By Doug Bell
Matthew 9:9 ”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?” 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.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Jesus called Matthew to follow Him and become one Of His Apostles. We are told Matthew was a ‘Tax Collector‘ and was sitting in his booth when Jesus called him. Tax collectors were hated for working for the Romans (and notorious for taking advantage of their own people by charging more than necessary). We even see In the scripture above they are called “many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners,” (vs. 10) and “Scum” (vs. 11). They question, ‘Why would Jesus spend time with such people as these?’ To which Jesus replies: “Healthy people don’t need a doctor... For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous...” Interpreted to mean: “The Healthy and Righteous here are NOT truly healthy or righteous. But, they think they are in their own minds! (James 1:22 ”But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves). Only those who know they are sick people (Spiritually), and that they know they are sinners will seek out a doctor or as here, a Savior!
But, let’s take a minute to look at Vs. 13, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ quoting Hosea 6:6. Or as the NLT puts it:
6 “I want you to show love,
not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know me
more than I want burnt offerings.”
Too many people want to play at religion, calling themselves Christians when they have NO righteous fruit. However, James 1- reminds us:
26 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not (bridle his tongue [put any besetting sin here]) but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
God is NOT as interested in our Outward Actions (though important, cf. James 2:14-26) as he is in what our Motives are (Mark 7:14-23). Do we really Love as we are required? Matthew 22:37 ”And He said to him,“ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 ”This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 ”The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 ”On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Are you giving God, not only the best of your things. But, the best of YOU? Heart, Soul, and Mind? You should, because He
says, ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’