Thoughts on Matthew 9:9-13 and the fourth article in the series, How to be a Biblically “woke” Christian
There are many who believe universal healthcare should be a fundamental right for all people. The Bible does in fact teach us that not only do all people need healthcare, it also teaches it should be free for all people regardless of nationality or social status. It’s time for Christians to get woke to this fact. Matthew’s account of his calling by Jesus includes the clearest mandate in Scripture for Christians to support free healthcare for all.
Matthew’s calling was not that much different than how Jesus called his other disciples, or how he calls us today. “Follow me” are the imperative words that carry so much more weight than two words seem like they could. The implications of obeying that phrase are massive – being identified with Jesus, for better or for worse, for life and for death, for persecution and salvation. Matthew says that at those words, “he rose and followed [Jesus].”
The very next thing Matthew does is invite his friends to his house to meet Jesus to receive the free healthcare they so desperately needed. It’s important to note two things here. The first is that Matthew didn’t wait until he had read through a systematic theology book or attended an evangelism course. Rather, he simply called his friends to come and meet Jesus. Let that be an encouragement to any Christian who thinks they are unqualified to share the Gospel with others. Over and over what we see in the Bible are people who encounter Jesus and immediately go and share with others “how much Jesus had done for [them].”
The second thing to note, which flows into the final point, is that Matthew didn’t immediately and completely disassociate himself with all the people he knew from his “before Christ” life. Granted, I know from personal experience there are certain people who are such negative influences in our lives that we must cut ties in our process of repentance. However, that does not mean we jump into the life boat and drift off in safety while ignoring the plight and peril of the very people we know need to also be saved. Matthew knew his fellow tax collectors and “sinner” friends needed to hear from Jesus as well, so he invited them to where they could encounter Jesus and his offer of healing from what ailed them the most – sin and death.
When it comes to sharing the Gospel of Jesus with unsaved people, Christians are their own worst enemies. Like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, many of us are content associating with other people who look, act and talk just like we do – and refuse to sully ourselves, figuratively and sometimes literally, by being close to the very people who need to know the love of God. We, myself included, need to repent of this pride and laziness and be intentional about maintaining/building relationships with the “sick” of this world who need to know the “Great Physician,” too.
We need to step outside our comfort zones and be among people who don’t look like us, talk like us, see the world like us, vote like us, or believe like us. Christians need to stop being social media warriors hiding behind the anonymity of cyberspace who point fingers and digitally “yell” at unsaved people for acting like unsaved people and get their hands dirty. We need to get to know people and their struggles. We need to actually be the hands and feet of Jesus. As our pastor says, they need to “experience the love of God through the love of his people.” They need to experience what it is to receive mercy, ultimately from God, but also, and sometimes first, from those who claim to carry God’s name. I don’t think God is pleased when his people try to offer the “sacrifices” of their self-righteousness and assumed holiness when they, like the Pharisees, despise the very people to whom Christ came to offer universal, eternal healthcare.