“And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard it, He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13
Most things in life tell us to be perfect. Commercials try to sell us make-up or clothes to look our best. School pushes us to make good grades and be competitive. We’re always told that we’ve got to be the best of the best to be successful. We’re told that unless we’re perfect we won’t find a boyfriend, get a job, make money, be accepted, etc.
I bet you can add more to the list. We spend so much of our time trying to make ourselves perfect in life, but what we often don’t stop to think is that we don’t need to be perfect.
Counter to what we’re told, we don’t have to have life all figured out before good things happen to us. Good things already have happened.
And that’s exactly what Jesus addresses in this passage. When Jesus came to Earth, people had a lot of different ideas about how He was supposed to act and what He was supposed to accomplish. Some people thought He would be a great warrior king who would take the world by storm. Some, like the Pharisees, thought He should act high and mighty and not associate Himself with anyone they considered unclean or low-class.
See, the Pharisees were placing their worth in perfection. A perfection they had to achieve by their own acts. They were so wrapped up in self-righteousness and tried so hard to be perfect that they couldn’t see past their own noses to the real need.
Sometimes we try to be perfect by ourselves too. We think that if we can just get our lives together and make a good appearance, then other people will see how perfect we are and love us.
But here’s the catch. We don’t have to be perfect to be loved. In fact, we don’t have to do anything.
Jesus tells us that he didn’t come to heal those who are well, but those who are sick. Those who aren’t perfect. Jesus came to make us perfect by His grace. He doesn’t want us to sacrifice all of our time, our efforts, our personality in attempting to be perfect. Instead, he extends us grace and mercy and perfection from Himself.
Jesus lived perfectly, but guess what? We’re told in the Bible that his appearance wasn’t much to look at.
I don’t believe that the Bible ever mentions Jesus’ grades, or the type of clothing he wore. Because it’s not those things that made Him perfect. And it’s not those efforts that make us perfect either, but Jesus’ all-encompassing love and affection for us.
In Christ, we don’t have to worry about being perfect because He comes to us just the way we are. He heals us and makes us whole.