The Light of Christ Journey

Encouraging people on their journey with Christ

After Matthew had been called by Jesus, he invited Jesus, his disciples, tax collecting friends, other disreputable sinners to a banquet to meet Jesus. It seems that during this party the Pharisees and teachers of the religious leaders were complaining about the people who were there. They asked the disciples of Jesus, who was the guest of honor, how He could eat with such scum. As Jesus responded to their question, He showed them what was important. Matthew 9:12 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.” [1]

What is mercy? Why is mercy so important? Mercy is to have leniency and compassion toward offenders. We have offended God by our sin and deserve His wrath. But in God’s mercy, all those who place their faith in Him receive mercy not justice. Justice is getting what we deserve. Each person who believes in Jesus as their Savior has experienced His mercy.

Jesus did not want the Pharisees simply to go through their rituals, but He wanted their hearts to change. Instead of being self-righteous, Jesus wanted their hearts to be filled with mercy for those who did not know Him. The call of Matthew is just one example of many Bible stories filled with compassion. These stories of compassion are a call and challenge to the followers of Jesus today. They speak of a God who has compassion for Israel. They tell of a Savior who suffers for the world, and then asks us to live and act with the same compassion and mercy.

To help you embrace compassion in your life, I have listed two of my favorite Bible verses that point to a compassionate, merciful God and Savior. May your compassion be encouraged and empowered by the truth of these scriptures.

Ephesians 2:4But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much.

Titus 3:5Jesus saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.”

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To hear more about the call of Matthew, listen here:

[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

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