THE SIN-SICKNESS DOCTOR
God, I praise You for Your mercy, Your gift, Your grace.
Read Matthew 9:9–13
9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect“...by grace you have been saved, through faith... it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8,9)
The grace of God upsets our ways of thinking. From football to politics, national identity to church denominations, we define ourselves by difference. We divide people into “us” and “them.” The Pharisees aimed to live righteous lives by keeping the Law and by distancing themselves from any-thing and anyone they considered unholy. Tax collectors like Matthew were unholy. They were the despised “them” (10). Not only did they collaborate with the hated Roman regime, but they also had a reputation for fleecing their own people to line their pockets.
Jesus doesn’t keep his distance from those the Pharisees would regard as scum (9,10) because his role is to deal with and heal sin-sickness (12). When it comes to sin-sickness there is no “us” and “them” (Rom. 3:10). Consider the groups of people who are despised in your country. How might Jesus want his followers today to show mercy to them (13)? How might we let them know that Jesus wants to deal with and heal their sin-sickness and wants them in his kingdom?
How does the grace of God upset your way of thinking? How are we called to be open to God’s grace to others as well as to ourselves?
God, give me a heart of compassion like Yours. Help me to see others through Your eyes.