Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Friend of Sinners

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Now when he heard this, he said, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13

Friend of Sinners

Jesus had just called Matthew as a disciple with the command, “Follow Me.” After that, He went to Matthew’s house and ate with Matthew, other tax collectors, and sinners. 

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me,” and he got up and followed him. While he was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came to eat with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Matthew 9:9-11

Who needs a doctor? Not the people who are already well – when we think we have it all together, we tend to think we don’t need Jesus as much. The pharisees, or religious leaders, of that day did not like to get their hands dirty with the lowly and despised people of society. They wanted them to be “well”, but they were like doctors who did not want to risk getting sick themselves by dealing with “sick” people. Tax collectors were considered vile and despised, yet they received and accepted Jesus when the religious leaders rejected Him. 

Jesus is the friend of sinners. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). It is by His grace and His grace alone that we can be redeemed from our sinful ways. In His grace He chooses to redeem sinners who understand how desperately they need Him. Those who are too proud to realize their brokenness do not realize their need for Him. 

Jesus did not come for the perfect, have it all together people. And we do not have to have to fix it to come to Him. He doesn’t want us perfect – He wants us broken and willing to surrender to Him. It is only when we are broken and humble that we are ready to follow Him completely and allow Him to transform us. 

He doesn’t require us to bring something we don’t have and cannot offer. We can come as we are and in return He gives us mercy – what we really need. We don’t have to come with an offering or a sacrifice. He is the sacrifice for us – offering mercy, grace, salvation, redemption, and eternal life.

When Jesus said “Go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice,” He was quoting Hosea 6:6 – “For I desire faithful love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” 
This verse is talking about how God’s people were still good at bringing sacrifices, but they had no mercy or knowledge of God. God would rather see our hearts transformed by His love and mercy more than He would want us to conform to rules and regulations of religion. He always desires a relationship with us. If we have a relationship with Him, we will desire to walk in obedience to Him. 

This season when you may feel like you don’t have it all together, or you have messed up too many times, remember that Jesus is not looking for perfection. He is looking for humble hearts who know that He is what they need. He is looking for those who are willing to surrender to Him and be changed by Him. Bring your imperfections and weaknesses to Him and experience His all sufficient grace and mercy. 

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