037 Go and Learn What This Means – Matthew 9:10-13

by Dan Horner on July 7, 2013

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MemorizeTheBibleWithMe.comCan you imagine dining with Jesus and having him look at you and say:  “Go and learn what this means”?

I think I would have scrambled for any scrap of paper I could find in order to write down whatever he said next.  (I’m a “write it down” person otherwise I tend to forget.)  Well this is exactly what happened at a dinner gathering at Matthew’s home just after Jesus called him to be one of his disciples.

Go and Learn What This Means

And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples.   And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew 9:10-13

Jesus is quoting from Hosea 6:6 where the prophet says:

“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”

What in the world is causing Jesus to say this?

  • To the First-Century Jew, eating with someone was tantamount to friendship.  And Jesus was eating with some people who were not exactly honoring God.
  • The Jewish Religious Leaders (Pharisees) taught that you had to keep yourself “clean” by separation from those who were not devoted to The Mosaic Law.
  • Tax Collectors were hated.  They were considered traitors to their own people because they joined the Roman system and partnered in oppressing people by extracting the Roman Tax.  And remember, whatever they extorted above the Roman Tax was theirs to keep!  (By the way, Matthew was a Tax Collector.)
  • This elaborate “keep yourself away from people who don’t honor God” system had drifted far from what God intended and Jesus confronts them and shines light on their wrong belief.

Jesus is describing the heart of the gospel.  He points out that:

  1. He is not as interested in religious rituals as you may think.  (i.e. “sacrifice”)
  2. He actually desires that we notice, take interest in and care for those “sinners” who are far from knowing Him.  (i.e. “mercy”)
  3. He basically says there’s something special about someone who needs Him and knows it, versus someone who needs Him but doesn’t acknowledge it.  Ouch!

This is why He says:  “For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” v. 13.

So why memorize this verse?

Because it is very easy for anyone who has been choosing to follow Jesus and put his teachings into practice, to forget who they once were and start to think they have God all figured out.

When this happens we naturally, if we are not very careful, get prideful and begin to pull away from people who don’t know God.  Before long we forget who we once were, and ignore who it was that Jesus came to seek and to save.

We risk forgetting that Jesus:  “… came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

So when Jesus said:  “Go and learn what this means.” It just seemed like a set of verses I wanted to memorize.

I hope you think so too.

Thanks once again for joining me on this journey to memorize key verses out of the Bible.

If you have a suggestion for a verse to use in the future, feel free to leave your idea as a comment at the bottom of this post or drop me an email at Dan@MemorizeTheBibleWithMe.com

Thanks and have a great week!

Dan

Dan@MemorizeTheBibleWithMe.com

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Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version ® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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