You matter to God. That’s the conclusion we can draw from the Gospel of Mark, which is today’s daily devotional for January 12.
Here again, anger poured out against Jesus. This time, Jesus receives condemnation for inviting a tax collector to become a disciple. The anger is even greater when Jesus sits down with the tax collectors and the sinners at the same table for dinner. This provokes another conflict between Jesus and the representatives of the official religion.
Devotional for Today January 12
When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (full text at Mark 2:13-17)
It is clear that not only in our days, but also in Jesus’ times, political correctness was demanded. For example, if anyone dared to speak differently about the traditions of people, or about the political concept of the Kingdom of God, what the official authorities had prescribed, they would be sanctioned.
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So it was with Jesus. He tore down, one by one, the spiritual prisons that the spiritual leaders and authorities had created with the help of religion.
Practical Expression of Faith
Levi’s vocation has nothing to do with romance. Perhaps in later centuries, this story of Christianity turned out to be very romantic. But in reality, in Levi’s vocation, the will of God and the practice of faith meet. In other words, it is a perfect example of theory becoming practice.
A tax collector serving the occupiers had no chance at that time neither in society nor in religious life. It was believed that God would reject such a person forever.
God’s Love Transforms Lives
But Jesus brings this man out of his hopeless isolation into the circle of his closest friends.
The invitation to follow Jesus is not just an invitation to give information about God and faith. It is a radical renewal of a personality, a transformation of a whole life.
In the house of the tax collector, many different kinds of people gather. All of them can safely be called sinners. But Jesus sits with these people at the dinner table and rejoices with them in the goodness of God.
In doing so, Jesus brings God’s mercy and grace into this nest of sin. He brings salvation to places that seem impossible.
Even the worst sinners cannot keep their hearts hardened and yield to God’s grace. That’s where the miracle comes in.
Meanwhile, people who claim to be believers oppose and contradict Jesus.
You matter to God
Jesus as Messiah clearly demonstrates God’s position: Everyone matters to God. You matter to God. God does not want even one person to be lost.
This principle of God’s action is something we must learn. If we want to see the world through God’s eyes, we must learn to see each person through God’s eyes. Everyone should be important to us, too.
Prayer for Today
Lord Jesus, the greatest miracle in human life is that you, as God, personally stand at a person’s door and knock. It is an unimaginably precious gift that when a person opens the door of his heart, You come into that home. You come in as a guest. What could be more wonderful than that? What could be better in life than to sit at the same table with You and have dinner with You. I ask Lord that today this dream of mine may come true. Amen.
Also read: Devotional for January 11