Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Day 20: Matthew 9:1-13 & Psalm 20 - Are You Too Good for Jesus?

Today's Reading: Matthew 9:1-13; Psalm 20

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Are You Too Good for Jesus?

But when he heard it, 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, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” - Matthew 9:12-13, ESV

In today's Gospel reading, we find the scribes and the Pharisees shocked and disgusted that Jesus should pronounce the forgiveness of a paralytic's sins and that he should "eat with tax collectors and sinners." To these objections from the leading religious people in His culture, Jesus asserted His authority and emphasized His mission.

His authority: When the scribes scoffed at Jesus' pronouncement of forgiveness, He replied by demonstrating "that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" by healing the paralytic for all to see. The scribes were the experts in the Law of Moses, the ones who were skilled at interpreting and pronouncing the Law. They knew about condemnation and were scandalized by such generous forgiveness.

His mission: The Pharisees had their turn to be shocked in vv. 9-13, where they were scandalized by Jesus' dinner companions. Surely a righteous religious role model (like the Pharisees thought they were) would never dine with such unacceptable people. But Jesus rebuked them by telling them that He had come for the sick and for the sinners, not for the so-called righteous (which the Pharisees thought they were).  You see, it's not that the Pharisees really were righteous and well. They just thought they were. And because they thought they were, they had no use for a Great Physician Savior.

So, what about us? Are we quick to condemn the sinners and to think ourselves above such people? Are we quick to scoff at the claims of some people to be forgiven, thinking that surely God wouldn't have anything to do with "such people." In other words, do we think we're too good for Jesus? Because Jesus' mission is the same today as it was 2,000 years ago. He came to heal the spiritually sick, to call the sinners to salvation!

Prayer Based on Psalm 20:

May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!    
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary
    and give you support from Zion!

May he remember all your offerings
    and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah

Father in Heaven, You are the Lord Almighty and we are Your people, Your Jacob, Your Israel. Please look on the sacrifice of Your Son and accept His offering of Himself in our place. Look on us with favor as those covered in His righteousness and cleansed by His blood and send us the help we need in the battle to do Your will and advance Your kingdom.

May he grant you your heart's desire
    and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation,
    and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!

Father, we desire to see the name of Jesus praised in every tongue under heaven and to see You gather together a church in every tribe, among every people. Establish the work of our hands to advance the Gospel and bring praise to Your name among the nations. Come and fill our worship with joy and our prayers with holy confidence in You.  

Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
    he will answer him from his holy heaven
    with the saving might of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall,
    but we rise and stand upright.

Lord, our hope for our answer and our salvation lies in You and You alone. Just as You answered Jesus by raising Him from the dead, so You will answer the cries of Your church and make Your people string in You. Please forgive us for trusting in human means and human wisdom to accomplish Your work. Let us trust only in You, O Lord, for You are the One who provides and protects, who brings fruit and grants success.

O Lord, save the king!
    May he answer us when we call.

Father, give Jesus the promised inheritance of the nations as You have declared in Your word. Give Jesus the full satisfaction of the victory He won over Satan on the cross. Let Him see and be satisfied and receive the fullness of the kingdom. We ask this in His name and for His glory, Amen!  

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