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Jesus Came to Call Sinners

Matthew 9:12-13
On hearing this, Jesus said, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill. But go and learn what this means: "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.' (NIVUK)

God is not looking for good people! That seems to surprise many religious people who think that God will accept them for all the good things they try to do ... but it is not true. Jesus is quite emphatic - He did not come for healthy and righteous people, but for sick sinners.

Neither does He take pride in the best of our offerings, or commend our pride in presenting the best to Him. Instead He delights to show mercy to the weakest and most fallen of sinners who come to Him in repentance and faith. Jesus expected His followers to learn to be merciful too. However it is not a natural idea to proud human beings (and all of us are in some way or another). It is a part of the new way of life which we can only learn as we follow Jesus.

But, it is a hard lesson to learn, because it goes right against the grain of the world and our own sinful hearts. We would rather condemn or ignore sinners, than show mercy; and rather show other people the sacrifices we are prepared to make to God, than welcome sinners who cannot help themselves. They need the help of Jesus, as did the corrupt tax officials and the immoral women (Matthew 9:10-11). When the grip of sin binds people into a sick lifestyle, only the power of Jesus can release them.

When Jesus calls sinners, He does so because He wants them to belong to Him. Their sin is to be covered by His blood, and their guilt removed by His mercy; their future is assured by His grace. It is a most remarkable message of hope for the hopeless and yet all too often the church plays sanctimonious games, with everybody pretending how good they are! That was not God's purpose in sending Jesus; and His real purpose is only obscured by such hypocrites. Let's get real with God's purpose and start to love the unlovely, and tell the hopeless that Jesus is calling them. Some of those people are around you today - watching your life and hoping that you might lead them to Jesus.

Merciful God. I praise You for Your mercy to me, in letting me hear the call of Jesus, and allowing me to come to Him with my sin. In Him I have found true love and forgiveness. However, I have not always been so welcoming of other sinners, nor have I always shown then the love of Christ. Forgive me for my worldly approach to religion and transform my heart so that I may learn to become more like Jesus; and learn to lead others to Him. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams