Teenside Daily Devotional

Read Matthew 9:9-13.

This is the account of how Matthew, the author of this book of the Bible, came to follow Jesus. He was a tax collector, probably disliked by most Jews since he would have been required to cooperate with the Roman government. When Jesus said anything to him at all, it most likely came as a shock. The fact that Matthew followed, seemingly without hesitation, shows that Jesus must have carried himself in a very approachable, authoritative manner. This is the simplicity of how Jesus reaches out to us. He simply says “Follow me,” and leaves it to us to decide whether or not we will.

As we can see in verse 11, it was common to lump tax collectors in with the more general term “sinners”. We would expect someone as holy and perfect as Jesus to keep away from anyone regarded as a sinner. However, this is the world’s perspective, not our God’s. Jesus clarifies why he does this in verse 12, leaving a challenge for the Pharisees in verse 13. He claims that he came for the “sick”. This refers to all that bear the burden of their own sin, those that live outside of a relationship with him. This is why he came to earth. He came to teach God’s Will and bear our sin for us!

The quotation in verse 13 is from Hosea 6:6. God does not desire “sacrifice”, or simply religious rituals. He cares so much more about the “mercy” that we show to one another. Jesus leaves the Pharisees with this hoping that they will see that it is more important to show love to “tax collectors and sinners” than to uphold your own religious standing. It is so easy for many of us to fall into this trap. I have often looked down on people in my path, telling myself that I was better than them for some reason. How wrong I was in that thinking! We have all fallen short of the glory of God, and we all need grace. May we cast our pride aside and begin seeing others as God’s children too!

*Take a moment to journal these questions. Write down your thoughts, questions, and concerns. Then date your entry. One of the coolest things is being able to look back and see how God came through for you.*

  1. Don’t miss the heart of Matthew in this story. This is Matthew’s own account of his calling. His feelings about this moment all boil down to this short dialogue between Jesus and the Pharisees. Being rejected is something Matthew would have wrestled with his entire life, but in this moment, He is chosen despite what the Pharisees (the people whose words were the most influential in society) said. Who in this story reflects God’s heart: the religious or the merciful? How can we demonstrate God’s love in showing mercy?

  1. Whether you identify with Matthew (the rejected sinner who felt unworthy of being chosen) or the Pharisees (who upheld the law, but were prideful in their positions) there is something to gain from this story. We are all sinners, in need of a savior who chooses mercy; because without this gift, we would not be seen as righteous (Romans 5:8). Which of these characters do you identify with most? What do you need to take from this story?

Prayer: Spend some time praying about the things you journaled. Thank Jesus that He came for you and has chosen mercy over sacrifice. Ask Him to help you demonstrate the love of Christ in showing mercy to others. Pray for a heart that would see yourself and others through Jesus’s eyes. While you were STILL a sinner, Jesus chose to die for you. And He chose to die for the people who are STILL living in sin. Pray that Jesus would continue to show you how to live a life worthy of the calling you have received (Ephesians 4:1). 

Song: Mercy- Bethel (Amanda Cook)

Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/169Fs68hROYRdS362T8D9w
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