Playing Favourites

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As I read through Matthew 9 again this morning I was struck by the diversity of people with whom Jesus dealt. Earlier, in Matthew 8, we see him dealing with two demon-possessed men (8:28-34). Now we see Him with a paralytic and the teachers of the law (9:1-8). Then He moves on to the Pharisees, a tax collector and other assorted “sinners” (9:9-13).

Later, in verses 18-26, he encounters a sick woman, a leader in the synagogue and a dead child. Then we have two blind men and another demon-possessed man (9:27-34). Of course, we have to count the disciples—a motley crew if ever there was one! Social class, gender, health, occupation, age—none of these made any difference to Jesus. He dealt with them all according to their needs and threw the “political correctness” of the era to the wind.

No one messed with demons, or went against the religious leaders, or ate with tax collectors, or bothered with women, or touched the dead—except Jesus.

James wraps it up in his book by saying: “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism...If you really keep the law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted as lawbreakers” (James 2:1, 8, 9).

In His life, the Lord played no favourites. He showed mercy to all. In His death, Jesus played no favourites. He died for all: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever...” (John 3:16, emphasis mine).

There’s a lesson here and I don’t think I even have to say what it is.

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