For I have come to call not the righteous… Matthew 9: 9-17 Jesus sits with the marginalized of his society and the Pharisees are wondering why. Essentially he explains that a person in need of a doctor can’t be helped from a distance. The patient either has to come to the doctor or the doctor must go to the patient. There was a time in our society when doctors made house calls all the time. Today with advanced mass transportation we encourage people to come to us, forgetting that even in our society today, for various reasons, the marginalized still exist. For various reasons, they can’t or won’t come to us. Yet, God desires that every one be saved and every opportunity we take to reach out is a collaboration with the Gospel to sit with the marginalized, in order that all may be restored and preserved in that relationship between God’s creation and the divine.
Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Matthew 9:9-17 Jesus is sitting at the table with tax collectors and sinners, those marginalized by society, treated as unworthy and shamed for having done something “sinful.” When pressed by the Pharisees to justify himself, Jesus challenges them with a statement straight out of Hosea (6:6), the prophet commanded to marry a prostitute! Part of their challenge is understanding where they fit in the story. By sitting with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus demonstrates that no physical sacrifice takes the place of God’s mercy and grace for his people. Jesus, like Hosea joins himself with the lost and the marginalized. His purpose is first to heal, redeem and reconcile them back to God. If the Pharisees see themselves as the righteous and their knowledge of the law as a gift, the challenge is clear; they too are charged to show mercy. What are our gifts? Where do we fit in the story? I’ve come to understand that the gifts God has given us is not about us. It’s about God using us through those gifts, in order that everyone has the opportunity to sit with Christ at the table of mercy, receive healing, and be redeemed back into His fold; tax collectors, sinners and Pharisees alike.