Those Sinful Taxcollectors

I love learning new things about Jesus’ life and his mission on earth. I hope you feel the same.

This morning my mom and I read Matthew 9:9-13 (My favorite passage of the three. If you’re only going to read one of the passages, read this one.) Mark 2:13-17, and Luke 5:27-32

First off, to avoid confusion, Levi and Matthew are the same person. Don’t ask how that happened, I don’t know.

So, Jesus calls Levi (Matthew) to follow Him, so of course he does, and he’s so excited he throws this banquet.

Well Jesus found Matthew sitting at a tax collectors booth, so obviously there were a few tax collectors.

The Pharisees and Scribes got all upset, because when don’t they?

They asked Jesus why He was eating with sinners. Jesus replied with the most awesome reply ever.

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Does it seem profound to you? Because it seems profound to me.

The first sentence goes along pretty well with the verse about seeing the plank in your own eye. Most of us know that verse pretty well. Careful not to misuse it. That verse isn’t saying that you must be sinless in order to judge another Christian’s sin. It is saying you have to be honest to yourself and recognize what your sin is. It’s about avoiding being hypocritical, not about being blameless and not judging others.

The second part of Jesus’ answer is referring to Hosea 6:6 and Micah 6:6-8. I encourage you to look them up, they are both great verses. They are saying how burnt offerings and sacrifices are not what God wants. He doesn’t want a big showy display of Christiaity. He wants acknowledgement and for us to walk with Him as best we can.

The verse uses the word mercy. Mercy does not mean excusing a sin and saying that everything is ok as long we love each other. It means desiring what is good for others. What is better than salvation and repentance? How can someone repent without knowing what their sin is?

The last part is Jesus reminding the ignorant Pharisees yet again what His mission was. It was not to call the righteous, but to reach the sinners and bring them closer to God.

Note the wording. Jesus didn’t use the word ‘believers’ he used ‘righteous’. Who among us is righteous? No one. We are all sinners. He was not saying He was only calling sinners and left the believers alone. He spoke to the sinners who recognized that they were sinners and recognized their need for Him. Not the self-righteous Pharisees and scribes.

Jesus was emphasizing the need to acknowledge your own sin and turn to Him. I love that. I love that that was His focus because it is so important to repent. It’s how we get closer to God.

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Clarification

Just to be 100% clear, since people keep getting confused about this:

I am not blogging to non-believers.

I am blogging to Christians.

You have to talk to the two groups differently on religious manners.

I am blogging about sin because the church has forgotten what God says about it.

WE ARE CALLED TO WARN EACH OTHER AGAINST SIN.

Read the above line again. I have the verses, if you don’t believe me.

I am not calling out any single people group, I am sharing what God says about certain things.

I don’t want to hear about your ‘feelings’ on the issues if you’re trying to prove me wrong. Show me I’m wrong in God’s Word.

I do not blog about all sins because for the most part, Christians still believe murder, theft, adultery, and other sins to be wrong. They’ve forgotten when it comes to things like homosexuality, divorce, and abortion. So that’s what I blog about.

If you don’t like my style, I’m sure there’s a blogger out there who is saying exactly what you want them to.

Believe it or not, my way is effective, maybe just not to you. Not everyone is like you. Try seeing a different perspective for once.

I am not Catholic, so if you are Catholic and try to argue with me on the validity of the Bible, please don’t, because we will just disagree.

I hope my stance is clear and that you can be tolerant of it.

Spreading the Word (Not What you Think)

(Psst. It’s not by sharing verses on Facebook.)

Seriously, it’s a pet peeve of mine, when all people do is share verses on Facebook instead of actually talking about what the Bible is saying. Like, yeah, verses are great, but you have to understand them and their application.

And you can’t share God’s Word with other people by just repeating it like a parrot.  It will mean absolutely nothing to non-believers. They don’t read verses and think “Wow! That’s so amazing. God is great. My life is changed.” No, they challenge them. And if all you can do is give them more verses instead answering the question in a practical way, you will never reach anyone.

It’s different if you’re dealing with a Christian. If THEY won’t accept verses in context then something is wrong with their faith or their perspective on things. It’s God’s answer book to us. As a Christian, you either believe all of the Bible or you don’t. You can’t pick and choose.

With that being said, my mom and I read John 4: 27-42 today. It was Jesus finishing up with the Samaritan woman at the well and how he changed the lives of all these Samaritans. Pretty awesome stuff.

Jesus said that His first priority was to do the Will of God, always. He denied himself food and rest in order to talk to people about God.

He foretold the revival/conversion in Samaria, which was pretty epic since it was the Samaritans He was talking about.

A cool thing that people don’t seem to realize is that Jesus knew everything about this adulterous, sinful woman and still loved her. He’s like that with us. No matter what you’ve done in your past, God loves you and is ready to forgive you, You just have to ask and repent.

Jesus delighted in His work more than anything in the world. He loved it more than taking care of himself. Jesus got so excited about telling people about God that His disciples couldn’t help but get excited with Him.

Near the end of this passage He used a metaphor of harvest time for spreading the Word of God, which is why I started out my blog post the way I did. By using this little metaphor, He told the disciples that they shouldn’t be waiting for a harvest time to come. It was harvest time now. He was telling them not to wait to tell people about God, that you can do it anytime and the best time is now.

Also, when reaping the harvest, everyone must do His share. If you don’t do the work, you don’t get the benefits. No free stuff. Work.

Now, I don’t believe that works get you to Heaven, but Jesus said there was a reward in heaven for people who spread His word, so obviously it’s important. You can’t rely on others to do your part though. You have to get out for yourself and share the Word. You have to do more than parroting Scripture, however. Jesus didn’t do that. It made it relevant, applicable. We have to do the same.

As always, I pray that I am in the right to say this, but I believe God has put these issues on my heart for a reason. I have felt led to blog about sharing the Word, and my Bible study this morning was conveniently on that exact topic, so it seems like this is what God wants me to talk about.

Please consider the words I have said and let God change your heart if it needs to be.