Jesus was not known for aggressive behavior, but following His triumphal entry He zealously drove merchants out of the temple area, overturned the tables of the moneychangers, and barred people from carrying merchandise through the temple courts. What would ignite such a response from our Savior? Nothing short of love for the lost, whose access to the atoning grace of God was being blocked by commercial interests. Our Lord’s first advent was marked by a passion to reach the lost; a passion He imparts to us as we await His second glorious advent.
In Jesus’ day lepers were helpless, isolated, and hopeless. They faced shame, rejection, and ultimately death. Yet at the hand of Jesus they found cleansing and life. We, too, have a terminal disease far worse than leprosy called sin. Yet at the hand of Jesus we find cleansing and life through the Savior whose compassion on the cross knew no limit.
Matthew Levi’s dream job had become a nightmare. He had gotten rich, but at the expense of becoming an outcast from his own people. Worst of all, there was no way out. He was trapped in the snare his own hands had created. But into his world of merited misery came the unmerited love of Jesus Christ. The One who was born to die showed undeserved grace to a sinner in desperate need. Praise be to God, He continues to do so today!
Just as our bodies hunger for food each day, so our souls hunger for the God who made us. Without him we remain restless and unfulfilled, dead in our sin and unable to live life as he desires. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son so that every hungry soul who feeds on him by faith might have hope through the True Bread of heaven, given for us.
Despite having lived with Jesus his entire life, James failed to recognize Jesus’ true identity, message, or mission. But once his heart was changed by grace, the record of James’ failure became the foundation of a fruitful ministry to God’s people. So it is with everyone who knows the grace of Christ. He uses even our past failures for His glory!
Among the many blessed attributes of Christ, none surpasses His sheer holiness. While not always perceived outwardly, it was the driving force behind His earthly life and ministry and remains the eternal basis of our salvation and comfort as we trust in Him each day.
Like the disciples, we often have a backward view of service because of the backward nature of our hearts in sin. Only Jesus' atoning work on the cross can change our hearts and unlock the service God created us to offer.