My Daily Journal:
Who are you? What defines you? Is it your work? Your title? Your degrees? The great things you have accomplished in your past? The wrongs you have committed in your past? The pain you have brought to others? The burden of pain that others put on you? Is it a physical characteristic? Is it a physical constraint or illness?
In these chapters of Matthew on the power and authority of Jesus, we also see the transformation that occurs in those He touches. The paralyzed man walks, the angry and possessed find peace, the sick are made well. But with that, their identity is changed. “The paralyzed man” is no longer paralyzed. “The bleeding woman” is no longer bleeding. So what are they then?
In each case they become witnesses. In their words and actions they serve, they obey, but they also are living witnesses to the power and authority of Jesus. They are filled with joy and want to share it with others.
The spiritual leaders of the day could accept this transformation for the blind, sick, deaf, mute, paralyzed, leprous, bleeding, feverish. But not for tax collectors and sinners. That was crossing the line.
The contrast was that they had chosen their path. It wasn’t just something that happened to them, a series of unfortunate events. It was a choice onto the wrong road.
But Jesus calls one and all. His heart is for those on the wrong road to get them onto the right road. He has no desire to make them go backward and retrace their steps down that wrong path, He simply wants to move them, immediately, onto the right path.
For those who had spent their life following the law of sacrifice, this was too much of a short-cut. You can’t just cut over – you made your bed, now lie in it. These sinners and tax collectors should get what they deserve.
In that thinking, it implies they (the pharisees) deserve something else. They have earned their righteousness through their sacrifices and discipline. But Jesus points them back to the teaching of the prophets to remind them that God values mercy above sacrifice.
sitting at his tax booth, Got up, left everything, followed Him, held great banquet with large crowd of tax collectors and others
i. Disciples must deny self, take up cross, follow me
ii. died to sin, live it no more: free from sin, slaves to righteousness
iii. turn to God from idols, serve the living and true God
iv. turn to God from idols, serve the living and true God
How I spend my time and the words I use. Through the love and care I have for others. Where my talents go
They believed themselves to have earned righteousness, yet, they were not humble or poor in spirit, they judged but ignored themselves, they thought themselves spiritual rich, but were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked
He is Lord, God, the Builder, the righteous and just.
those he had called, the disciples/believers
2 Cor 5:17, New creation in Christ Matt 5:17, fulfill the law