Matthew 9:11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Now go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, rather than sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The common perception of hypocrisy from unbelievers is a valid notion in my estimation. Some who claim to be Christians seem to demand perfect religiosity, church attendance, and morality before God will save a sinner. And then they see these same “Christians” using profanity, getting divorced, committing crimes. The demand is what they see as hypocrisy, but the demand is a false notion!
The Pharisees were an ultra-religious sect. They invented laws over and above what God commanded in religious piousness and expected everyone who were Jewish to meet this bar of religiosity. They would then move the goalpost as well when they saw one coming near that bar so as to prevent them from reaching their level. They didn’t view themselves as “sinners”, but God’s holy ones.
So when Jesus came, they saw no need for Him. The Pharisees thought by their inherent godliness, they were on their way to heaven or as you hear from modern sinners “I am a good person, God will save me”. It didn’t make much sense to the Pharisees if this Messiah, Jesus Christ, was consorting with the lowest of the low, tax collectors, prostitutes, thieves, the most ungodly.
Jesus by a divine common sense and clarity tells them “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick“. The point being He being the Redeemer as the Physician is needed by those who truly know they are sinners and need Him.
I will say from personal experience and my time of witnessing, that one will really never know the sheer DEPTH of being a sinner in God’s sight until He grants them a new heart. Before that point, it is “I am a good person”. But the comparison is ALWAYS based on other sinners, not as a comparison to God. It is when God gives a rebirth, you SEE for the first time the comparison is only made to God. And only then you see yourself as this wicked vile rotten sinner who THEN needs a Savior.
Before it was “I am better than those vicious rioters and murderers”, after a rebirth is “I am a rotten sinner in need of a Savior, Jesus Christ”. And if your church is not teaching this, if they demand that before one can be saved they must meet a list of things first before God will grant salvation, that church would be a church of the Pharisees, not Jesus Christ. God saves the ungodly, NEVER the self deceived religious “godly”!