Hi all, it’s David here with today’s lent reading. I’ve done mine in written form - hope that’s ok!! It’s from Mat 9:9-17:
“9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. 10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’[Hosea 6:6] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. 16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Mat 9: 9-17)
Both of the episodes in today’s reading tell us something about God’s “new covenant” with humankind. The religious leaders of the day were incredulous that Jesus chose to welcome and eat with people considered as outsiders and “sinners”. Jesus instead focuses them on God’s desire for mercy. He came to call people who recognise their need for forgiveness – and this offer is open to all. In the second part, there is a comparison of the new and the old. No use clinging on to the old covenant, or trying to mix and match the two. Jesus brings a new covenant between us and God, based on God’s love, mercy and forgiveness - thanks to Jesus’ upcoming death and resurrection.
I think there is another challenge here for all of us. God meets us as we are, but doesn’t leave us in the same place. “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Cor 5:17). God wants to transform us in Jesus’ image (Rom 8:29, 2 Cor 3:18). Are there old things that I am hanging onto, rather than letting God make me more fully into the person he intends me to be?
As a response to this passage, let us:
1) Be encouraged. Jesus’ call goes out to all, even those that others might write off;
2) Be challenged. What old things might I need to give up? What new ways might God want to transform me to become more like Jesus?
A short prayer:
Lord God, thank you for your great love for us. Thank you that you reach out to us. I pray that you would come, and transform me more and more into the image of Jesus Christ. I ask for your Holy Spirit to guide, challenge, and help me. Forgive me for the times I get it wrong, and help me to serve you in the newness of life that you give. Amen