Devotion – August 17, 2015 – I Desire Mercy

matthew9_13But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
—Matthew 9:13

Who needs mercy?  Do you?  Do I?  These are the words of Jesus there in Matthew 9.  Jesus had just called Matthew to be His disciple.  Matthew, a dirty, low-down traitor/thief of a tax collector.  Then, Jesus had the gall to go to Matthew’s house for a party with all of Matthews filthy, sinner friends and eat with them.  Then the oh-so righteous religious leaders, the Pharisees, called Jesus out.  He should be with good, clean-living, holy and righteous religious people like them, not those horrible, evil sinners, right?…

That’s when Jesus puts the Pharisees in their place.  “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”  In other words, ‘You think you are so good, so righteous and holy, then you clearly don’t need me.  These people who I’m with know they are sinners and they know they need God’s mercy.’

It’s not that the Pharisees were actually not sinners and Matthew and his crew were.  It’s that the Pharisees didn’t think they were.  They had no need for God’s mercy because they had this whole righteous living thing down, with their sacrifices and supposed righteousness.  They thought were fine…they weren’t.  Matthew and his friends, however, knew full well that they were sinners and that they only way they would be right with God was if God had mercy on them.  They were right and mercy had come and had dinner with them that night.

In the church, today, we can see the same attitudes.  Our church isn’t really for those types of people.  We in the church are good, but those people who commit THAT sin are the ones who are gonna get it.  That way of thinking was wrong in Jesus’ day and it’s wrong today.

We’re all sinners.  You are a sinner and so am I.

So, who needs mercy?  I do.  You do.  Those people who commit THAT sin do.  We ALL do.  Thankfully, God’s mercy came down and lived among us.  The truly righteous, holy, clean Son of God came and lived among the truly bad, sinful, and dirty that He might cleanse us of all our sin, make us holy, and make us righteous before God.

I’m glad to see that Jesus ate with Matthew and the other “sinners” because I can now know that Jesus is also willing to eat with me.  And he’s willing to eat with you as well.

Dear Jesus,

Forgive me for the times I have thought myself better than others, as though my sins are somehow less evil and someone else’s.  I know that I am a poor and miserable sinner.  Have mercy on me.  Thank You that eat with sinners.  Thank You that You heal the spiritually sick.  Thank You that you desire mercy, not sacrifice.

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