Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Go & Learn

"But go and learn what this means: I desire compassion, and not sacrifice, for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Matthew 9:13

During my college days, one of my professors said something that I will never forget. He said that the point of college was to learn how to learn. Simple yet insightful. In life, God desires that we continue to learn. Learning involves listening, admitting mistakes, seeking after the truth, and most of all-obedience to the Word of God. 

I read this verse from Matthew and recently preached on it. I sincerely asked the Lord what it meant. I knew the meaning of the words on the page, and I understood the sentence structure, but what did it really mean? I can see in my mind's eye that Nazarene man standing in the dusty streets of the Middle East surrounded by people who both hated and loved him and pointing right at one of them and saying "go and learn what this means." 

It feels like He is saying it to me too...as if there is so much I have to learn about Him and His ways...

I believe there are 4 things I learned. 

1. Jesus can use UNUSUAL people 

A few verses before verse 13, the Bible tells us about what Jesus was doing before He made that statement--He was calling people to Himself. He was calling an unusual person to Himself.

That person was Matthew. The Bible says "As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector's booth; and He said to him, follow Me! And he got up and followed Him."

Matthew was an unusual person for Jesus to call to become part of the Dream Team, but He did. Matthew's job as a tax collector was a hated position. Why would Jesus call someone so hated? Doesn't that seem unusual?

He still does the same today. Jesus can use unusual people. He can use people that wouldn't see themselves as usable. He can use those who have been through tremendous difficulty, or bad marriages, or severe addiction, or personal ridicule, or intense hurt. The Master can use experiences like these in ways we would never imagine.

Go & Learn What This Means

Not only does Jesus use unusual people, but I see a second thing in the text. 

2. Jesus attracts a WIDE RANGE of people

In verse 10 the Bible says "then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and the disciples."

Jesus wasn't doing any miracles...He was just in the house. His presence attracted a wide range of people. I believe the biblical Jesus will attract a wide range of people. We don't know the motives of those who were there. It is clear from the text that not all were followers--but they were interested in something--or should I say someone. 

If our churches do not attract a wide range of people, maybe Jesus is not in the house! When Jesus is in the house not everybody is going to look like you, dress like you, or think like you. Jesus never walked around with a body guard keeping people away from Him that wanted to be near Him. Our job is never to keep people away from Him but invite people to meet Him. 

Go & Learn What This Means

Jesus can use unusual people, Jesus attracts a wide range of people, but also:

3. Jesus gives attention to HURTING people

"It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick." Matthew 9:12

I heard a statement that I want to share with you. GOD LOVES YOU BUT HE REALLY LOVES THE LOST.

That statement does not suggest there are different degrees of God's love, but it does serve as an amplifier for how we understand God's love and concern for the sinner. Sometimes in church we lose sight of that. We forget it is the message He showed up preaching. 

"For the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost." Luke 19:10

Sometimes the most broken of people feel as if they are too broken for Jesus. That is the furthest thing from the truth. Jesus gravitates toward the broken when they admit they are broken and desire His help!

Jesus gives attention to hurting people. 

Go & Learn What This Means

4. Jesus desires HEARTFELT people to follow Him

Verse 13 says "But go and learn what this means: I desire compassion, and not sacrifice, for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Jesus quoted from Hosea chapter 6 in the Old Testament. Go read that chapter when you have time. The people of Hosea's day were full of ritual but possessed no heart to it at all. Jesus used Hosea as a backdrop to explain what God really wants. He wants a person's heart. 

Go & Learn What This Means

God desires you to serve Him with all your heart. Go and learn how to truly do this. We don't have much we can bring God in terms of skill and perfection. In fact, we are all insufficient in those areas as it relates to God. What He wants is nothing other than heartfelt relationship. Heartfelt relationship will produce good works that He has placed for us to walk in, but make no mistake about it, He just wants you! He doesn't need your sacrifice because He became the perfect one.

Go & Learn What This Means