9When Jesus was leaving, he saw a man named Matthew. Matthew was sitting in the tax office. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” And Matthew stood up and followed Jesus.
10Jesus had dinner at Matthew’s house. Many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with Jesus and his followers. 11The Pharisees saw this and asked Jesus’ followers, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
12Jesus heard the Pharisees ask this. So he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor. Only the sick need a doctor. 13Go and learn what this means: ‘I want faithful love more than I want animal sacrifices.’ I did not come to invite good people. I came to invite sinners.” Matthew 9:9-13
In my reading today, I was intrigued Jesus’ words to the Pharisees, especially the words “faithful love”. Looking deeper, I learned that one of the definitions of the original Greek word eleos is “covenant loyalty”.
When Jesus said the phrase, “I want faithful love more than I want animal sacrifices…” He was referring to a passage in the prophecies of Hosea, that continues, “…I want people to know me more than I want burnt offerings.”
From the beginning of the earth, God has always wanted relationship with His children. He demonstrated that with Adam, when He walked with him in the cool of the day. He demonstrated that all through the Old Testament, with His relationship with Abraham, Enoch, Elijah, Moses, and many more. And, through Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection, He reestablished the possibility of a face-to-face relationship with Heavenly Father through Holy Spirit.
8I do not scold you for your sacrifices.
You always bring me your burnt offerings.
9But I do not need the bulls from your stalls
or the goats from your pens.
10Every animal of the forest is already mine.
The cattle on a thousand hills are mine.
11I know every bird on the mountains.
Every living thing in the fields is mine. Psalm 50:8-11
He didn’t need the animal sacrifices before Jesus came to the world, because those animals already belonged to Him. He accepted the sacrifices because the blood sacrifice was what temporarily allowed man to be close. Just like He didn’t need the temple to be repaired by King Joash and the priests and He didn’t need any of the new “stuff” bought by the received offerings.
What He wanted then and continues to yearn for today is for me, for all of His children, to seek His face, to desire to know Him, to walk in relationship with Him all the days of my life. It doesn’t matter that I have sinned, that I need(ed) a hospital. He has loved me in the midst of my sin and will forever invite me into His presence.
Yesappa, Thank You for wanting to be in relationship with me. Thank You for providing the ultimate sacrifice through Jesus that allows my sin to be forever washed in the blood. Thank you for loving me before I even knew Your name. Help me to know You better, to know Your heart, Your will, and Your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings – Julie
International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
From the archives. Originally published July 27, 2016.