My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. I follow the readings and journaling from lifejournal.me. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Do you get it yet?
“But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRECOMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
(Matthew 9:13 NASB)
Jesus is speaking to the religious rulers who believe that they
have their act together spiritually. They have been doing everything
that they can to follow the letter of the law, but in their hearts they
are harsh and stubborn people. They have been studying the scriptures
their entire lives and can quote long passages of scripture. That is
why Jesus responds the way that he does. He tells them to go and
learn what a particular passage means and then he quotes from Hosea 6:6.
These people would have studied the scriptures growing up and they
should have already known this verse which says that God values
compassion, steadfast love, or mercy more than sacrifices. That is,
Jesus is much more concerned about the state of their heart, rather than
a strict enforcement of the law. The love of God should have been
flowing out of them but instead they showed perfunctory service to God
through the giving of sacrifices. But what does it mean to give
sacrifices, if your heart is not right? Jesus knows that they do not
truly understand this scripture and that's why he tells them to go and
learn it, for they will only learn it by putting it into practice in
their own lives. Jesus' final statement is to let them know that he is
not going to focus all of his time and energy on them because he didn't
come to call the righteous (or at least those who are so worried with
proving that they are) but instead is going to go and work among the
sinners. The problem was, they just didn't get it!
The question we have to ask ourselves is whether we get it or not!?
Where do we fit in this story? Are we like those who have had the
privilege of being raised with the gospel? Were we one of those Bible
Quizzers who memorized long passages of Scripture? Jesus is saying that
all of that is fine, but that he doesn't want our long list of "things"
that we have done for him, but instead he wants mercy. Really the two
words become two sides of a coin which ought to go together. It is when
they become separated that we have a problem. When people believe that
giving sacrifices alone is enough to please God, then we have a
problem. However, if on one side of the coin we find the person who
understands mercy, then the result will be sacrifice but out of a pure
heart with right motivation. This is what Jesus desires because he
understands that mercy (love, compassion) really reveals the nature of
God. It is only when our hearts are opened to God and we allow his
nature to pour into us that we are transformed from the inside out.
Then, our lives reveal his nature and in the end we do sacrifice. The
religious folks were trying to do the work from the outside in. They
seemed to believe that if they followed the rules on the outside, if
they offered enough sacrifices that somehow holiness would make its way
in. Jesus knew their hearts and he knew that they just didn't get it.
But I ask the question of myself today; Do I get it? I have been
raised in the church, raised to be a good girl and to serve God, but God
doesn't desire my service to him -- he desires my heart. God doesn't
care about all the "things" we can do for him, he wants us to fall in
love with him. God doesn't want us to be so busy that we are running
out the door to do "things" for him everyday, if we never sit down and
just spend time with him, getting to know him, allowing ourselves to
fall in love with him, and relish in the intimacy of his holy presence.
Jesus told the religious folk -- you don't get it! Go out and REALLY
learn what the scriptures you have memorized are talking about, and then
there will be the "aha" moment where you finally do get it and you
realize that all he wants is you. Does he have it?
Lord, thank you for your patience with us, because sometimes we are slow at "getting it." Amen.