Daily Devotion for September 26, 2009
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Renewal and Peace
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day; when I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted.
Through Christ I pray,Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live together in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Community of Prayer
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Gospel of Matthew 9:9-17
Eating with Sinners
As Jesus departed [Capernum], he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the place where tolls were collected; and he saith to him, "Follow me." And Matthew arose, and followed him.
Later, when he sat down to eat at the house, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to his disciples, "Why is your Teacher with the publicans and sinners?" But when Jesus heard this, he said, "It is they who are sick that need a physician, not they who are well. Learn what this signifies; I desire mercy, not sacrifice, for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."
Then some disciples of John came to him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?" And Jesus said to them, "Why would a bridegroom's friends mourn while the groom is with them? The days will come when the groom will be taken away from them; then will they fast.""No one patches an old garment with unshrunken material; when it shrinks, it will make the torn spot even worse. Neither do men put new wine into old wineskins; the skins would burst, and the wine be spilled, and the skins ruined. They put new wine into fresh wineskins, so both are preserved."
Note on the Scripture
The Old Testament or First Covenant between God and the Israelites was based on an extensive code of laws regulating behavior, diet, and other aspects of daily life. These are called "Mosaic laws" because they originated with Moses. Two very prominent Mosaic laws are referenced here: First, the Hebrews were prohibited from eating with Gentiles; and second, the Hebrews were required to fast at various times.
The analogy to old and new wine, or raw and shrunken fabric, are a little hard to follow today. Christ's point is that his life and gospel are new, and are thus not necessarily subject to the old Mosaic laws of the First Covenent. This principle will become extremely important in the years after Christ's death, when many of his followers are dumbfounded at the idea of spreading the gospel to non-Jews or at least to people who do not follow Judaism's intricate code of diet, worship, sacrifice, hygiene, etc., and especially the Hebrew religious ritual of infant circumcision.
The literal meaning of the two analogies deals with how natural materials were aged in the period. Cloth gradually shrank, as it sometimes does today; if you patched an old garment with newly woven cloth, the patch would shrink and pull out the seams where it was sown onto the garment.
The wineskins mentioned were made of the entire skin of a goat, trimmed a bit and then sewn to be watertight. "New" wine, which had not completed fermentation, would be put into a raw wineskin. As the wine finished fermenting, the carbon dioxide emitted by the fermentation process would stretch the wineskin like a balloon. But it was a one-way balloon, because the stretched skin lost its elasticity. To put new wine into a fully-streched old wineskin would make it pop; apparently, even fresh wineskins would occasionally pop.
Inside I am like bottled-up wine,
like new wineskins ready to burst.
– Job 32:18-19