In Matthew 9 we see a lot of things happen. Jesus heals and claims to forgive sins and is held to be Blasphemous. He associates with the dregs of society and is considered immoral. He raises the dead and is said to be under the influence and power of Satan. Why does Jesus get all this push back for doing good? Simple. He is exposing people for who they really are. In offering grace to people who aren’t worthy he exposes the religious elite for their bigotry. We see this come to light at the end of Chapter 9 as Jesus looks with compassion on the people and sees “sheep without a shepherd.” It should have been the role of religious elite, the Pharisees and the Sadducee to help these people come closer to God. But where Jesus looked upon the people with compassion, the elite looked upon them with contempt.
As much as I enjoy focusing on what the Bible says and how it speaks to us, I do not live in a vacuum. While part of my job is to help people better understand the Bible and how through it they can better know God, another part is to show how the Bible speaks to us about what we are dealing with today. Sure its great to know what happened to whom and when, but it is much more helpful to know that even though we aren’t in the exact same situation, we can still learn valuable lessons, have our faith increased, and get closer to God. So what does this have to do with all the tumult going on in our world today? The question “who is worthy” must be asked and how you answer it will reveal a lot.
So who is worthy of love, of grace, of compassion, of forgiveness? Who is not worthy? Is there any who are or are there any who aren’t?. What makes someone worthy and another person not? Are they just a terrible person who goes around kicking puppies and stealing ice cream from kids? Have they committed horrible unspeakable crimes against humanity? Or on the other side, are they practically perfect in every way? Do they give all they have away to help the poor and needy, recycle everything correctly, and never do or say anything offensive to anyone? Is there anyone you look at with contempt and declare they are not worthy? If so what are you basing that on and what gives you the right to make such a statement?
The truth is none of us are worthy. Paul reminds us that we all fall short of the Glory of God. Go back through the sermon on the mount and see how many sins and transgressions you have committed and how far short you come to the standard that God has provided. If you read it honestly, you will come to the same conclusion I did. Without Christ I have no hope. I am so far in the hole I could never climb out. It is only because Christ looked upon the people with compassion that we have any hope at all. We are not worthy and have no basis to declare anyone else not worthy either. Sure we can talk about their sins or crimes and how their lifestyle doesn’t meet expectations, but neither does ours. Maybe I haven’t committed sins like Murder, but I have hated and felt a grudge so I am guilty. I have broken one law so I have broken them all.
I am a traitor to God and deserve death and eternal separation from Him. I am not worthy. But when He saw me He looked with compassion not contempt. As Christians we are called to do the same. So the next time you see that person you don’t agree with, the one who talks or acts differently, has a different lifestyle, has made different choices, don’t declare them unworthy just because they don’t meet your standard or anyone else’s standard. At the end of the day the only standard that matters is God’s and we all miss that one. We are called to love them and that means compassion and grace. Forgive as you want to be forgiven. Give grace as you have recieved it. This is a lesson we all have to work on.
So as you look around you…who is worthy?