Between Sundays for Week of June 12, 2023
[Jesus said,] “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12-13)
Matthew 9 features the call of Matthew, a tax collector. We read how Jesus says, “follow me” and Matthew immediately obeys. It’s remarkable! But that’s not all that’s remarkable. In addition, we see Jesus follow where Matthew takes him – to a dinner filled with friends and fellow tax collectors. Jesus follows the synagogue leader to his home to resurrect his dead daughter. Jesus follows the tug of a woman who touches his cloak and turns to see her face and speak to her. Being called by Jesus means being followed by Jesus!
In worship on Sunday, Pastor Amy told us that in Greek, the verb we translate as “call” can also mean “invite.” As we follow Jesus throughout Matthew 9, we see the varied people he is inviting to be part of his movement. Their qualification is not their great faith – though some of them do display great faith. What moves Jesus to invite them is their acknowledged need for his presence in their lives. As one writer says, “people [we] look down on, or distrust, or otherwise disrespect, While we are counting them out, Jesus is inviting them in.”
When Jesus calls us to follow him, he also begins to follow us into our lives. He desires to know you and the challenges you face, the friends you gather, and the secret places you keep hidden. And what Jesus offers to each of us is the healing hope that only he can give. In Jesus, God is present to us offering us love, mercy, forgiveness, and saving help . . . today and always.
Wherever we are planted, Christ follows!
P.S. Don’t forget to send us pictures of your marigolds! Alive, wilted, or dead!
Following Jesus is a recurring theme in the gospels. Jesus calls and people follow. Sometimes people follow without even being called. In today’s passage from Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26, we glimpse the variety of people who follow Jesus and are reminded that the following doesn’t end when the call comes!
He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him,“Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.
unsuspecting, unprepared, unqualified, you are called.
The call is not about your powers or skills.
The call is to be the one you are created to be,
with all the gifts of the Spirit you’ll need to do that.
The call is to follow Jesus
in whatever unexpected way he turns up in your life,
to bring your weakness and your not knowing into his friendship,
to hand over your gifts without knowing how he may use them.
The call is to walk with him,
to hold the space while he does his miracles.
He needs you. Just keep him company.
Stay close enough to his light that you yourself are radiant.
Read more poems and listen to recordings of the poet reading them at https://unfoldinglight.net/