Following is Not About Popularity
Updated: Mar 26
Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
Do you notice a trend as to when Jesus is calling His disciples? While they are working - Peter and Andrew were fishing, and left their nets in the water; James and John were mending nets and left their boat and father to follow Jesus; and today we see Matthew sitting at his money collecting booth and he left the booth when Jesus called him.
This is the same Matthew who this book is named after, as it is believed he wrote it. His need of keeping precise books in his tax collecting probably aided him in writing his eyewitness account through the power of the Spirit.
After calling Matthew, Jesus and His disciples are invited to the new man's home for dinner. Now this was no shabby meal as Matthew invited his friends. His tax collecting buddies would have been used to the finer things in life and would have expected the same of Matthew. But the Pharisees were flabbergasted by the mere idea of Jesus eating with such lowlifes. But Jesus was not intimidated by these snide remarks which weren't even directed to Him but to His disciples.
Jesus doesn't just let the moment pass without pointing out the very reason for calling the "likes" of Matthew. Jesus called those that would follow. He didn't call the religious leaders because they didn't want to follow, they loved to lead. Jesus quotes from Hosea 6:6 telling the Pharisees to go learn the meaning. What does it mean? Mindful rituals are not true belief. True belief in Jesus means following Him, not just the rules. It is Jesus' desire to bring sinners to repentance. Those who are self-righteous (those who believe they are doing everything right already) don't feel that they have things to repent. His desire hasn't changed. Do you see your own sins? Do your sins grieve you?
Making it personal
Read Psalm 139:23-24. Can you honestly pray these verses to God? Do you truly wish to know the ways you offend God so that you can repent of (acknowledge, confess, and turn from) your sins? Ask God to reveal them to you so you can repent.
Making it personal kids
Have you ever said that you were sorry just because your mom or dad told you to but you didn't mean it? Jesus says that isn't really being sorry. Jesus wants us to be truly sorry when we hurt someone and that means being sorry to Him first because He is the one we are really hurting when we do bad things.
Father, please show us our sin so we can truly repent and live wholeheartedly for You because that is the true way that we follow You in the way of the cross. In Jesus' name, amen.