Scripture: Matthew 12:14-21
Key verse: (14) “But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.”
Reflection: A week into 2020 how are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions? Have you committed to eating better, working out more, working less and resting more, spending more time with family? What goals have you set for yourself? Whatever your goals were, you might be close to quitting them come January 12th, coined “Quitters Day” by Strava, the social network for athletes that allows you to track and log your workouts. (If you haven’t yet quit, good job, keep at it, and if you have quit, don’t worry you aren’t alone!) Often times what makes not living up to our New Year’s Resolutions even worse is seeing others who actually do stick to them. Have you ever had tinges of jealousy, anger, or internal voices of judgment when you see people who follow through with their resolutions? Do you ever get frustrated when you see people achieve something you couldn’t, or when people seem to have the life you wish you had?
In our text for today we see a bit of this jealousy happening. Right before our passage, Jesus had just healed a man on the Sabbath in front of the Pharisees (good law abiding Jews). The Pharisees didn’t like that Jesus was not following the rules, they didn’t like that he wasn’t living into the life that they saw as faithful, and even worse it seemed like he was actually doing some good! The Pharisees couldn’t have someone doing good who wasn’t following their way of life. And so in our text we see that the Pharisees conspired against Jesus. They were so upset with his way of life that they sought to destroy him.
What is it about our nature that makes us frustrated with and even despise others even when they seem to be doing good? Why does jealousy so often take over? Contrast to the conspiring of the Pharisees, as we continue in the text we see the way of Jesus; proclaiming justice, not crying aloud, gentle so as not to break a reed or quench a smoldering wick, until bringing justice to victory. May we not forget that our hope in Christ is the hope for the world, not just you, not just me. Both in this New Year, and throughout the year may we see the well-being, success, and faithfulness of others as a gift that may strengthen our faith, not something to be jealous of. When we recognize the well-being of others is tied with our own well-being we live into the reality that Christ is the hope of all nations and all peoples.
Prayer: Loving God, we give you thanks that you are the hope of all people. Guide us to see others as you see them, and help us to see ourselves through your loving eyes as well. Comfort us when we are too hard on ourselves and others, and challenge us to be more full of grace as you are abounding in grace toward us. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].