10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
It seems like every generation has the presence of legalism in its culture. Unfortunately, we often it see in the church and in our history. ““Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Is that why Jesus came? to bring us sinners to the table of communion and to eat with Him and to make us be at home in His presence? To experience mercy, love, forgiveness, renewal of who we are and accept the invitation that enables us to become new? New life, new purpose, new hope.
And yet, there always seems to be a group, a denomination, expressions in communities that do not dare follow Jesus in His love and acceptance of the so called “sinners”.
Who are the sinners in our community? in our families? in our work places? are they us?
Are we like Jesus in our approach to them or do we detect some legalistic, pharisaic influence in our view of them?
Are the so labeled “sinners” feeling at home with us? can they be in our presence and enjoy a meal, laugh, contribute to the conversation, feel the embrace and welcome of God?
Have we allow our lives to become so sacrificial in our following of Jesus that the mercy He came to share has become foreign to us? Are the acts of Mercy celebrated, recognized, and even practiced in our day to day interactions with others?
I think we need to hear this again: 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
- Lord, teach me mercy and forgive my judgmental and proud heart that often assumes I am “better than they”. Teach me to be approachable to anyone who I am in contact with you and deliver me from selective company. I want to follow you and be like you and I pray for opportunities to practice mercy.