"I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Luke 5:32
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
Putting people down for who they are or what they do has a long history.
During the time of Christ, Palestine was under the rule of Rome. As such, its citizens paid taxes to local Roman authorities. To collect these revenues, the Roman government occasionally appointed Jews as tax collectors. Many Jews, however, found it unacceptable for any Jew to collect tribute payable to the Romans. Consequently, Jews who worked as tax collectors might be treated as outcasts, even traitors.
Jesus Christ, on the other hand, developed friendships with tax collectors and sinners and mingled with them openly. The religious leaders and teachers blamed Jesus and accused Him of questionable behavior. Jesus response was to say He had come to call sinners to turn from their sins.
Jesus still does this today for you and me. He has forgiven my sins. He has shown His love towards me, a worthless sinner. Some people today think like those ancient Jews did: I am not like that person. I am not as bad as he is. Sometimes my self-righteous mind thinks that way, too. Sometimes I believe I'm better than other people.
The problem is that when I think that way it can be very dangerous. It's a train of thought that sees me as better - - more worthwhile, more valuable - - than other people. In fact, it's a train of thought that sees me as a pretty good person. At least, I'm not like that guy.
Don't fool yourself. You and I and those haughty Jews and overbearing Romans and annoying tax collectors have something ugly in common: we're all sinners. Jesus calls us to repent, lay down our sins, and follow Him.
Jesus Christ's atoning work on the cross makes possible a new life, and a fresh perspective toward others. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be transformed through faith into people who understand it isn't our religious affiliation, ethnicity, or political power that makes us worthy: it is simply the blood Jesus shed on our behalf, pleasing and acceptable in the sight of God the Father.
THE PRAYER: O Lord, my Father, thank You for loving me, a sinner. Help me to follow You and Your Word. Through Your Holy Spirit, increase my repentance. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Biography of Author:
Rev. C. David has been the director of LHM-India since 2003; he has worked with LHM-India since 1994. He has a theology degree from Concordia Theological Seminary in Nagercoil, India, and a divinity degree from Tamil Nadu Theological College in Madurai, India.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.