We often envision Jesus as a teacher, but rarely do we imagine him giving people a homework assignment. However, that’s exactly what he does in this passage. He gives his listeners a metaphor to explain what he’s doing, and then he gives the Pharisees an assignment: “Go and learn what this means.”

Pray through this passage and then go do the homework Jesus assigned.

“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.””‭‭ (Matthew‬ ‭9:10-13‬)

Ask Jesus what it means that he desires mercy, not sacrifice.

Ask Jesus how you may be offering sacrifice, not mercy.

Ask Jesus how you can more fully become a person of mercy.

Pray: Jesus, I recognize that I need your restorative work in my soul. I need you to be the great physician you claimed to be. I know that you don’t heal me because of religion, but rather through relationship. I want that real relationship with you today. I want to hear your voice and know your presence. As I do that, help me become a person who generously gives mercy to all those whom I encounter. Today, help me see the world through your eyes that I might be your hands and feet. In the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit, Amen.

By Ryan Paulson

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