Pastor Joynt's Devotionals

The Other Jesus, Part 3, Week 3, Day 5

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MATTHEW 22:9-10

‘Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

With Israel largely refusing the call and invitation, the king tells his servants to invite “everyone you find” in the “main intersections.” (NRSV translates as “streets.”) The main thoroughfares were in the populous Gentile cities, and these verses extend God’s invitation dramatically in a two-fold way. First, Israel’s Messiah becomes the world’s savior, bringing non-Jews to the banquet of the Son. The ethnic and religious and cultural extension is also a moral one: “they gathered both good and bad together.” In parable form, Jesus here foreshadows the reach and mission of the church and the new unbounded parameters of God’s grace.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, help me not to draw a rigid circle around the holy and unholy, the deserving and the underserving. Grant me the spirit of these servants who gathered the good and bad and invited many to the celebration. Thank you for not restricting the circle of your grace to a limited few. Bless your worldwide church in its worldwide mission. Amen.

 

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The Other Jesus, Part 3, Week 1, Day 6

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REVELATION 2:5b

“If not, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”

The Christ who walks among his churches is vigilant and will not tolerate communities that become unloving. Everyone can contribute to the personality of VPC. Faith communities do have general personalities, atmospheres that are noticeable and real. Each of us, in the way we treat one another, and in the way we greet visitors, helps to shape our communities’ prevailing character.

Sadly, the church at Ephesus did not heed the warning! Early on it had zeal and love, as Paul remarks in Ephesians 1:15 and 5:3-17. But the Ephesian church did lose its lampstand—both church and city have vanished from history. Many churches today are also disappearing, failing either in zeal or in love.

PRAYER

Gracious God, help me to contribute, in small and real ways, to the loving atmosphere of my church. Grant me a character that is non-judgmental, patient, and forgiving. Let me encourage others toward truth and faith. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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