9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?[a]”
12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’[b] For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Matthew 9:9-13 NLT
I have continued reading Mark and have come to the call of Levi (Matthew). When I looked at Matthew’s account of His call to follow Jesus as one of His disciples, verse 13 jumped out at me. When I first read it, I was reading out of the ESV, but I really like how the NLT translates this passage because it is very direct at what Jesus was getting at. He quotes Hosea 6:6 saying, “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices.” This is a command to His people, the summary of all the commandments, love. Afterall sacrifices are ways to make ourselves righteous. Because of the sacrifices we make, we think we are righteous people, but this is not what God desires. He has made us righteous. Through His sacrifice on the cross to forgive us of our sin. He wants us to acknowledge our sins, and knowing full well that we cannot account for all of them He forgives every single sin we have ever done and ever will do. That is His promise.
In that promise, I find joy. I look at my own life and I realize that I am indeed a sinner. I also recognize how the world is far from what God desires. Even the world knows that the world is far from perfect. The way the world tries to fix this problem is by trying to build the world that is perfect. As Christians we know that this world will not be perfect because of sin. But by the power of the Holy Spirit we get to live out God’s love by showing love to our neighbor. Through this living out our faith other people get to experience the love of God, and that speaks volumes. It invites us to a table where we get to recline at their dinner table as guest, and through this openness we get to verbally share the Gospel and point to the Scriptures and by the Holy Spirits power they too will be brought to Christ and be saved.
Prayer: God, forgive me for trying to make myself righteous before you. By my own power, this is not possible, but by the power of your Spirit through your Son, you have made me righteous. Thank you for your Son. Your love never fails. Help me live out that love to others, so that they may be brought to you for your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.