Matthew 9:2-13 (NRSV)
Jesus forgives sin and calls sinners to service
And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." Then some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming." But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Stand up and walk'? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" - he then said to the paralytic - "Stand up, take your bed and go to your home." And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings.
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him.
And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" But when he heard this, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."
Today’s devotional is just chock full of spiritual nuggets that have blessed my life! Unfortunately I can't share all of them because of limited space, so I'm going to beg your pardon and jump straight to the heart of the today's GOOD NEWS message. Aren’t you glad that Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick”?
This commentary from Jesus came about after some of the Pharisees saw Jesus eating dinner with people with whom they would never have associated. In response to this shocking sight the Pharisees asked Jesus’ disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
My goodness—what a self-righteous question! Aren’t you glad that Jesus is not like those Pharisees? The Bible teaches us that time and time again Jesus chose to create intentional relationship and fellowship with people others had cast aside in judgment.
I am so glad that Jesus chooses to sup with us sinners! I am so relieved that he enjoys the company of those who are aware of their great need of him. I am so thrilled that rather than pushing us away from the table, God invites us in, again and again!
What wonderful GOOD NEWS!
Now let me say this, during the season of Lent, many of us become acutely aware of our sin-full-ness. Some of us might feel so embarrassed and ashamed that we seek to run away God. Don’t do it my friends, this is a terrible mistake!
Instead, every time you feel the desire to run away from God (which is impossible anyway), I want you to do the exact opposite for scripture teaches us that “God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love (Joel 2:13)”!
Listen, God knows everything about us and still God loves us passionately! God sees our mistakes and yet God still desperately wants to be in fellowship with us. This is why Jesus said, in response to the snide self-righteousness of the Pharisees, “Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."
Oh! Can’t you hear the voice of Jesus calling, “Follow me”?
Look, God loves us so very, very much that God gave Jesus upon the cross to secure our eternal relationship with him! I am so excited to be called a friend of God and I know you are too!
God loves us. God gave Jesus for us. God saves us from all of our sins. My heart overflows with joy when I hear the words of Jesus, “Take heart, your sins are forgiven!”
Who do you know who has experienced the condemnation of the world? Will you invite them to fellowship with Jesus today?
Loving God, I thank you that you have invited me to your banquet table. I am honored that you choose to fellowship with me. Please help me not to stand in judgment of others, but rather to invite them to the table as well. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Today's song, "Friend of God" can be purchased by clicking the link to the right.
All of the other songs that have been shared on this blog can be purchased by clicking the words Good News Living at the top of the red box to the right. Find your favorite songs under “Pastor Yolanda’s Favorite Music.”
Would you please be kind enough to answer the one question survey to the right?
We now have enough people interested to start the Good News Living Book Club! On March 1st, I will release the title of our first book! Please mark your calendars for our very first book club meeting to be held on Saturday, March 28, 2009, at 9:00am.
You are invited to leave comments or questions regarding today’s devotional. These comments are public.
EACH ONE--REACH ONE! To share GOOD NEWS with a friend please click the "Share With Friends" button to the right! Thanks for reading and please come again.
Pastor Yolanda extends a very special welcome to our friends reading outside of the United States of America! We are honored that you are sharing with us today.
from Pastor Yolanda's blog http://aintathatgoodnews.blogspot.com