Day 2: Hope for the Hopeless

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house. many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with Him and His disciples. When the pharisees saw this, the asked His disciples, "Why does you Teacher eat with the tax collectors and sinners?"

On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Matthew 9:10-12, NIV


Reading through the 8th through 14th chapters of Matthew, one cannot help but be struck by the power of Jesus. As soon as He finished His Sermon on the Mount, He immediately started healing people. He healed a man with leprosy as He was coming down from the mountainside, a centurion's daughter as He walked along the way, and Peter's mother in law when He arrived at His destination, and He cast out demons from two possessed men (Demons were real and were given a time on earth during Jesus' life, if for no other reason than to show Jesus' power over evil). Jesus then healed a paralyzed man, and raised to life the daughter of a grieving father.


In these seven chapters you will read of the historical marvels of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with only five loaves and two small fish, and of His walking on water. It is good to note that Jesus did all of these miracles to ease the burdens of those who needed help, and by these mighty displays of power He proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was indeed the Messiah that had been promised from days of old.


And while these incredible miraculous acts had their intended effect of proving that He was from God, there was something else that I believe is even more significant for us today: Jesus said that He came to call sinners, not the righteous! Since we all have sinned, this is vital because it means that we have a chance to be saved.


Do you see why this is so important? Jesus does not call us because we are righteous; He calls us to be righteous. He gives us a chance to be cleansed from our sins just as surely as the doctor comes to heal those who are sick, not to take care of the healthy who have no such needs. 


Since Jesus did this, it gives us hope! We who are sinners are not wasting our time by reading the Bible, because we have hope! The word of God reveals that the purpose of Christ's coming was to save the lost, so, if you are hesitant to read the word because you think that you have already been too wicked to even be noticed by God, then you are wrong: The Word of God was written so that the spiritually sick could be made whole again, just as surely as Jesus made whole those who were physically sick during His ministry here on earth.


That is why we read the Bible! It has the words of life! It has the path to salvation! It has the message of eternal hope that each one of us so desperately needs. If you haven't already, let me encourage you to take up this thirty day challenge to read every word in the New Testament. It will give you the hope that you may have thought was lost to you, and it will change your life.


"Come to Me, all you who are wearied and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Matthew 11:28-30, NIV


Today is the 2nd day of the 30 day challenge, with Matthew 8-14 being the reading for today. May God richly bless your efforts as you seek to better know Him!