Archive for November 27, 2010

v4.16 Go Ye and Learn

Go Ye and Learn

“But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matt. 9:13

There is much to learn from our Lord. The way He walked before men, the words He spoke, even the simple acts He performed. Everything was holy unto His Father. He did not “try” to do things before men. He just kept in tune with His Father – what He saw the Father doing, what He heard the Father saying, where He saw the Father going.

For whatever reason, He sets apart this little event, this snippet of a vignette, and wants us to concentrate some thought on it. He wants us to reflect on this scene and its little drama so we might, “learn what that meaneth”.

Here is the setting for the passage to bring the perspective into a meaningful context:

“And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matt. 9:9-13.

“As Jesus passed… he saw a man… sitting” I bet you have seen men sitting before too. There they are, just busy with the work of the hour. How did Jesus see him? He saw him there and somehow knew that His Father had chosen him. Jesus did not pick him out, nor did He randomly choose Matthew. God was doing something in Matthew and Jesus saw him.

Jesus always does what He sees the Father doing. Wouldn’t you like to see what the Father is doing? Not nearly so much as He would like you to. Learn what that meaneth.

But Matthew was a “sinner” in the eyes of the Pharisees and Pharisees don’t associate with sinners. Their eyes are purer than can behold evil (at least that is the gist of it). They have set a distinction between their righteous behavior and the behavior of those who would collect taxes. There is within us and them the temptation to the thinking — “We are righteous, they are sinners.” Learn what that meaneth.

The Pharisees had a certain contempt for “sinners” that Jesus never had. Have you noticed that Jesus never condemned sinners for being sinners? There is something about having a low, humble, accurate opinion of yourself when you see yourself as a sinner that makes you approachable to hear the gospel. There is something amazingly attractive to God about a broken and contrite heart. These God will not cast out, “a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17. Learn what that meaneth.

Where the Pharisees openly displayed their contempt and lack of mercy for sinners, Jesus showed mercy. What is noteworthy is that Jesus had compassion on sinners and not the righteous. Rather, His greatest contempt and display of righteous anger was directed at the “righteous”. Learn what that meaneth.

Who were the Pharisees? They were the evolutionary products of what was once a group of men called to serve God and represent His Kingdom interests in administering grace and mercy through a system of sacrifice. They were a tangible example of what the perversion of the heart does to the will of God when corrupted by the thinking and traditions men. Learn what that meaneth.

The Pharisees considered themselves righteous by their actions and condemned those who did not display the same external conformity to the Law as sinners. “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” 2 Tim. 3:5. They had ritualized the internal righteousness of God’s mercy, shown outwardly in the sacrificial system, into a system of external conformities. Learn what that meaneth.

Here is the point that God in Christ is making: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” It is the knowledge and acceptance by confession before God that you are sinner, that keeps you on the mercy seat, unable to judge others. God desires mercy, not sacrifice. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8. Learn what that meaneth.

Have we come so far from this today? Are there not large groups of men and women that put robes on each week and join in the procession of the sacrificial system, conforming to a mesh of man made traditions and thinking far from the intent and purpose of the original design? A kind of us and them attitude that permeates all of it? I believe our righteousness is a stench in the nostrils of God. Learn what that meaneth.

There are those who are seeking God’s mercy and those who are not. The (self)-righteous do not need a physician, but the sick. I see my Father showing mercy to the sick and having a certain contempt for the righteous. I only do what I see my Father doing.

I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners. Learn what that meaneth.

