Matthew 18 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“If your hand or your foot causes you downfall, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes your downfall, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, rather than to have two eyes and be thrown into hellfire!” Matthew 18:8-9
History tells of scores of people who overcome serious physical disability to reach inspiring heights; people like quantum physicist Steven Hawking or artist Joni Earekson. Many of these folks’ contributions to society have proven invaluable.
In the days of Yeshua the disabled were considered outcasts, possibly demon possessed. The religious leaders of Yeshua’s time were too concerned with their images to ever risk being identified with (or defiled by) the disabled. Interestingly, it was the “disabled” who were receiving healing from Yeshua…both the physically and SPIRITUALLY disabled!
Image has always influenced human culture. People are still preoccupied with projecting an image that is bigger than reality. Why are we so afraid to simply be ourselves? In a culture that preaches, “image is everything”, is it any wonder that so many people are afraid to admit they need a Savior? Some folks would rather go to Hell with a good reputation, than confess their sin and receive salvation.
The problem with projecting a false image is that you’re living a lie. It promotes fear and fosters anxiety because w will never measure-up to the image! Even if people buy-into the image, it’s not because they love you, for who you really are. They love your IMAGE. I believe the most prevalent form of idolatry in the world, is our worship of the images we create of ourselves.
Yeshua looks past the exterior and focuses on the inside. First, He chooses to love us, in spite of our spiritual deformities. Then, He offers to trade His righteousness for our corrupt flesh. He sees past our images and accepts us…not just as we are, but also as we WILL BE, once He has completed what He begins in us. No wonder His atonement is also known as His “covering.” He completes what our images could never accomplish. He covers our shame.
You receive the covering of Yeshua, by first admitting your sin. That is, you admit the fact that you are not perfect. (Perfection is G-d’s standard, and impossible to attain on our own merit.) Next, you turn from your sin and turn to face Yeshua. (Yeshua and sin travel in opposite directions.) Then, receive His atonement for your sin…His free gift of life. Simply pray, “L-rd I believe Yeshua is the only Way. I accept His free gift of atonement. Now help me with my unbelief!”
Why pursue an IMAGE of perfection, when Yeshua offers the REAL thing…for free?
~Steve Wiggins, Assistant Rabbi
Daily Devotional, Tuesday, May 7, 2013