Full of Mercy and Grace

14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 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. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. 17 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.”

18 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. 20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. 23 And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, 24 he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went through all that district. 27 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” 28 When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.” 31 But they went away and spread his fame through all that district. 32 As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. 33 And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” [1] (Matthew 9: 18-34)

This is a rather long text for our devotional, but it is important that we see the overarching theme in these stories.  What do a teaching about sewing and wineskins, raising a girl from the dead, the healing of a woman with an issue of blood, the healing of two blind men and a person who could not speak being able to speak have in common?  Well, you couple this with the calling of a tax collector in the previous text and Jesus’ words concerning compassion for the disenfranchised in the next passage and you discover that the gospel and mercy grace and compassion are inextricably bound up together.  Furthermore, our works and striving to attempt to curry God’s favor through fasting or doing something to be healed are also at odds with the Gospel of grace.  Even any faith that we have to reach out to the Lord is a gift from him.  In both analogies about the wineskins and the cloth, the Lord was saying that what the Pharisees did in fasting or any other ritual had no part with the gospel.

The Lord desires mercy and not sacrifice.  We see once again that it is He alone who has authority and compassion over sickness and death.  Whatever you are in need of today, you can be sure that Jesus has the authority to intervene in your life.  Trust him today.


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Mt 9:1–34). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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