Reflections: St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

Today’s Reading: Matthew 9:9-13

Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 5:1-16; 6:1-9, 15-16; 1 Timothy 4:1-16

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” (Matthew 9:12 ESV)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. This spring I got sick—right before Holy Week, no less! I was coughing, blowing my nose all the time, and felt tired and weak. And that darn cold wouldn’t quit! It took three weeks before I had no more symptoms. Should I have gone to my doctor? Perhaps, but I was certain that he couldn’t help me. He would tell me, “Take some cold medicine and rest,” and then charge me for such, “wisdom.”

Sometimes the Bible describes sin as a sickness. If sin is a disease, it’s a bad one. It lasts a lot longer than a few weeks. It lasts a lifetime! And sin is deadly. Those sick with sin will die. You can’t fight it. Sin is far worse than cancer. And you’ve got it! This disease is passed from Adam to his descendants, and you caught it from your mom and dad!

If sin is a sickness, then Jesus is the good physician. And He’s the kind of doctor you can trust. He won’t look you over and say, “Yep, its sin. Sorry, I can’t help you. Just take some cold medicine and enjoy life while you still can. Here’s the bill.” No, Jesus can help the sin-sick soul. He can do something that no other doctor can do: He can take your sickness and let it kill Him, and then give you His health and life!

Matthew the Evangelist describes in his Gospel how Jesus, “took our illnesses and bore our diseases,” (8:17 ESV). He took our sin, and then He suffered the fate of all sinners. He died, while feeling the full weight of God’s displeasure. Since He paid for our sins, Jesus can grant us His life. He can apply the sweet balm of Absolution to our wounds. He can feed us the Medicine of Immortality—His Body and His Blood. Through Word and Sacrament, His life is bestowed upon us! Jesus takes our sickness and gives us His health. He suffers our death and shares with us His life. Luther called this the Joyous Exchange. 

Are you a sinner? Then Jesus is the doctor for you! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O Son of God, our blessed Savior Jesus Christ, You called Matthew the tax collector to be an apostle and evangelist. Through his faithful and inspired witness, grant that we also may follow You, leaving behind all covetous desires and love of riches; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Feast of St. Matthew)

-Pastor Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.