Archive for the ‘Matthew 9’ Tag

Devotion for Saturday Before the First Sunday in Lent, Year B (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   1 comment

Calling of St. Matthew Caravaggio

Above:  The Calling of St. Matthew, by Caravaggio

Image in the Public Domain

Knowing One’s Need for God

FEBRUARY 20, 2021


The Collect:

Holy God, heavenly Father, in the waters of the flood you saved the chosen,

and in the wilderness of temptation you protected your Son from sin.

Renew us in the gift of baptism.

May your holy angels be with us,

that the wicked foe may have no power over us,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 27


The Assigned Readings:

Psalm 32

Psalm 25:1-10

Matthew 9:2-13


For your Name’s sake, O LORD,

forgive my sin, for it is great.

–Psalm 25:10, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)


How happy are those who know their need for God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

–Jesus in Matthew 5:3, The New Testament in Modern English–Revised Edition (1972), J. B. Phillips


The emphasis this time, in contrast to the previous post, is the individual.

I lift up my soul….

Forgive my sin….

Then I acknowledged my sin….

“Blessed are the poor in spirit” is one of those well-worn King James phrases which requires explanation.  It refers to those who know their need for God and act accordingly.  Each one of us needs God, of course, but some are oblivious to that fact.  St. Matthew, originally a literal tax thief for the Roman Empire, knew his need for God and acted accordingly.  The paralyzed man with friends carrying him might have known of his need for God; the text says nothing about that point.  His friends, however, were acting based on confidence that Jesus would heal him.  On the other hand, Pharisees who accused our Lord and Savior or committing blasphemy (an offense punishable by death according to the Law of Moses) due to his act of healing and words of forgiveness (more the latter than the former) also criticized him for eating with tax collectors and sinners.  These Pharisees did not realize their need for God.  They would have, in fact, benefited from  open minds and many meals with Jesus.

A few days ago, on the Oconee Campus of the University of North Georgia, I encountered some members of an Evangelical college ministry.  I surmise that they were not from the school, for one young man representing the organization did not know that he was on a campus of a state college.  He asked me to complete a brief questionnaire.  I agreed.  One item entailed me rating my goodness on a scale of one (evil) to ten (perfect).  I guessed five, for I am far from both ends of the spectrum.  He and a comrade suggested that I was perhaps an eight or a nine, but I replied that no, I know myself.  (At least they were nice people.)

I know my need for God and the sacraments.  My record of acting on that knowledge is mixed.  Yet I improve, by grace.

None of us is worthy based on our own merit, but our effort is valuable nonetheless.  That little bit of desire and initiative is something with which God can work.  So may you, O reader, be aware of your need for God and respond favorably to God, regardless of how feeble and inadequate your response might seem.










Devotion for the Twenty-Fifth Day of Lent, Year A (ELCA Daily Lectionary)   2 comments


Above:  Mosaic of Jesus Healing the Two Blind Men, Mosquee Karie, Constantinople, Ottoman Empire, 1892

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-03713

Lashing Out in Desperation and Fear



The Collect:

Bend your ear to our prayers, Lord Christ, and come among us.

By your gracious life and death for us, bring light into the darkness

of our hearts, and anoint us with your Spirit, for you live and reign

with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 28


The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 60:17-22

Psalm 146

Matthew 9:27-34


The Lord shall reign for ever,

your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.  Alleluia.

–Psalm 146:10, Common Worship (2000)


James D. G. Dunn wrote in Jesus Remembered (2003):

The point is this:  within Jewish prophetic/apocalyptic tradition there was some sort of recognition that the partial fulfillment of a hope did not nullify or falsify that hope.  Instead the earlier hope became the basis and springboard for a fresh articulation of the same hope.

–Page 481

Neither immediately Post-Exilic Judea nor the Hasmonean kingdom nor Roman-occupied Palestine resembled the positive future promised in Isaiah 60.  Yet, in Matthew 9, there were powerful works of God via Jesus, who healed two blind men and a mute man, the latter of which spoke afterward.

…and the people were amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”

–Verse 33b, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

The cultural assumption regarding the causation of many conditions held that evil spirits were responsible.  Thus the Gospels assign blame for muteness, epilepsy, and metal illness to demonic possession and describe many healings as exorcisms.  This is not my understanding of reality, for modern science informs my thinking.  Yet my worldview is not a major issue here; that of the characters Matthew 9:32-34 is.  Within that context some Pharisees accused our Lord and Savior of exorcising demons by means of an alliance with Satan.  That alleged logic makes no sense even with a certain cultural milieu.  No, that that allegation was an example of striking out in desperation and fear.

As we wait for a complete fulfillment of the hope of Isaiah 60, what do we fear wrongly?  May we refrain from calling that which is of God evil, no matter how much it threatens our status and ego.







Third Day of Lent   19 comments

The Calling of St. Matthew, by Hendrick ter Brugghen, 1621

“I desire mercy….”


March 4, 2022

Collect and lections from the Episcopal Lesser Feasts and Fasts Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints


Follow the assigned readings with me this Lent….

Kenneth Randolph Taylor


Isaiah 58:1-9a (Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition):

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet;

declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.

Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;

they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.

Why have we fasted, and you see it not?

Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?

Behold, in the day of your fast you seek you own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.

Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with wicked fist.

Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.

Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a man to humble himself?

Is it to bow down his head like a rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?

Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD?

Is not this the fast I choose:

to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily;

your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am.

Psalm 51:1-9 (Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition):

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your merciful love;

according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your singt,

so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless in your judgment.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, you desire truth , in the inward being; therefore, teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

wash me, and an I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me hear joy and gladness, let the bones which you have broken rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins, and blot out my iniquities.

Matthew 9:10-17 (Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition):

And as he [Jesus] sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.  And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples,

Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?

But when he heard it, he said,

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’  For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying,

Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?

And Jesus said to them,

Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?  The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.  And no one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for one patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made.  Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.

The Collect:

Support us, O Lord, with your gracious favor through the fast we have begun; that as we observe it by bodily self-denial, so we may fulfill it with inner sincerity of heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


Let us remember (or learn then remember) that we cannot love God, whom we cannot see, if we do not love those whom we can see.  How do we measure up by that standard?  I can speak only for myself:  I need to improve.

Too often we human beings focus on justifying ourselves.  This is a form of ego defense, not holiness.  We might not even be aware of what we are doing, for we mortals have a proclivity for living within our delusions while being oblivious to them.  So, while we sin, or “miss the mark,” we think ourselves righteous.

So we look down upon others while ignoring our own wickedness.  Even we, who might think ourselves more righteous than we are, benefit from grace.  How much more, then, do those we might regard as “sinful” (in contrast to ourselves, of course) benefit from God’s unmerited mercy?  God has extended mercy to us, and God expects to do likewise.  Are we observant of this command, or are we oblivious to it?


Written on February 18, 2010

Edited on October 27, 2010

Posted October 27, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2022, Episcopal Church Lectionary, March 4

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