Playing Doctor

by | Sep 29, 2021 | Life of Jesus | 5 comments

It sounds innocent enough. Playing a game of make-believe is typically a good thing, allowing people to use their imaginations. However, even assuming that the “playing doctor” that we’re talking about isn’t the version where young people “examine” each other, it’s still a game that can be harmful to people.

For example, suppose you’re at a friend’s house and you get really sick. Your friend starts pulling out bottles of pills and says, “Take two of these, and take four of these.” Then, your friend tells you to inject something into your veins. At what point do you say you don’t want to play this game of doctor and would prefer to consult a real doctor?

How about someone who takes the game even further, opening their own doctor’s office? Hey, I can see it now — I hang a sign on my office door that says “Doctor Jerry, M.D.” (I would be the only one who knows that the MD stands for Make-believe Doctor). Sound crazy? Well, I actually know how I could get away with it. I would just establish one basic rule for the office: I would only see patients who are completely healthy.

Wait, wait, go with this for a minute. Someone who is sick comes into the office. I tell them to get out, telling them that I don’t want them to contaminate anyone else in the office. But when someone comes in who is healthy, I tell them to keep up the good work and then I collect their co-pay and bill their insurance company for a consultation fee. OK, I’m not really helping anybody, but I sure feel important.

In the time of Jesus, the Pharisees led the church in the same manner as how I said I would operate my make-believe doctor’s office. If somebody came in who was sick spiritually (a sinful person), they would cast this person out of the synagogue. They wouldn’t even associate with such a person, as if they could be contaminated by being too close to a sinner.

The only people that the Pharisees wanted in the church were those who they defined as being already spiritually healthy (following all of their rules). Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with being a person who follows the rules (just as there’s nothing wrong with being healthy). However, since the Pharisees chose to associate only with people who were already where they needed to be, it meant that they weren’t really helping anybody (but it sure made them feel important, better than others, etc.).

Based on the above, it’s no surprise that when Jesus eats and visits with a group of people who are considered sinful, He is immediately criticized. “When the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?” (Matthew 9:11). Knowing that the Pharisees are people who just like to “play doctor,” Jesus responds accordingly:

“They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32, Mark 2:17, Matthew 9:12-13)

The very dinner at which this statement is made is an indication of how Jesus is a “real doctor” when it comes to healing the souls of people. The dinner takes place at the home of Matthew (or Levi as he is referred to in Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27). It is a celebration of the conversion of Matthew from a sinner (a publican or tax collector who cheated people) to a follower of Christ. Earlier that day, Jesus saw Matthew, “sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.” (Matthew 9:9)

If somebody like pre-converted Matthew — dishonest, disagreeable, different philosophy of life, obviously sinful — came into one of our church meetings today, what would we do? 

  • Would we go up to him and try to make him feel welcome?
  • Would we share — whether through preaching or testimony — the love of Christ, the power of God, and the gift of salvation that changed our lives?
  • Would we pray that he is touched by the Spirit of God that can change people’s hearts?

Or…

  • Would we ignore him (I wouldn’t know what to say)?
  • Would we hope he doesn’t come back (not our type of person)?
  • Would we perhaps not even be in church ourselves that day (with some “valid” excuse)?

Hopefully, we can recognize this Matthew-like person as someone who is “sick” and in need of the healing power of Jesus Christ. And, as representatives of Christ today, we can be the doctors who help bring about the healing. We have the knowledge, power and authority to accomplish this. So, let’s not play doctor — let’s be the real doctors who make a significant difference in people’s lives by introducing them to the soul-healing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.

Author

  • Brother Jerry Valenti

    Brother Jerry lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with wife Sister Pat and daughter Maria.

5 Comments

  1. Brother Gary Thompson

    Great article Brother Jerry.

    Reply
  2. George P Katsaras

    I have seen this scene take place many times in TCOJC. Thankfully I can say that the sinners each time have been embraced by the saints and showered with the love of God. Great article once again! God continues to Bless You!

    Reply
  3. Sister Cindy C

    Excellent analogy Brother Jerry. At first I didn’t really see where you were going with the make-believe doctor, because the scenario seemed ridiculous, but your point was very well made.
    Thank God that Jesus was a true physician and came to heal us

    Reply
  4. Linda Reynolds

    Excellent post, something in which we all can relate. Thank you.

    Reply
  5. Christina DiCenzo

    Lord, help us to look beyond the faults & see the need as Jesus did & does.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Further Reading

Let the Dead Bury Their Dead

I heard the following story about 20 years ago. It may or may not be true, but it provides a good intro for this article. In the late 1990s, the most popular play on Broadway was the stage adaptation of Disney’s “The Lion King.” It was very difficult to get tickets...

Read More

You Never Know What You’re Going to Catch

Jesus concludes a day of sharing parables with this one: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but...

Read More

Never Miss a New Article

Subscribe to Our Email List
Sign up and get every new blog post sent straight to your inbox so you always have the day’s devotional at your fingertips.

We never share your email address with anyone for any reason, and we use it only to send you Gospel Blog emails. Just articles, not ads!

Your Story for God’s Glory

Share Your Testimony on Miracle Monday

We devote Miracle Monday to sharing miracle stories. From finding a lost wedding ring to healing cancer on the spot, Jesus Christ has done it all, big and small.

And we want to hear about what He’s done for you.

The Gospel Blog Is Open for Submissions

We encourage devotional-style or scripture-based articles in the ballpark of 500 words. We are open to any topic that glorifies God and unites the Church.