Hope for the Holidays: Fresh Start with Jesus

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Matthew 9:9-13

Do you struggle with who you are? If you had a “do-over” for 2016, would you change anything? Maybe your relationship with your parents is strained. Have you broken any rules that you know you shouldn’t have? Or maybe there were times that you didn’t show kindness when you could have. We can disappoint others—and ourselves. If you feel like this, then you should know: You are not alone.

Matthew struggled with who he was every day. He was a tax collector—people who were known cheats. As a result, Matthew was a hated man who couldn’t even step foot in church. There was a ban on “those types of people.” Jesus went over to where Matthew was doing his dirty work and asked him to step away from his life of sin and to follow a different path. That path was to follow Jesus. Matthew moved away from sin and followed Jesus.

Jesus cares about you. The love Jesus has for you moved him to action. Jesus sought you out! He saved you, not by approving of sin, but by removing sin. He came to earth at Christmas so that one day he would die on the cross and earn forgiveness for you. Jesus knows you have baggage, but loving you so dearly he forgives you.

And now with the dust settled on the old year and a new year just underway, he desires you to follow him, no matter what your 2016 looked like.

Who will you be in 2017? Are you looking for a fresh start? Jesus offers you one with him. Come, follow him.

Prayer: Lord, you heal the sin-sick soul. As you called Matthew to follow you, so you have called me to follow you in the pathways of life and on into the heavenly realms for all eternity. As I enter 2017, I hear you calling me to be your disciple. Help me follow you. Amen.