Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13
It was around 1985 when a friend of mine was backpacking through Jordan. It was late afternoon or early evening when he stopped and watched three shepherds watering their flocks at a common well. As the flocks had mixed together, my friend wondered how the shepherds would separate them. Eventually, one stood up and called out, “Menah,” Arabic for “follow me.” Unbelievably, 30 sheep immediately walked out of the super-flock and began to follow their shepherd up the hill. The second shepherd shouted, “Menah,” and his flock followed after him. As for the other sheep, they acted as if nothing had happened.
When the third shepherd stood, my friend asked, “Would your sheep follow me if I called them?” The man shook his head. Having received permission to try, he called out, “Menah, Menah!” The sheep looked at him as if he had lost his mind. “Will they always follow you?” my friend asked. The shepherd said, “Always, except when a sheep is sick; then the creature follows anyone.”
Over the centuries, the Lord, using the power that comes from the means of grace, that is Word and Sacrament, has called a great many people to Him. Many of them, indeed all of them, in some way were sick. Some had a sickness of the body; all of us have a sickness of the soul. When by the power of the Law we recognize that sickness, Jesus steps in to help us with the Gospel’s healing power. The Great Physician makes us well.
What is your illness? Do you, like the ex-tax collector Matthew, feel alone and avoided? Have you been disappointed in love or hurt by uncaring hands? Are you frightened by the world’s hatred and prejudice? Jesus sends His Holy Spirit to call you to peace. Quite possibly you have been let down by those you counted on or betrayed by those who are closest to you. If so, be confident; Jesus will never desert you, He will never let you down.
This healing transformation can be yours. Today Jesus speaks to each of us saying, “Come, leave behind your life of sin and separation. Come, believe on Me and I will give you a new life worth living. Sick and sinful souls, come as you are; believe and be saved through your Physician’s healing hand.”
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on September 21, 2003
The Prayer: Dear Lord, You are my doctor, and I need Your healing and guidance. Sometimes I hear Your voice loud and clear. At times, I hear it in the distance or not at all. I'm pleading with You today to open my ears and heart, so I can hear Your voice. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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