[After Jesus heard the Pharisees criticize him for eating with tax collectors and other sinners, he said,] "Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: 'I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.' For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners."
— Matthew 9:13 NLT
God has never wanted to condemn. That has never been his purpose. His Old Testament laws were meant to distinguish the Israelites as his people and preserve them from spiritual and physical harm. When people rebel, rather than looking forward to punishing them for their sin, God grieves over his rebellious children. He yearns to bring restoration. When Jesus comes as Immanuel, he teaches and shows that God seriously cares about reaching and redeeming rebellious sinners. Incredibly, both Jesus and John the Baptizer have more success with those who are in outright rebellion than with those who have been inoculated by their legalistic religiosity. Jesus came to the lost, the broken, and the least to save, mend, and make first.
Loving and merciful Heavenly Father, give me a heart of concern for those around me who are lost. I am convicted today of your gracious love and sacrificial concern for those who are caught in sin. Please use me as an instrument to give them hope and bring them to you. In Jesus' precious name, I pray. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Matthew 1:20-21, 23
- 1 Timothy 1:15-16
- Hosea 6:6 NIV
Other Devotionals from Heartlight for Sunday, April 18, 2021
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.