Lenten Devotionals

Saturday, March 9th

Author: Kisha Bumpers
Verse: Matthew 9:9-13, Hosea 6:6
The Call of Matthew

Matthew 9:9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. 10 And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. 11 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 this, 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, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

Hosea 6:6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
    the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
I want mercy and not sacrifice.

Sacrifice is a good thing, especially during this Lenten season. You may be sacrificing by letting something go or by adding something to your busy schedule. My prayer is that your sacrifice will deepen your relationship with God!

In our scripture today the people of Hosea's time and the Pharisees have forgotten the purpose of the sacrifice. In Hosea, the people had become focused only on the ritual of their burnt offerings. In our Matthew passage the Pharisees question Jesus eating with sinners. They were more focused on the rituals and rules of their time than on the mercy and forgiveness that Jesus was offering.

Ultimately, these passages remind me that God desires faithful love over rituals/rules and calls us to love others with mercy and compassion as Jesus demonstrated with Matthew.
God, may I be mindful always that you desire relationship more than ritual. May my sacrifice always be to deepen my relationship with you, so that I can respond to others with mercy and compassion.
Imagine a world where mercy and compassion become greater than any written or unwritten rules about how we treat “those” people. Is there anything you can do today to help make this world a reality now?