“Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy not sacrifice’” (Matthew 9:13).
How is mercy displayed in this parable? Jesus shows it by offering acceptance, a place at the table, to those who had been excluded by religion. Did Jesus do this because the lifestyles of Matthew and his friends deserved it? No, quite the opposite. Jesus showed the Pharisees, and us, what the mercy that God desires looks like. It looks like dropping our demands for what people should believe and how they should behave before we offer them a place to belong. Mercy in place of barriers. We begin, as Jesus did, by offering a place for others to belong, trusting that from there come the changed hearts and lives that Jesus can bring.
Prayer – Lord, show me today what mercy and belonging look like in the life of one person who has been excluded by religion.