Quote Title Quotation Source
The Plumbline of Truth Because God is holy he hates all sin. He loves everything which is in conformity to his law, and loathes everything which is contrary to it. Arthur W. Pink – The Attributes of God, circa 1940, copyright 1975 Baker Books
A Total Wash and Blotting Out Not only shall they perish themselves, but their way shall perish, too. The righteous carves his name upon the rock, but the wicked writes his remembrance in the sand. Charles H. Spurgeon – The Treasury of David abridged by David Otis Fuller, circa 1880, © 1968 by David Otis Fuller, Published by Kregel Publications
The Humility and Joy of Bowing Low It is always so. Our choicest blessings invariably come to us by descending; our richest benefits come by going downward. We stoop to conquer. The farmer bows his face toward the earth both to sow the seed and to reap the harvest; the miner goes below for the precious things of the earth; the loveliest streams flow along the lowliest valleys; the sweetest flowers flourish in the shadiest dells. F. W. Boreham – The Heavenly Octave: A Study of the Beatitudes, Copyright 1936 by F. W. Boreham
For His Good Pleasure Again, let a tradesman but have this intention and it will make him a saint in his shop; his everyday business will be a course of wise and reasonable actions, made holy to God by being done in obedience to His will and pleasure. He will buy and sell and labor and travel, because by do doing he can do some good to himself and others. But then, as nothing can please God but what is wise and reasonable and holy, so he will neither buy nor sell or labor in any other manner, nor to any other end, but such as may be shown to be wise and reasonable and holy. He will therefore consider not what arts or methods or application will soonest make him richer and greater than his brethren or remove him from a shop to a life of state and pleasure; but he will consider what arts, what methods, what application can make worldly business most acceptable to God and make a life of trade a life of holiness, devotion, and piety. This will be the temper and spirit of every tradesman; he cannot stop short of these degrees of piety, whenever it is his intention to please God in all his actions, as the best and happiest thing in the world. And on the other hand, whoever is not of this spirit and temper in his trade and profession, and does not carry it on only so far as is best subservient to a wise and holy and heavenly life, it is certain that he has not this intention; and yet without it, who can be shown to be a follower of Jesus Christ? William Law – A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, circa 1728; Random House Inc. © 2002
Working In Obscurity Much of God s work is done in secret because you would not die to yourself if He always visibly stretched out His hand to save you. God does not transform you on a bed of light, life and grace. His transformation is done on the cross in the darkness, poverty and death. Fenelon – The Seeking Heart, circa 1690, copyright Christian Books Publishing House
Other Gods Begin In The Mind The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act of worship has taken place. When they knew God, wrote Paul, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Then followed the worship of idols fashioned after the likeness of men and birds and creeping things. But this series of degrading acts began in the mind. Wrong ideas about God are not the only fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true. A. W. Tozer – The Knowledge of the Holy, © 1961 Aiden Wilson Tozer
Prayers That Toss To and Fro on Your Lips Jesus Christ did not say, Ask what you like, and it shall be done unto you, but ask what you will, ask when your will is in the thing that is a real problem to you, and God has pledged His honour that you will get the answer every time. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
God Made A Way, Where There Was No Way In Jesus, every obstacle has been removed out of the way of your immediate forgiveness and acceptance. The dying Savior put away sin, bearing our offenses in His body on the tree, reconciling the world to Himself. You may not believe this, or feel the joy of it, but that does not alter the fact that it’s true. F. B. Meyer – The Best of F. B. Meyer, circa 1910, © 2006 Cook Communications Ministries
In The End, It is You and God After All Jesus himself, Lord and God, whose virtue could neither receive increase in the secret of the desert, nor be impeded in a public place, nevertheless, so that he might instruct us by an example, was proved by fasting and temptation in solitude before he preached and performed miracles (Matthew 4:1-11). Scripture also says of him that leaving behind the crowds of his disciples he went up the mountain alone to pray (Matthew 14:23). As the time of the passion already grew near, he left the apostles and went alone to pray (Matthew 26:39-44), showing us especially by this example how much solitude aids prayer, since even though the apostles were his companions, he did not wish to pray along with them. Guigo I – Carthusian Customs – circa 1120; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
Defiance is Indefensible It is not your ignorance, nor your deception, nor your foolishness that will not allow you to die to Self and submit to God but Pride in all its flaming glory that will not allow you to confess your dependence on others and God. Pride is the life-blood of Death. Tom Van Hoogen
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