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.” Matthew 9:12-13 NIV
Jesus went out. Multitudes gathered around Him. He taught. Along the way He saw Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. His words were simple: “Follow me.” And Matthew did. He invited Jesus into his house. Matthew prepared a meal and invited his friends. Of course the Pharisee’s began questioning why.
Jesus gave them a homework assignment: “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ In this reference to Hosea 6, priests were compared to marauders lying in wait to ambush a victim. They were called villains. In this word of God from the prophet Hosea, he referenced the faithless and treacherous ways the Israelites had dealt with God. Hosea called them out for harlotry and idolatry. He was beckoning the children of God to come back to Him so they could be healed. Here Jesus does the same with the Pharisees, referencing this familiar teaching.
The pride of the Pharisees had twisted their hearts. Jesus came to restore joy, heal hearts and make people whole again. Jesus was looking for those that would pursue Him with their whole hearts.
Father, circumcise my heart of pride. I pray I pursue you with my whole heart. Thank you for your mercy and grace. I pray I am full of mercy and grace toward others as you have been with me.