We are in Matthew 9 today for those of you who are following the Crosspoint Challenge, we are in Matthew 9 today. I always struggle with reading such meaty chapters like these in one whole setting, so I try to pick out the verse or verses that I really feel are speaking to me, and focus on those and dig a little deeper into them, so that I'm not so overwhelmed by all that I have read.
In this one chapter, Jesus heals a paralytic, He calls Matthew to follow Him, the Pharisees are always bugging Him and questioning Him, He heals a sick woman on the way to raise another girl from the dead!, and right after that He heals 2 blind men and a mute! And then after all that he kept going through the towns preaching and healing every disease. What a ministry, right? And so much to think about as you read.
Today I couldn't help but go back to the section where Jesus calls Matthew to follow Him. "While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate him Him and His disciples." Pause. Jesus is among believers and non-believers. He is among the "sinners." At this the Pharisees just can't fathom why Jesus would eat with these people, so they stir up a bunch of commotion and go to the disciples, not Jesus, and ask them why Jesus is eating among sinners. They just liked to get everyone stirred up. It's like the Pharisees' goal is to make everyone else miserable b/c they were miserable and confused. So, Jesus of course hears them and says to them: "Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy not sacrifice."
Now, the part most people dwell on in this part of the chapter is the next part of the verse which says "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." But there is an urgency in what Jesus says when He tells the Pharisees to "Go and learn what this means." So I want to learn what that means; to desire mercy not sacrifice.
"For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings."
"With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God?.... burnt offerings... thousands of rams...shall I offer my firstborn for my transgressions..the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does He require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with the Lord your God.
This is all that Jesus was looking for.. acknowledgment that He is God, that we need Him, and have a desire to walk with Him. His ministry of preaching and healing was for us to realize that we are "sick", we need Him to touch us and heal us, and then we just need to follow Him.
That's something I can do. It's so easy to feel like I'm so incapable of being the woman God calls me to be, but I can relate to needing my Savior... desiring and craving His presence.. and following Him. Be encouraged to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with the Lord your God today.