March 15, 2011

Wednesday, Day Seven

            The Lectionary

Morning - Psalm 26, Ezekiel 2, Matthew 9:1-13          
Evening - Psalm 4, Psalm 16, Ezekiel 3:16, 2 Corinthians 4

Matthew 9:1-13

 1And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.
 2And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
 3And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
 4And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
 5For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
 6But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
 7And he arose, and departed to his house.
 8But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
 9And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
 10And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
 11And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
 12But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
 13But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.


Matthew 9 finds our Lord again in dispute with the Pharisees.  The climax of today's reading is verse 13, "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."  The Pharisees' values were wrong.  They valued show and pomp.  Jesus values real faith and obedience.  His concern is that sinners (and that is all of us) are running to hell with all their strength.  His concern is to save them from the awful consequences of actually and eternally reaching that goal.  He not only calls sinners to repent, but also gives Himself as the ransom for their sins.

            Devotional Thoughts

One of the things we give ourselves to in Lent is the serious examination of our values.  We will honestly ask and answer probing questions about them.  What do I value in life?  How do I know that I value it? How are my values formed?  What do I allow to shape my values?  Do I value humbleness, kindness, honesty, and integrity?  What personality traits do I value in others?  In myself?