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Devotion #6 – Tuesday February 16

Sharing Mercy – “I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” Matt 9:13
How much like our Master are we in this regard? Are we more zealous for our reputation than we are for His lost sheep? With whom do we fellowship? If we placed ourselves at this dinner at Matthew’s house, would we be more likely to react like the Pharisees or like the Savior? Our answer to these questions tells us whether or not we have forgotten where we come from.
Jesus ate with tax collectors – traitors to Jews, treacherous moneygrubbing extortionists. He also mingled with prostitutes and other unsavory characters, so much so that He was accused of gluttony and drunkenness. Why would the Messiah allow His reputation to be so tarnished? Because the Gospel was meant for these.
Is it meant for us too? What about those of us who claim no such degradation in our past? It’s there. It may be buried deep within us, and we may have covered it well, but if we don’t know it’s in there we’re likely to become like the Pharisees at Matthew’s table. We’ve forgotten that it was once just as offensive for Jesus to dine with us.
Anyone who is appalled at the depravity of someone doesn’t understand the gospel. In order to understand the gospel, we must begin by knowing that we are all children of Adam and, as such, are partakers in the rebellion common to man. That this rebellion manifests itself in one person as murder and in another as a selfish fib is no matter – it all comes from the same seed. Some sinners are more whitewashed than others, but rebellion is at the core of us all. Knowing this does not leave room for the mind of a Pharisee – it casts us on our faces, grateful for His mercy. Know this gospel of mercy, savor it, never forget it. And welcome others into it. “Mercy imitates God and disappoints Satan.” – John Chrysostom

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