Mercy & Sacrifice, New & Old

We can learn and yet be ignorant. We can study and still not have understanding. We can be in the time of prophetic fulfillment and still miss it. These statements are an expression of what we read in Matthew 9:9-26

Jesus called Matthew, a tax collector! In that time such folks were considered the scum of the days, thieves and traitors, the worst of sinners, who were working for the Roman government. Matthew was seen as a representation of the Roman oppression, which Zealots, like probably Peter, would happily stab, since they provoked the anti-national life of the Jewish people.

To add to the sorrow of the Pharisees and probably the disciples of Christ, Jesus is eating with a whole bunch of them. In this setting, the Pharisees are provocatively questioning the belief of the disciples concerning Jesus, the Messiah. Can you see what is happening? The Pharisees are pointing to their earthbound understanding of who Jesus is not, but Jesus flips this and points to purpose and the nature of God.

“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.”

Jesus is saying with a few words to the Pharisees, If you can understand what is amiss with these people than you would have helped them, because this is what the Lord desires you to do. Jesus is quoting Hosea 6:6. This verse is part of a scriptural passage, where the Lord is calling His people to know Him and to live from a place that acknowledges Him. A place of obedience and reverence for Him

It is from a place of knowledge of Him, that are actions must flow. It is from a place of relationship and understanding of Him, that love should flow. When we know Him, we know that He is after a quality of heart that honors Him and seeks His will.

Jesus was showing the precise heart location of God for these people, which is compassion and love and the need to show them the way of Lord. The Pharisees had studied about God, but they were still ignorant about the nature of God and His purpose with their appointment.

Today, have we learned what God is after in our day and in our context?

Then Jesus gets another question from the disciples of John. This is not a provocative question, but one from a place of concern with a twist of accusation. However, this concern was based on misunderstanding. “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?

Fasting in the day had to do with a cry for the revealing of the Messiah. It was a sign of weeping and mourning, expressing the desire for the days to be shortened and that God’s righteousness be revealed. Jesus answered by saying two things. The first thing Jesus is saying to John’s disciples is that this is the time of the prophetic fulfillment, I am the Messiah and I am now in your midst. This is the time for rejoicing. That type of fasting is no longer necessary.

The second thing that He is saying is that there will come a time that another type of fasting will break through. This other type of fasting should be an expression of a new design, a new pattern or a new time.

John’s disciples did not see that they were living in the time of the prophetic fulfillment. They did not recognize the Messiah. They could not see that a new season had arrived. Beloved, when the new is manifested from the heaven, there is an absolute requirement to properly respond to the new. A new revelation of Him, should call us to a new way of response and a new heart location.

No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Today, may we also walk from a place of understanding of who God is and may we respond to every bit of revealed knowledge of Him given by Him, with an adjusted heart position and an adjusted lifestyle.

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