“And They Waited To Accuse Him” ( Mark 3: 2, ESV ) by Carley Evans

Jesus is in the synagogue on the Sabbath; a man with a withered hand is also there. The Pharisees watch Jesus to see if He will heal the man unlawfully on the Sabbath. Jesus “grieves at their hardness of heart” and is angry that these religious leaders do not recognize that it is “lawful on the Sabbath to do good” rather than to do or allow harm. (Mark 3:5,4) And of course Jesus restores the man’s withered hand. The Pharisees immediately plot “how to destroy [Jesus]” “with the Herodians.” (Mark 3:6)

Jesus sees Matthew “sitting at the tax booth” and calls to him to follow. “And he rises and follows [Jesus].” (Matthew 9:9) Later, Jesus joins Matthew, other tax collectors, and sinners at a house; He reclines at the table amidst sinners. The Pharisees accuse, asking Jesus’ disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matthew 9:11) Jesus hears. He tells them that those who are well have no need of a doctor while those who are sick need healing. Then Jesus says, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.'” (Matthew 9:13)

“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” as do the Pharisees. “They always go astray in their heart; they do not know My ways. As I swear in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.'” (Hebrews 3:7-8,10-11)

“Impossible With Men” (Luke 19: 10, HCSB) by Carley Evans

“All who see it begin to complain, ‘He’s come to lodge with a sinful man!'” (Luke 19: 7)

Zacchaeus is a sinful man because he is a chief tax collector and most probably extorts funds from the poor.

Looking into the branches of the tree, Jesus “says to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down because today I must stay at your house.'” (Luke 19: 5)

Zacchaeus comes down from the tree, and repents. He speaks of his plans to make restitution. Jesus says, “Today salvation has come to this house.” (Luke 19: 9)

Jesus explains, “For the Son of Man comes to seek and to save the lost.” Jesus promises that He is come to save the sick, not the healthy. He says to the blind man who receives his sight, “Your faith heals you.” (Luke 18: 42) He says to Zacchaeus, you “too are a son of Abraham.” (Luke 19: 9)

When a young rich man who obeys the ten commandments yet will not part with his wealth walks away from salvation, Jesus is asked, “Then who can be saved?” The Lord responds, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” (Luke 18: 26 – 27)

Jesus’ point is that salvation is not possible for us; it comes only through God. “For the Son of Man comes to seek and save the lost.” Jesus says, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I do not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9: 12 – 13)