It is not the custom of doctors to spend their time with the healthy, but where people are ill’ (Plutarch Apophth. Lacon. 230F);
‘a doctor must go among the sick, so a wise man must mix with fools (Dio Chrysostom, Orat. 8.5)
‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. iI came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Jesus, Mark 2:17
In this saying Jesus compares his ministry to that of a doctor/physician. His saying bears some resemblance to sayings found in Plutarch (Plutarch is quoting some one a Spartan). Closer to Jesus saying is that of Diogenes who links the work of a Doctor with that of a philosopher/wiseman. Jesus, however links the role of the Doctor with sin. We may, although we need to be careful with this, see a link between sin and illness as the first century century Judaic worldview it seems that it was natural to connect illness with sin. (Mark 2:1-2). Jesus is the doctor who comes to those who are sinners.
We should meditate upon this. The Jewish hope as presented in Deutero-Isiah and elsewhere was a time when God would look upon his people, shine upon them and retore the fortunes of Israel. Israel was in sin and God would deal with Israel’s sin. Parts of the Tanack seem to look for a righteous remnant who God would work with, in fact 1st century Judaism at time seems like a competition between variuous factions as to who is the remnant/righteous ones. Jesus in one sense turns this notion on its head, as the bringer of the eschtaon (kingdom of God) he is working sinners, those who are usually seen as outside Gods covenant plan.
I found the following helpful,
Jesus came to offer God’s redemptive fellowship by announcing the coming of God’s sovereign rule in history and “calling” all to respond. This invitation went to all to declare a time of wholeness and the establishment by God of a new relationship with those who respond to his action in history. Thus, the Kingdom in one sense includes all who are “well” and offers healing to the sick; includes all the “righteous” but invites the “sinners” to come into this new relationship. To that extent Jesus’ ministry was all-inclusive. The shepherd did not dispense with the ninety-nine sheep when he sought and found the one lost sheep (Luke 15:3–7); nor did the woman discard the nine coins in favor of the one she found (Luke 15:8–10). Rather Jesus focused his ministry on reaching out to those aware of their need of God’s redemptive activity in their lives. In the process, however, some of the “healthy” and “righteous” showed themselves to be less than whole and in need of a fight relationship with God (Luke 15:25–32). Consequently, to the extent that Jesus’ ministry was rejected by the “healthy” and “righteous” it was exclusive. But the accent of 2:17 is on the positive ministry to those in need.
Guelich, Robert A.: Word Biblical Commentary : Mark 1-8:26. Dallas : Word, Incorporated, 2002 (Word Biblical Commentary 34A), S. 105
I am aware that Mark 2:17 needs to be read alongside Mark 10:45. Jesus ultimately gives his life to bring redemption for the many, Jesus as the servant of Isaiah, gives his life for the many sinners.
From a personal perspective. I am a messed up punk who sins, yet I have a savior who has come for the likes of me.