10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matthew 9:10–13, NKJV)
I need God’s mercy, and so do you. We all do, because having sinned, we deserve death (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). Yet, the simple lesson of loving others as God has loved us was lost on the Pharisees – and on some Christians even now (1 Jno. 4:11). Jesus did not tell these sinners, “you get what you “deserve”. Instead, He showed heaven’s love and taught them of heaven’s mercy. Jesus did not cast aside sinners. Neither did He coddle them, condone their transgressions or compromise with their sin. Jesus called sinners to repentance by teaching them God’s truth (v. 13; Lk. 15:1-7). We must this kind of mercy to sinners, remembering it is God’s mercy that saves us that He expects us to show to others. “So it is that Jesus looks for the self-satisfied Pharisees to show compassion to the outcasts instead of rejecting them so firmly” (Leon Morris, The Gospel according to Matthew, 222, Eerdmans).