Pastor Joynt's Devotionals

Invitation, Week 6, Day 38

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MATTHEW 9:11 | When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Matthew was not an isolated case in Jesus’ ministry. He was part of a pattern. A pattern that was so unusual it discredited Jesus as a possible Messiah in the eyes of the authorities. Rabbis avoided sinners and reprobates and traitorous tax collectors. They never had table fellowship with them and certainly never ever invited them to be friends and followers.

Surely this meant Jesus was not serious about law following and obedience and that he was unconcerned about holiness? What else could onlookers conclude?

The other possibility is that he was zealous for holiness but understood it differently. Jesus redefined holiness, not as separation but as connection with the struggling; not as purity, apart from the wayward, but as involvement and engagement with them.

What does holiness look like to you?

How do you seek it?

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Invitation, Week 6, Day 37

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MATTHEW 9:10 | And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples.

Matthew’s life tells us something very profound. Change is possible. We are not stuck. Even terrible choices and disastrous deeds can be overcome. We can start over. Our lives can be valuable and important even if they have been squalid or broken.

Matthew was hated by his contemporaries, at odds with his faith, had thousands of critics on his Twitter feed and no likes on his Facebook page. But he left his betrayal behind, he became a disciple, a friend, an original leader in history’s greatest movement, a gospel writer. Jesus specializes in turn-arounds.

Pray for someone you know who needs to start over.

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