READ : Mark 2:13-22
The Son of God came to earth at Christmas. As an adult He carried out a ministry with one purpose, to help people. But as time passed the opposition of many people against Him mounted, until finally they crucified Him. First we see the criticism of the Pharisees, very religious people but very superficial. They thought they were better than everyone else. But Jesus was concerned for people who had messed up their lives. Today there are many people doing this; let us be as concerned for them as Jesus is.
Jesus was in a crowd, but saw an individual, Levi (Matthew), a tax collector. In those days the Jewish tax collectors worked for the hated Roman government, and kept a good share of the taxes for themselves. They were collaborators and cheats. People hated them.But Jesus cared about them. He called Levi to leave his old ways and follow Him. As we enter a new year, let us leave old ways that are unworthy of Jesus and follow Him more devotedly.
Jesus was criticized by the followers of John the Baptist. To them fasting was important, but it wasn’t to Jesus. In responding to them, Jesus speaks of the old and the new. In Jesus something wonderfully new has happened. May we experience that new way of life more fully in the New Year before us. Jesus wants us to have new priorities and new joy.
Father, help us to do Your will, and when we are criticized, to respond with graciousness. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.