The Reason for the Party!


Are you more interested in following religious rituals than you are in following God?


Deepen my understanding of Your ways, Sovereign Lord. Let me ever fix my eyes on You.


Matthew 9:14-17


How do we approach God? Does it need adjusting?

The Pharisees weren't the only ones to think that Jesus wasn't behaving as a "religious" person should (14). Perhaps John's disciples had heard about the recent party with a disreputable crowd (14; compare with vs. 10,11). They expected Jesus to do religious things like fasting because self-denial expressed penitence and a desire to draw close to God.

Jesus' response to their criticism is astonishing (15-17). Jesus is basically saying, "Forget about fasting to bring you close to God. It's time to feast because I'm here!" It's a hugely arrogant statement unless... it is true. What if, as Jesus implies through the clothes and wineskin pictures, God was getting rid of old ways and doing something new (16,17)? What if getting close to God was about being with Jesus rather than following religious rituals? What if God had come to live among his people through his Son, and planned to live within them by his Spirit?

The rest of Jesus' story--his death and resurrection--shows that these "what ifs" were indeed true. Are you and I still clinging to religious rituals when the One it is all about is living among us, within us?


Believe that the way has been made for you to be accepted and come to Jesus on the merit of the cross alone.


Jesus, help me to understand Your heart and enter relationship with You, not religion. I love You.

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