When Jesus heard it (the Pharisee’s question about eating with sinners), He said,

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.”

Matthew 9: 11

 

Wellness is a big topic today. Health insurance companies offer incentives to members of group insurance plans to engage in lifestyles that they view as healthy. Preventative medicine has become almost as important to our doctors as the treatment of diseases used to be. We all want to be well. This is a fundamental truth of our day. Yet, well-being, a deep and unshakable peace and contentment of the soul, is elusive. The benefits of all of our preventative care, preemptive intervention, and proactive planning can be robbed from us in a matter of seconds. Life goes off on tangents that are unpredictable at best and that regularly disrupt our plans and sense of control.

 

Matthew was living a life in which he had a lot of power and where he was allowed to call the shots. People in his community didn’t like or respect him, but as he was able to take their wealth as taxes, he was the one who truly got the last laugh. Yet, he was dying. He was infected with a disease that had no cure. His soul was withering and wasting away. Then he encountered a simple country doctor, and he was healed. Jesus came seeking Matthew. Their encounter at a toll booth along the side of the road was no accident, it was not fate, and it was not karma. It was the result of God’s plan for Matthew’s life. Jesus walked up to him and invited the foul, unclean sinner into the throne room of God. Then Jesus joined Matthew in a celebration of the tax gatherer’s healing and new life. Christ also invited other likewise diseased and dying people to join with them in order to meet life face to face.

 

Christ is still calling upon the people of our world. He comes to offer God’s wellness to all. The roadside toll booth encounter that Matthew experienced comes in many different forms and settings today, but it does happen continually and everywhere. God desires for all people to be healed; so, He gave us Christ as that ultimate and total way to health. This is a health that matters, for this is the health of our spirits, of our souls, that is the only way to live fully in the peace and the joy of God’s presence. When we are wounded, injured, and made ill by the troubles and challenges that life causes us, we can turn toward Christ and seek out His healing and restorative truth. He is present in our lives through His Word, Spirit, and the community of faith. In turning to the healer, we are made well.