(Red-letter portions of the New Testament)

Matthew 9:12-13, "On hearing this, Jesus said, '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.'”

Some religious people are self-justified. They think they are spiritually healthy because they are religious and look down on those who are not religious. Jesus says, OK, if you think you are healthy, then you don't need me, so I'm going to the those you say are sick. So, what's your problem?

He then appeals to the religious people's vast knowledge of scripture to remember what the prophet Hosea said, "The sacrifice I desire is mercy, not religious rituals." Jesus said he knew that lesson, so he came to be merciful and share the good news with those who need it.

Jesus said the religious people need to learn that same lesson. Jesus implied to the religious leaders that they were not healthy after all. They need Jesus just as much as the people who aren't religious, because nobody is without sin.

This lesson is one people need to learn in every generation. Some church folks today are good at religious stuff. They are good at sitting still for an hour or good at keeping rules or complying with social norms. Other people have a different temperament and find it harder to sit still and obey social norms or be consistent in religious activities. Those who are good at religion can look down on those who aren't, with a holier than thou criticism.

Instead of being self-satisfied with religious activities that come easier for them, these church folks need to show others the grace God gives them. They need to learn what it means to show mercy and compassion on others. Instead of looking down on them, they need to learn to befriend them, Jesus did.

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