Devotional Reading: Luke 7:1-17
Text: When they (the religious leaders) came to Jesus, they appealed him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy of having you do this for him …” (v. 4)
I’m sorry but I have a problem with this text. I don’t recall Jesus ever asking anyone about their worthiness. Nor did Jesus ever ask for a background check and references. He did ask a blind man and others, “What do you want?” But He never asked “Are you worthy?” Yet, this idea of worthiness seems to permeate much of current Christian thought. So many times someone has said to me, “I hope that I’m good enough.” It seems that fear rather than love is what drives many preachers and teachers.
But let’s get something straight; No one is worthy. Not you, not me, nor anyone else. As the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are saved by grace and grace alone, not by works or effort.
I often tell people that it is not about them but about God. Your salvation was sealed 2000 years ago on a hill outside of Jerusalem. God is not a scorekeeper or bookkeeper. We present a child for baptism or come to the baptism font ourselves not because we are good enough or because of what we have or have not done but because we are responding to God’s love. The same is true when we come to the communion table. It is God’s table, not ours. It is God who institutes and invites. It’s all about God. In the words of I John, “We love God because God first loved us.”
So, I hope that, at least for today, you will give up your guilt and your questions about being good enough. If you have wronged someone, follow Zacchaeus’ example: repent and make generous restitution. If you continually do the same destructive thing over and over, make a plan that helps you avoid that temptation. Seek help. But do something rather than wallow is useless guilt and paralyzing fear.
By the way, Jesus healed the centurion’s slave and brought back to life the widow’s only son. I truly believe that He did both of these things not because of worthiness but to show that God’s love knows no boundaries.
Lord, remove all fear from my heart. Give me the faith that allows me to trust in Your Eternal Love, a Love that will never let me go no matter what happens in life. Give me your Peace that passes all human understanding. And knit me into Your Church, the very Body of Christ here on earth, with the cords of Fellowship. Amen.