Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Thought for Tuesday 20 January 2015

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’  For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”  Matthew 9:12-13 NKJV

The Pharisees had just challenged Jesus after He had called Matthew to join them, and they were all seated together.  The Pharisees wanted to know why Jesus would deliberately choose to “eat with tax collectors and sinners” (vs 11). 

It is an honest question given that the Jews had strict rules about who should be allowed to mix and mingle with them.  Moses had warned the Israelites repeatedly, before they were to enter the Promised Land, that they could be easily enticed to turn their backs on The Lord and follow other gods. 

It is also a question Christians are compelled to ask as well.  We do have a commission to “teach” and we do have an obligation to introduce our Lord to the wider world outside of our own.  Yet we are also as committed to the reality that we are lead sinners out of the lives they are living and into a life with Christ and His Church – not to get stuck in the mud with them. 

So there is that fine line between fulfilling our task as ministers of the Gospel and keeping ourselves pure and fit for holy service.  So it follows that Jesus quotes the prophet Hosea in understand The Lord’s people are called, first, to be a people of mercy and compassion.  The religious rules (i.e., “sacrifice”) have no meaning apart from the lives we are called to lead.

This means we can be the most devout Christians on the face of the planet in attending to Scripture studies, tithing, and worshiping faithfully. None of these things have meaning, however, apart from understanding what mercy and compassion are about.  It is the difference between what we do and who we are.  We must worship, we must tithe, and we must attend to the study of the Scriptures; but these are merely “things” if they do not in themselves define the essence of who we are called to be

So who are we?



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