June 29 I Wednesday
“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?”
Through Jesus’s teaching, preaching and healing, He was calling people to repentance. The Greek word is metanoia, which literally means “to change our mind.” But if we are honest, change—repentance—is not easy; it is hard work, uncomfortable and disarming. Although repentance for salvation is the beginning for every Christian, when we place our faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross and are born again, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, repentance is not just a one-time event, but a lifetime of learning to walk with Christ.
At the core, we need to change our mind about how we view others and who is accepted into the kingdom all the time; sometimes, it could be with people closest to us like our family members or friends. If we find ourselves avoiding certain people, then we may have missed what it means to follow Jesus, because the sanctification we observe throughout the New Testament does not just make people holy and righteous, but causes us to incarnate amongst the margins of society, to love the poor and to serve among the sinners and the dregs of society.
Jesus did not come for the righteous; He came for the wicked. We may insert ourselves into Scripture, thinking that we are good and that we are the ones who are bringing the good news to others. But the truth is, we are the diseased, unclean, oppressed and broken that we read about. Jesus did not just come to make bad people good, but to make dead people live. Ephesians 2:4-5 tells us, “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
As we go through the Gospels, we find that not everyone who came to Jesus and experienced His healing walked with Him as a disciple. Some simply came for their healing, and when they got what they wanted from Jesus, they went on their merry way and returned to their life of sin. Despite this, Jesus still healed them. He challenged and redefined our definition of love, saying, “You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, love your enemies…He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:43-45). If we only love those who love us back, we are not expressing the love of God.
May we repent of glorifying our own sense of righteousness, and humbly submit to the sanctifying work of the Spirit.
Prayer: Almighty God, I humbly come to repent of glorifying my own self-righteousness. Thank You for challenging and redefining what it means to love others.