I want you to show love,* not offer sacrifices…(Hosea 6:6)


The verse above comes from a passage which, in my bible is entitled: A Call To Repentance. This morning I have chosen a passage from Matthew in which Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6.

Jesus publicly chooses a well known and despised ‘sinner’ whom he asks to follow him and be his disciple. Then he is expected to answer to the ‘righteous’ for his distasteful behaviour. He compares himself with a doctor who focuses his attention and skill on those who are sick and know they need to be healed. The point being, you can’t be healed if you, A: don’t know you are sick and, B: don’t seek the doctor’s assistance.


Matthew 9:9-13 NLT

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum? ” When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

Hosea 6:4-6 NLT

4“O Israel and Judah, what should I do with you?” asks The Lord. “For your love vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight. 5 I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces— to slaughter you with my words, with judgments as inescapable as light. 6 I want you to show mercy* not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.

(* in the NLT it is translated as love, not mercy, but seeing as Jesus is quoting Hosea I have replaced the word as in the NIV and NKJV. The NLT has this in the footnotes: Greek version translates this Hebrew term as ‘to show mercy’. Compare Matt 9:13; 12:7)


It seems fairly clear that no matter how ‘righteous’ we think we are or would like to be, we are all in fact ‘sinners’. But rather than beat ourselves up and others too, we can recognise our need for the doctor and take the medicine! Jesus offers us forgiveness and another chance. I would like to follow Jesus and be his disciple. I would like him to be my doctor.

Today’s readings:

Genesis 26:17-27:46, Matthew 9:1-17, Psalms 10:16-18, Proverbs 3:9-10


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