cross over the road so as not to be on the same side. The Church is called to be a redemptive community healed from seeing "despised," to seeing people who need Jesus. He became despised and rejected for the despised and rejected. Our joy is to introduce those with the disease of despised to The Doctor who can heal what no man can do. We have no excuse not to; for once we were alienated, despised and rejected, by both man and God. How do we do it? Where do we do it? Just like Jesus, out in the market place where the despised are gathered.
Make a conscious decision to talk to one person this week that is seen by society as despised, you may find that a conversation about Jesus may just come up.
|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. 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?" On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. (Matthew9:9-12)|
Royden Blackwell is husband to Sue. They have four boys, Luke, Joel, Caleb and Samuel. Royden serves as minister at St Andrews Benoni and is also Moderator of Highveld Presbytery. When he is not working, he hugs aeroplanes (literally), loves history and attempts to prove to his boys that he is still capable to wrestling them (afterwards he finds a quiet place to have a gentle weep and take anti-inflammatories) (Royden is a member of the MaD Committee)