URC Daily Devotion Monday 20 February 2023 The Rev’d Martin Knight

Monday 20 February 2023
St Matthew 13: 54 – 58

 

He came to his home town and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power?  Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?  And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?’  And they took offence at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour except in their own country and in their own house.’  And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.

Reflection

This passage lays plain the sacrifice of following the way of Jesus.

There are times when being counter-cultural, counter-endless growth, counter-hate, counter-injustice, counter-despair, counter-division can cause offence to those who benefit from or are simply overwhelmed by the comfort of the status-quo.

Am I being pessimistic or realistic when I say that it doesn’t surprise me that in Luke’s account of this story (Luke 4: 16-30), the crowds don’t simply ‘take offence’, they take Jesus ‘to the brow of a hill, so that they might throw him off’?

Any why? Because he points out their lack of care for orphans, widows, and leapers. 

We can see around us the efforts to which people and organisations will go to stop a message of diversity, equality, and hopeful joy, with its ability to raise all humanity and creation to the fullness that God desires and of which, Jesus speaks and shows us through his life, death and new life.

Some thoughts for all of us:

What has your church community done recently that caused offence because of its radical love?

Who have you welcomed and included, causing a scandal?

Has anyone threatened to throw you off a cliff, because you’ve ‘brought good news to the poor and proclaimed release to captives and recovery of sight to the blind’?

It does us good to be reminded that ‘the Spirit of the Lord is upon us, because we are anointed’ as we follow God’s way. Hopefully this gives us the bravery we need to speak truth to power and to light a candle in the dark.

Prayer

Emmanuel.
God with us and upon us.
Strengthen us, we pray, and renew our hope and strength
to be salt and light
and to speak the truth, in love.
Amen

 

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Martin Knight is minister of St Paul’s URC, South Croydon and South Croydon United Church (Methodist/URC)

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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