Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners. Mathew 9:13 NABRE
Tax collectors were usually known as sinners, working for the Roman governor and they usually demanded more than was required in tax so they could have money for themselves. Jesus called Matthew, a tax collector, to be His disciple signaling Jesus’ openness as the light into all the world. But it was also scandalous, on top of the discipleship invitation Jesus had dinner at Mathew’s house, this would have shown a table fellowship expressing solidarity, as well as Jesus open to covenant with outsiders, those known to be sinners. In the eyes of the religious leaders Jesus was inviting the wrong people into His movement, what kind of teacher would do such a thing. Jesus explains, His mission is to forgive sins which involves going to sinners. Second Jesus quotes Hosea, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” (6:6) which would have been familiar to the Pharisees. The passage denounced Israelite’s who were trying to cover up grave sin with external acts of piety such as sacrifice. Sacrifice requires love and faithfulness, Hosea was indicating God desires mercy not empty sacrifices. Jesus challenges the Pharisees who care more about table fellowship than love to be shown to God and His people, including tax collectors and sinners. Israel was meant to be a light to the entire world requiring Jesus to call the sinners not only righteous.
We are challenged to reach out and befriend those who would not normally fall in our circle of friends, those with the same kind of home, eating at the same restaurants, going to the same schools. We should reach out to sinners and those who do not know God and by our example be a light to the world ourselves.
Who are your friends? Do you seek the lost?We are challenged to reach out and befriend those who would not normally fall in our circle of friends. We should reach out to sinners and those who do not know God and by our example be a light to the world ourselves. Click To Tweet
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