Not just the righteous: Matthew 9.9–13 (28 June 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, prepare me to receive your word. Clear my mind and warm my heart. Assure me of your loving purposes for me, and speak into my life today.

Reflect

Daily reflection: Matthew 9

While Jesus’ calling of his first fisherman disciples looks almost random, his calling of Matthew is quite deliberate – but again, it’s not because he was particularly qualified. He is a tax collector, or employed by one. As such, he’s aligned with the Roman enemy, responsible for keeping the Jews poor and oppressed. While he might be welcomed back into the fold if he left his job and was suitably repentant, a respectable Pharisee wouldn’t associate with him until then. Jesus does call him to a better way, and Matthew follows him.

The story isn’t quite as simple as one sinner repenting, though. Naturally, Matthew’s friends and acquaintances are also outsiders, but Jesus meets and eats with them at his house. To use language we’ve come to understand very well, he’s not afraid of being infected by their sin; there’s no social distancing for him.

The problem with the Pharisees – devout, serious-minded people who tried their best to do God’s will – was that holiness all too often became about what they didn’t do. It was about avoiding sin and sinners, a negative virtue. This is a very recognisable approach among Christians today, too. But Jesus turns that on its head: he went where sinners were. Rather than being afraid of being infected with their sin, he infects them with his grace.

It’s understandable and healthy that Christians want to be with like-minded Christians. But if we’re really serious about following Jesus, we need to be willing to sit with outsiders, too.

Pray

Pray

God, I’m sorry if I have distanced myself from people who aren’t like me and don’t know you. Help me to follow Jesus in this: break me out of my comfort zone, and let me be a channel of your grace.

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