Skip to main content


I am working my way through Matthew slowly, focusing in on how Jesus responds and interacts with others and how to model life after him. In Matthew 9 Jesus is seen hanging out with non religious people. In fact, it wasn’t just that they weren’t religious but scripture says they were sinners, and tax collectors. While we might not love the IRS, the place tax collectors had in Jesus’ day were on a whole other level. Tax collectors often taxed people extra just to line their own pockets and were often labeled as traitors because many were Jews who worked for the Romans. Not people you’d want to be hanging out with. In addition to the tax collectors mentioned in this passage, it says Jesus was hanging out with sinners. The NLT version calls them scum. Yikes. 

To make this more applicable think of someone among us today that is considered disdained? Who is seen as someone you wouldn’t want to be around because of their beliefs, their lifestyle, their orientation, or their livelihood? Put those people around the table with Jesus and imagine him relaxed and eating, poppin some olives in his mouth, enjoying his company (Jesus had just been healing a lot of people, dealing with a storm and I’m thinking he was happy to relax for a bit) and watching the religious people flip out about it. 

They are not happy! They are wondering what the heck Jesus is doing. In fact, they ask Matthew why Jesus is hanging around these people and Jesus overheard. I find this interesting because I’m sure they meant for Jesus to hear.  At this point I’m realizing that when Matthew got up and followed Jesus leaving behind his tax collecting days, his transformation was real and instant. How else do you explain a household of people mixed with both the religious and non-religious and Jesus with his disciples!? You know, those people wouldn’t have just come in unannounced, they were there on purpose. They were all invited to the table. 

I’m guessing the religious people were wondering why Jesus didn’t take up the chance to call out their sins, maybe bring up a conversation about the way they were living their lives. Maybe the religious people were so ticked off that Jesus was just chilling and not defending himself, their view of religion or anything else. He didn’t seem concerned about any of that, but more about just being present. The religious leaders call Jesus out and he quotes a passage from the Old Testament he knew they’d all be familiar with. It’s from Hosea 6:6 and it says “I desire faithful love, not sacrifice” In Matthew it says “I desire mercy not sacrifice”. So what does that mean?

In the book of Hosea, Israel has returned to God but they have returned without repenting. God is looking for a changed heart, for a right relationship, but the Israelites just go through the motions, their rituals if you will. They make their sacrifices but there is nothing more. Maybe today that would look like showing up for church, going to Sunday School, giving your 10% and posting about doing your devotions daily. Maybe you fast and post scripture online. This whole thing, it’s relationship driven and it’s not one way- God desires it. The Israelites and us get it wrong so often. So Jesus is pointing to this passage to make a point. The religious leaders care so much about rules, following a script, participating in rituals and but that’s not what Jesus is concerned about. 

God doesn’t want our empty rituals and our feel good actions, but a heart that is in right relationship with God and others. What does that look like? In another Old Testament passage it says “Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” Amos 5:23. The Message says this: 

“I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.”

Mic Drop. 

Are we just making noise? Are we just causing arguments on social media feeling justified because we use scripture? Are we changing our cymbals about loving others but not actually doing the hard work of loving others? Are we wailing about freedom forgetting that the reason we have freedom is for the sake of others and not ourselves? 

Right relationship with God and others looks like justice, it looks like living out what has been modeled to us by Jesus. It looks like going places and doing things that are counter culture to many religious ceremonies or traditions because maybe we’ve gotten lost along the way and we have forgotten what it looks like to pursue holiness, righteousness and justice.

Look up the scriptures mentioned and read them a few times slowly and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you. What word or portion of scripture stood out to you the most? Spend some time sitting with the following reflections: 

  1. Am I willing to sit in uncomfortable places in order to be like Jesus? 

  1. Am I willing to admit going through the motions has left me feeling numb, empty and hopeless? 

  1. Am I making noise or am I making a difference? 

  1. Am I interested in seeking out community with people who aren’t like me for no other reason other than to be in  relationship with them or am I always looking for an angle to confront, call out, “speak truth”? 

  1. How can I move forward in my own repentance this week that allows for personal transformation that then allows for others to see Jesus in me and not an agenda? 


Popular posts from this blog

Win a custom header and grab button!

I'm super excited to have already reached 50 followers on my new blog here! I promised a giveaway and so here it is! Melanie over at Elegant Custom Designs has donated her time and skills to design a custom header and a grab button for your blog! She does beautiful work, so I know you will be quite pleased! This includes installation if you are a Blogger user. If you use Word Press you will get the code, but you will have to install it yourself. :) Here is how you can enter to win and make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry! Mandatory entry : Leave a comment letting me know you are a Google follower! Extra Entry : Follow Melanie at Only a Breath Extra Entry: Tell me why your blog name is what it is! This giveaway will end on Friday April 1st at 8:00pm West Coast time :) I will announce the winner that evening (if I can get on the computer hehe) Good luck :)

BeautiControl Giveaway!

Have you heard of BeautiControl? This is an incredible line of skin care products that truly work ! It's skin care, bath and body, makeup and men's care! When I was pregnant a friend of mine who sells this came over and pampered me and a few friends, and then I started using the face system just before the babies were born. It did wonders. Then I ran out, and I put it off and my skin got bad again. And then about 2 weeks ago I started using it again. Wow. A visible difference in just two weeks. It looks better and feels better! Face Lift Line I am super picky about my skincare items, and I don't buy just anything.  Plus, I still struggle with breakouts. This stuff not only smells amazing, and makes my skin feel incredibly soft, but it does it's job. They have a huge line that you will have to check out, just go over to their website and browse around! You can see if there is a consultant in your area and host a spa party!!! Today I am giving away a Chocolate Indulgence

What’s more lame than having one type of cancer? Having two.

I had two colon polyps that popped positive for cancer. The thing is, they were in such different places they are considered two different cancers. Colon stage 3a and Rectal stage 3b . What’s more sexy than that?  My 5 weeks of radiation and oral chemo was to kill off any remaining cancer cells in the rectal area because even though my surgeon (while tactless) actually did an amazing job by literally remaking that whole area internally and avoiding any sort of colostomy bag- you can’t guarantee you got it all. So standard practice is always pelvic radiation for that area.  The chemotherapy infusions are to make sure every last naughty cell in my body is gone. Because I had it in one of the lymph nodes they removed, it showed this cancer was able to travel which is how cancer spreads to your other body parts. If it wasn’t in the lymph nodes yet chemo wouldn’t have been necessary. So glad we caught this when we did and that I actually had symptoms to warrant a colonoscopy. Often times th