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MATTHEW 9 (ESV)
1 And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. 2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he rose and went home. 8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
- Jesus’ kingly authority can overcome not only nature and demons (Ch 8), but even human sin. This shows that God was doing a brand new work among men. Jesus raised a dead girl and continued to heal and cast out demons, providing a ministry model for workers in His kingdom.
- The calling of Matthew exhibited Jesus’ calling of outcasts and despised sinners. The Pharisees, with their strict following of both ritual and moral purity, could not understand why Jesus would have meals with these unworthy people. Whom can you identify more easily, Matthew or the Pharisees? Why?
- Do you see Jesus’ calling of you, inviting you to follow Him? What’s your response? Do you enjoy eating, drinking, celebrating, resting, having fun with Jesus?
- Why did Jesus quote “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (v 13)? Could it be because love and mercy reveal that we have a transformed heart, while sacrifice is an outward act that can be done regardless of the condition of our heart?
Prayer & Journaling:
On your prayer journal, as you listen to God, write down a few thoughts, questions, words, names, drawings, or anything that has come to your mind during this time.