Tuesday, July 20, 2010

God desires mercy, not sacrifice.

9As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
10While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

12On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:9-13)

Here is the heart of the matter. Jesus mission was to invite and compel sinners to return to a relationship with God. He had not come to judge but to save. Inviting and compelling others takes time and it takes a relationship. Jesus was not worried about his standing with the God or what people might think. He was sure that if these sinners were never given the chance to turn to God then they would be forever lost.
His words were based on God’s words to the Prophet Hosea long ago.

“”For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings" (Hosea 6:6)

Like most religious people who try hard to keep the rules, to fight temptation and to stay within the laws of God the religious leaders had developed a distaste, even a loathing for those that were profane, gross, crude or irreverent. Sinners were enemies of the ways of God. As our society struggles with the balance of personal freedoms and moral duty we feel the same assault as well. There is a battle going on. So the question is, do we handle this battle like the religious leaders of Jesus time, or do we handle this battle as Jesus handled it.
Jesus chose to show mercy to all those who asked it of him, regardless of their sins, in the very presence of those that had worked so hard to obey the rules all their lives, to do the right thing, to follow after God.

It is our duty as followers of Jesus to follow his example in the ways of mercy. It can be through our example of mercy and acceptance that someone turns back to God. People flocked to Jesus because he showed genuine compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness. We can do no less if we call ourselves Jesus' followers.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

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