Before Samuel Morse invented the telegraph and the International Code that bears his name, creative people have always found ways to secretly communicate. In the first century, Jesus spoke in parables to convey nuggets of truth. These interesting stories illustrate important facts about life. However, these allegories are meant to make people think, pondering the hidden meaning within each parable. This style of communication often dumbfounded Jesus’ own disciples, seeking private meetings to make sure they correctly interpreted and understood what Jesus was trying to say. Unfortunately, when you can’t figure out life on your own, Jesus isn’t around anymore to ask in person.
On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners,” Matthew 9:12-13.
After healing a paralyzed man in his home town, Jesus shares the passage above. The first part of this verse makes sense, the sick need a doctor as the healthy have either learned to self medicate or don’t have a life threatening condition that requires immediate attention. The second comment requires further thought, Jesus desires mercy, not sacrifice. Since Jesus is likely addressing the Pharisees who witnessed this miracle, sacrifice can be seen as a form of teetotalism. Following a set of rules perfectly will always result in failure, disappointment or frustration. Realizing the limitations of the human body, Jesus urges individuals to offer mercy to all, even for those who don’t deserve it. While this may not be exactly what Jesus means, it’s a good place to start.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need, Hebrews 4:16.
The author of Hebrews builds upon desiring mercy. Without mercy, you can’t comprehend grace. Thus, when sinners are forgiven, especially those who deserve punishment, the human mind struggles to fathom this concept. Meanwhile, those who go and learn what Jesus means are able to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence. However, when you can’t figure life out on your own, Jesus promised to leave behind a counselor, John 16:13. This invisible presence will guide you through periods of darkness. Sometimes you might think God’s Spirit has left you, but it’s likely the Devil trying to convince you otherwise. Press on and don’t give up as the Holy Spirit is waiting to help you figure out the mysteries in life.
by Jay Mankus