The scripture for today is Matthew 9:9-13, KJV.
"And as Jesus passed forth from thence, (he had been performing miracles) he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meant, I will have mercy, and not sacrifices for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Pages and pages could be written about these verses. If you saw Jesus in the grocery store, and he said to you, "Follow me," would you leave your grocery cart, wallet, cash, and credit cards, and follow? How amazing that Matthew, who had a very lucrative job, would without question follow, knowing he could never return to that job. What faith!
How shocking to the Pharisees that Jesus would sup at Matthew's home, with Matthew's friends who also held positions that were regarded as sinful and offensive. They were tax collectors and despised. Why did the Pharisees ask the disciples, rather than ask Jesus directly, why Jesus would condescend to eat with them? Were they afraid of Jesus?
Jesus does not want sacrifice -- mere obedience to the law; he wants to see mercy. He has no calling to minister to the righteous (which I'm sure the Pharisees considered themselves) but to the sinners. However, it seems the Pharisees show some wisdom in not wanting to associate with sinners. They don't want to be associated with evil doers. Don't we teach our children to be judicious about those they become friends with? Haven't we ourselves found that bad company can corrupt? Have you ever found yourself in "bad company?"
Jesus admonishes them to go and learn what he meant, in essence telling them they don't have a deep understanding of scripture. We also, as Christians and sinners, heed the words of Jesus as we strive to learn more and understand deeply. We are sinners, but we have been saved. Praise the Lord!
Thank you Most Gracious Father, for sending your son Jesus to save us from our sins. You continually bless us with abundance, and we humbly accept your blessings. We pray to you in the name of Jesus, our Savior.
Prayer Concern: Those who consider themselves righteous and above others.