• Download

Health and Sickness, Righteousness and Sin (Matthew 9:9-13)

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“Health and Sickness, Righteousness and Sin”

(Matthew 9:9-13)

Series: God’s Fulfilled Promise [on screen]

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida

April 7, 2019

The Passage

Matthew 9:9-13

9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the toll booth, and he said to him, “Follow me,” and he got up and followed him.

10 While he was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came to eat with Jesus and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

12 Now when he heard this, he said, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Introductory Comments:

Illustration: Have you ever noticed that people don’t always obey immediately? Perhaps we reflect upon when we give instructions to our children or grandchildren to do something and they don’t do it immediately. Perhaps we think of ourselves when our parents or teacher ask us to do something and we mope around a bit before we do it. Perhaps we think of our pastor challenging us to handout invite cards for Easter, and we don’t feel comfortable giving someone a card. We don’t always obey right away, do we? We don’t always obey fully, do we?

Well, today we’re going to learn about an apostle, who was called by Jesus and obeyed fully and immediately. We’re going to learn about the man that wrote the Gospel which we have been studying for nearly nine months. We’re going to learn about Matthew. 

We’re going to learn three lessons from Jesus’ encounter with Matthew.  

Before we do, let’s pray together.


This is a very famous story concerning Matthew the tax collector. 

Does anyone know the other name by which Matthew is known? (Levi) He is also known as Levi. 

Matthew, or Levi, was a tax collector. Now, what is a tax collector? Well, a tax collector is someone who collects taxes. 

You see, the Jewish people owed certain taxes to the Jewish religious temple, known as the temple tax. Since they lived under the rule and authority of the Roman empire, they also owed taxes to the Roman government. The taxes to the Jewish temple were relatively small, but the taxes owed to the Roman government were often excessive and burdensome. 

The Romans set-up Jewish tax collectors to collect from their countrymen in order to make sure all of the taxes were paid. This was the system. 

Matthew was one of these guys; he was a tax collector.

Let’s look at three lessons from Jesus’ encounter with Matthew. 

The first lesson we’re going to learn is . . .

I. What it means to followJesus (9) [on screen]

Look again at verse 9. 

9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the toll booth, and he said to him, “Follow me,” and he got up and followed him.

Notice the immediate obedience of Matthew. Jesus said, “Follow me,” and Matthew simply followed Him.

Luke recorded this event in his gospel account as well and he says that Matthew left everything in order to follow Jesus. 

Matthew didn’t waste any time, or hold anything back. He followed Jesus!

Compare this to the warnings that Jesus gave us in Matthew 8:18-22.

Think back with me. Jesus said what was required to follow Him: immediate obedience and willingness to sacrifice. Remember? Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. Also, let the dead bury the dead, but follow me now. These are things that Jesus said concerning what it means to follow Him!

Matthew is living out this kind of obedience and commitment!

Jesus’ call was direct and clear. Matthew obeyed clearly and directly. Are you obeying Jesus clearly and directly? Are you faithfully following Him?

As a tax collector, Matthew probably had a good amount of money. He probably had wealth, means, and some sense of power. Yet, he gave all that up to follow Jesus!

How are you doing when it comes to following Jesus?

Matthew followed Him immediately. Some of us supposedly committed to follow Jesus decades ago and He’s still waiting on us to surrender completely to Him!

We can learn a lesson here about what it means to follow Jesus. 

Second, we can learn . . .

II. What it means to questionJesus (10-11) [on screen]

Have you ever questioned someone’s motives? Perhaps you’ve had your motives questioned. It’s a terrible feeling, isn’t it? It makes you angry to have someone question your motives particularly when you’re doing something good. 

Here Jesus is changing the life of a man and seeking to change the lives of others, and the Pharisees, the supposed holy ones among the Jewish people, are questioning His actions. 

Look at verses 10 and 11. 

10 While he was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came to eat with Jesus and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Reclining at the table was how they sat down to eat. We know from Mark’s and Luke’s gospel that Matthew hosted a feast for his friends and fellow sinners and tax collectors. 

So, here’s what we know: Jesus is changing the lives of people left and right; healing, teaching, and forgiving; Jesus has just called a tax collector to a new way of life and the man followed; then, the tax collector, after being changed wants others to hear about Jesus, so he throws a feast.

This is a good thing! Jesus is changing lives and those who are changed are inviting others to Jesus! Praise God!

“No! Don’t praise God,” say the Pharisees! They have an issue with Jesus. 

They think to themselves, “How dare this man associate with people like tax collectors, sinners, and the sort. These people are wicked! Who does He think He is?”

They even ask Jesus’ disciples, “Why does your teacher hang out with these types of people?”

You see, tax collectors were not well received by the Jewish people. 

Tax collectors and sinners went together like peas and carrots. 

First of all, the tax collectors worked for the bad guys. They worked for the Roman government. The Romans were the big bad oppressors for God’s people, the Jewish people. 

Secondly, tax collectors were in a position where they could take advantage of people by collecting more taxes than what was actually due and keeping the rest for themselves.

The average Jewish person did not care very much for tax collectors. 

The Pharisees are acting like a bunch of Pharisees! They thought that they were the holy ones and they didn’t want Jesus to have anything to do with sinners, even if that meant that the sinners’ lives were changed. 

