Matthew 9:13 "Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."

Who is this text for? There may be some people who think it is for someone else, they are not sinners. Well, Romans 3:10-11 says "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God." – which means this text is for everyone. Why doesn’t everyone know? Well, if we can talk about the sting of sin – why not imagine being surrounded by a swarm of wasps – the first sting hurts – but after a while, it is said that you grow numb to it – you can get used to sin – and what is worse – when you are surrounded, how can you see your way out of it?

So Jesus has come to call us all out of sin – he leads the way – a way we could not find by ourselves – and so it is right that we call him our Savior, for he has delivered use from a captivity to sin, and he has given us a new life, one where we can feel the sting of sin, and flee from it – fleeing to the arms of a loving God. And that is the center of it all, a loving God – for it is only love that can move God to forgive our sins and to pay our debts.

And that is perhaps the hardest thing for us to understand, for when we see our sins, we cannot understand how anyone could love us, or forgive us -–for we know that we deserve only punishment. Its not that forgiveness is cheap – we know that Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice that our sins might be forgiven. But there was no other way for us to find forgiveness, we could not earn it, and we did not deserve it – but God had compassion on us, not giving us what we deserve, punishment – but giving us salvation in Jesus Christ. And that is why we say that God had mercy on us, because that is what mercy means – not giving what you earn – not giving what you deserve – but giving what we need. And the truly wonderful thing is that God gives us what we need daily, even to the wicked – even without our prayers – so that when we pray in the Lord’s Prayer – Give us this day our daily bread – we are not asking for something which God would not have already given us – rather we are asking that we may receive it with thankfulness.

This is what then brings us back to the text. For when Jesus says: Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ - he is saying that this is the center of what a Christian life is all about – and it is not something new – God first gave this word through the Prophet Hosea. You see, if the point of life, and the point of faith were simply to get saved – once we were saved, once we had come to faith – God would directly call us to heaven. If the greatest thing that has ever happened is the salvation that has come in Jesus Christ – then what God offers to believers in this verse, is to share in the very work of God – by showing mercy to others as God has shown mercy to us. This is how God makes our lives special – and this is why God leaves us here even after we have come to faith – that we might by showing mercy, lead people to the love of God in Jesus Christ that they might be saved.

And while we look forward to heaven, because it is a perfect place prepared for us – you cannot show mercy in heaven – no one needs it, as everyone is already perfect. So God has given us this time on earth and has shown us what we might do with it – to show mercy, as God in Christ has shown mercy to us. That is why each day is special, for it is an opportunity for us to learn more of mercy, and to show that mercy to others – for Jesus sake.