Universal Sick Care
Many tax collectors and sinners were sitting with Jesus and his disciples at the dinner table. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” – Matthew 9:10-12 (NRSV)
At first blush, it sounds like Jesus is calling tax collectors and sinners “sick.” This has led some Christians to label all sorts of people “sick” compared to the “well” who just happen to be the ones doing the labeling.
I see it differently. No matter how healthy and well you think you are, you still need a physician. The difference isn’t between the so-called sick and healthy. The difference is between those who know they are fragile finite beings whose health is always at risk and those who are in denial.
When Jesus tells the Pharisees, “Those who are well have no need of a physician,” he isn’t talking about them. The Pharisees are just as unwell as anyone else, if not more so for their malignant self-righteousness. He might not be talking about anyone on this side of heaven.
That’s why we need big tent, universal health care. All God’s children have the need, and right, to see a physician.
On the other hand, with all due respect to the wellness movement, Jesus appears to have been more interested in universal sick care, the biggest tent there is.
God, we long for the day when everyone has adequate health care, for body and soul.
Matt Laney is the Senior Pastor of Virginia Highland Church UCC in Atlanta, GA and the author of Pride Wars, a fantasy series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers. The first two books, The Spinner Prince and The Four Guardians are available now.