Read Matthew 9:10-17.
Devotion by: Melissa Meiner
Today’s passage is busting with grace and mercy. Let’s see how:
Jesus was having dinner with Matthew and His friends, who were considered sinners in that day. Matthew used to be a tax collector, and tax collectors weren’t highly honored in that culture. They were known to be slimy, swindlers, somehow always stashing extra cash from the common people for their benefits. Even the very fact Jesus was hanging out in the midst of “sinners” was a beautiful depiction of grace. You see, their past didn’t freak Jesus out. Your past doesn’t freak Jesus out. I think we can relate to Matthew and his friends in this portion of the story.
Jesus didn’t dismiss what the Pharisees were saying, although they were incredibly rude and pious. In that culture, they considered themselves to be upstanding citizens who tried desperately to follow every single rule given in the law (all 613 of them!). But in reality, they tended to be extremely judgmental and hypocritical. Instead of shunning them, Jesus decided to gently teach them through parables riddled with grace about a new day that was dawning and would stretch into eternity. He met them where they were and showed them a better way. Jesus wants to meet us where we are, and He desperately wants to show us a better way.
Lastly, we see Jesus quote Hosea 6:6 as He states, “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” Jesus’ entire mission while on Earth was to help people know more of who He is. He doesn’t need our offerings, our gifts, our actions. Can you imagine how much freedom Matthew must have felt when he heard Jesus talk about how He wants to know us on an intimate level, even through our sin-stained behavior?! Wow! I’m praying you can experience that same freedom today!