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.’[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
In this passage Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6. It is in direct reference to moments when his people are better at religious observance rather than showing the very grace of God that those rituals were meant to symbolise. The reason why they would sacrifice was to lean upon the mercy of God, yet in this moment they ridicule Jesus for faithfully demonstrating the heart of God. The other stark comparison is that when Jesus says ‘I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners’ he wasn’t making a distinction between the tax collectors and Pharisees. He was actually talking about them all being the sinners he came to call.
Who is around my table? Who are the people I eat with, hang with and dine with? Are they people that would offend my religious sensibilities but reflect the heart of God? Jesus sought out the broken, the hurting and the controversial characters of his day. Their dirt didn’t rub off on him, he was covered by the righteousness of God. I am deeply challenged to continually make sure I am not surrounding myself with an echo chamber of Christians but relentlessly seeking those that the heart of God longs to show mercy towards.
Jesus, continue to bring people into my heart and life that need to know you love, goodness, and truth. I thank you, father, that you showed mercy to me that I might show it to others.