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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