Tag: tax collectors

“Where are you?”

Scripture reading:  Genesis 3-5, Mark 2

Key Scriptures:  Genesis 3:7-9  “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.  And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.  And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 

When the first man and woman sinned by disobeying God’s word, God took the initiative and went looking for them in the garden.  He called out to them, not because He didn’t know where they were or why they were hiding. He exchanged their fig leaves for bloody skins.   Similarly, Jesus Christ sought out lost children of God and called them to Himself, that they might be with Him and learn God’s heart for those caught in Satan’s snare!  Through Jesus’ blood covering, all who responded would be healed from sin’s grip.

Mark 2:16-17  “And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to the disciples, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”” 

Faith Confession and prayer:  Lord, Here I am!  I have strayed from You but through the call of Jesus Christ, I am now following the path of a disciple and learning Your ways.  Send me out today in the power of Your Spirit to preach the Good News and call the lost home to You.

 

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Does God love the IRS?

Scripture reading for January 10th: Matthew 9:1-17, Psalm 7:10-17, Proverbs 2:16-19

Have you ever been audited by the IRS?  Did your IRS agent invite you over to his or her house?    Jesus came by Matthew’s tax collection booth and called him to follow.  Matthew responded by leaving and following Him.   He invited Jesus to come over to his house and Jesus came and ate and laughed with Matthew’s “sinner” friends, causing quite a stir among the religious community!

“When the Pharisees saw this, they asked the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  On hearing this Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:11-13)   Jesus loved all men, but He could only bring health to those who realized that they were sick.  Those who could not admit that they needed a doctor would not find healing.  Likewise, those who could not confess sin would not find repentance.

This is the danger of religion.  Religion reduces our righteousness or spiritual health to some man-made rules that we try to keep.  We are told that if we just do this or confess to that, all will be well with our soul.  The Pharisees of Jesus’ day meticulously tried to keep God’s law and judged those who did not do all that they had commanded.  Their pride in their religious good works blinded them to their need to confess and repent from their own sins.  (1st John 1:9)

Our Father sent Jesus to walk and live among His people, demonstrating His love and desire that all would repent and be made righteous.  Our righteousness is a gift of God by grace through faith in Jesus, not the result of our keeping His laws or man’s religious rules.   (Ephesians 2:8-10)  Jesus loves all sinners, even tax collectors like Matthew!  Responding to Jesus by repentance and faith leads to following Jesus and eternal life!  Praise the Lord for His mercy!   Thank God Jesus loved sinners enough to call them to follow Him and them eat and laugh with them!   May we show Christ’s love to the  lost and hurting people we come in contact with each day!

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