Listen, church! Learn, church!

What does it say about the Pharisees when they question Jesus, who is God in the flesh?

In the same manner, some of us at times may question the commands of Jesus on our lives. What does that say of us?

They were acting as if Jesus Himself was defiled if He hung around sinners. Not so! Jesus recognized that in order for Him to get His saving message to sinners, He was going to actually have to be around them at some point. 

The Pharisees failed to recognize who Jesus was: God in the flesh, and they failed to recognize who we are: sinners.

This takes us to our final lesson learned from this passage:

III. What it means to callsinners (12-13) [on screen]

Look at verses 12 and 13 again. 

12 Now when he heard this, he said, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus heard what the Pharisees were saying and so He answered them with this penetrating and convicting statement. 

He even schooled them a bit. They were supposed to be the experts on the Bible, yet, Jesus said, “Go and learn what this means . . .”

He quoted to them Hosea 6:6, which says, 

“For I desire faithful love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”[on screen]

God had been saying for centuries that He wanted true devotion, not fake formalities. 

Jesus is calling the Pharisees out. 

He’s saying that they think that they have it all figured out when it comes to worshiping God, but they are really just pretending. 

Jesus is following up on this theme, which we have come to time and time again: God desires faithful followers, not fakers. 

Jesus put it very simply in verse 12: “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick.” Again in verse 13, He says, “I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus was telling the Pharisees that they had it all wrong. 

They thought they were well. They thought they were righteous. Jesus is basically saying, “I didn’t come for people like you who think they have it all figured out and everything is good. I came for those who know that they are messed up and know that they need help. I came for the sick. I came for sinners.”

Think about it: if you’re not sick, you don’t need a healer. If you’re already righteous, you don’t need to be made righteous. 

Jesus is calling sinners to Himself. Matthew understood this. He followed Jesus and he took his friends to Jesus. 

Are you faithfully following Jesus? Are you doing so with the knowledge that you were a sinner who desperately needed to be healed? Are you doing so realizing that you must take other sinners to Him as well?

Concluding Thoughts:

The irony of the situation is that the Pharisees desperately needed Jesus as well. They were just as bad as the tax collectors and the sinners, but they didn’t know it. 

Jesus is calling all of us to faithfully follow Him: Pharisees, tax collectors, sinners, and everyone in between. 

We must follow Him and call others to follow Him. 

That takes us to our bottom line:

Bottom Line: Jesus is calling sinners to follow Him and so should we.  [on screen]


Jesus is not calling people to Him who have everything figured out. He’s not calling perfect people. He’s not calling people who are righteous by their own effort. He’s calling sinners!

Just as Jesus changed Matthew, He can change you. He can give you a new life. 

He’s still calling sinners and we should be calling sinners to Him as well. 

Challenge yourself this week in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

  1. Be all in when it comes to following Jesus.  [on screen]

Matthew didn’t hold anything back and we must have that same sort of devotion when following Jesus. 

Sometimes we’re tempted to follow Jesus but not give Him everything. 

Perhaps we want to hold onto certain relationships.

Perhaps we want to hold onto certain possessions. 

Perhaps we want to hold onto certain habits. 

Don’t hold anything back! Be all in when it comes to following Jesus. 

  1. Seek out sinners and take them to Jesus.  [on screen]

Jesus made it very clear in the passage for whom He came: sinners; those who are sick. 

Additionally, some of His final words before He left the earth were for us to, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

We, as a church, exist to develop disciples who love God, love the church, and love others. 

Folks, we need to seek out sinners. 

Sinners cannot be saved without interaction with them. 

This will probably involve you having contact with people that at times may make you uncomfortable. This may require you to spend time with those that the world does not esteem highly. This may even involve you doing some things that the religious elites will frown upon. 

However, you can be encouraged that when you seek out sinners and bring them to Jesus, you are not only obeying Jesus, but you are modeling Jesus’ own behavior. 

My prayer is that our church would be full of people who were once the worst sinners, but are now the most devout followers of Jesus Christ. Amen?

Flee sin greatly, but seek sinners diligently, and bring them to Jesus. 


Matthew is pointing us to Jesus as the promised Messiah who changes lives. He changes our lives greatly and He is still changing the lives of sinners today. He is seeking the lost. He is healing the sick. He is saving sinners. 

Are you calling sinners to Jesus? Are you living a changed life? Are you faithfully following Jesus?

If you’re not following Jesus today, know that He came to heal you, He came to save you, He came to rescue you from the curse of sin. 

(Gospel Presentation)

(Closing Prayer)

Invitation Song – Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus


If you have any sort of spiritual decision that you would like to make, you can contact me or Pastor Richard and we would be glad to talk to you anytime.

Join us tonight at 5:30 as I give a report on my trip to Central Asia. I’d love to share with you what God did that week as well as how we as a church can partner in Central Asia in the future. 

Let’s dismiss by singing the Doxology. 

(Sing Doxology)

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: The text contained in this sermon is solely owned by its author. The reproduction, or distribution of this message, or any portion of it, should include the author’s name. The author intends to provide free resources in order to inspire believers and to assist preachers and teachers in Kingdom work.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *