“When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Matthew 9:12-13, NLT
These two verses are a challenge. They fit together like old watch mechanism, small gears and wheels in precise motion, keeping time in a treasured grace. My father had an old one, used once by a train conductor. It was made of gold, and had been used for almost 100 years.
The complexity of these verses were never meant to confuse the disciples. But for them it is simple, “to go and learn.” Certainly, there are times we will be ‘schooled’ in what we learn. And really the only way to approach this is in humility. Trying to extract the truth will take patience and a broken heart.
Jesus states the truth of being a doctor, and there is a singular work that a doctor does. It is serving all who come to him with sickness or injury. Jesus clarifies a truth that has to be in place.
“Go and learn what the Scriptures mean when they say, `Instead of offering sacrifices to me, I want you to be merciful to others.’ I didn’t come to invite good people to be my followers. I came to invite sinners.” v.13, CEV
“Go and learn!” This implies that there are lessons for us, classes that we need to take in order to grow-up and touch sick and desperate people. Funny, but it’s all about mercy, and nothing to do with “sacrifices.” Mercy is what matters. “I want you to be merciful to others.”
I admit that I’d rather be merciful, than to be right. (It’s good to be both.) But mercy– and gentleness should be our driving impulse. These attitudes assist us to move us forward. “Go and learn.”
The last verse reveals the thinking that Jesus has. He has come to help those of us in trouble. The good people don’t understand, after all, isn’t their ‘sparkly goodness’ enough? As his disciples, we share our faith to all; but maybe we should consider the weak, poor and the sick already prepared for the words of Jesus? “Go and learn.”
“Discipleship is a lifelong process and journey rooted in a relationship with Jesus, whereby we become more like Christ.”
- A Hospital for Sinners (focusedandfree.com)
- Our commission to spread God’s word, everywhere. (awaked21.wordpress.com)
- Your Father is Merciful – trinity 4 sermon – presentation of augsburg confession (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)
- “For I Desire Mercy, and not Sacrifice” (johnstob.wordpress.com)