It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
Is Jesus saying some people are so righteous – so spiritually healthy -- they don’t need Him?
We know better than that!
The Great Physician is simply conceding the obvious point - only those who know they are sick will seek a doctor’s help. And only those who recognize their unhealthy spiritual condition will listen to Him!
That’s why Jesus is surrounded by a whole bunch of sinners at Levi’s house. They seek the Doctor’s counsel because they know they’re sick. They understand their sinful condition.
On the other hand, the Pharisees mistakenly think they are spiritually healthy. They don’t need the Doctor, thank you very much!
Absurdity is added to irony when they take exception as Jesus ministers to the needs of those who readily admit they are sick. They object - Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?
Unfortunately a self-administered misdiagnosis of righteousness is still the occupational hazard of the religious. They don’t seek spiritual renewal for themselves and they actually object when sinners hang around!
Jesus understands! That’s why He graciously bows to humanity’s freedom to choose and concedes the fact: Only those who know they are sinners will hear His call.
Only those who first acknowledge their sin will ever seek the healing forgiveness of the Great Physician.