“No Room for Doorkeepers” Devotions
Week of December 9th
Read Matthew 23
Watch the Sermon or Review the Sermon Notes
Read Matthew 23:13-14; Luke 2:7
Jesus’ harshness criticism of the religious leaders is found in Matthew 23. Six times Jesus says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees.” Five times, Jesus describes these leaders as “hypocrites.” Verses 13 and 14 sum up the impact of the religious leaders actions. Since the time of the Exile, they had been making room for a Messiah. In the process of making room, they had become doorkeepers to the kingdom of heaven. When the Messiah came, they missed the invitation. Christmas is an invitation not only for us to draw close to God, but for us to draw others close to God. As we prepare for this Christmas season, could verses 13-14 be true of us? Israel was called to be a light to the world, instead they were hiding their light under the umbrella of pride and hypocrisy.
Read Matthew 23:37-39
At the time of Jesus’ birth, the town of Bethlehem was wrapped up in Caesar’s decree. The town was full of people who came from all over to be registered. Only Mary and Joseph were planning for the birth of the Messiah. Months earlier, Mary and Joseph were wrapped in fear. The news of Mary’s pregnancy was not only surprising, but scandalous. The birth of Jesus was not at all what this young could had in mind! It took the words of the angels to convince both Mary and Joseph that Mary’s pregnancy was “Good News.” Not only did the angels guide Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem with a greater purpose, but the they also guided shepherds, and wisemen to celebrate Jesus’ birth. What will we allow ourselves to get wrapped up in this Christmas season? As Jesus overlooked Jerusalem, it was his desire to wrap Jerusalem in his arms, but the people rejected him.
Read Matthew 1:20-25; Luke 1:28-38
Despite the fear that Mary and Joseph shared, they were willing to be obedient to God. Christmas reminds us that the impossible is possible with God. No matter what obstacles stand in the way, God’s purposes will be fulfilled. The unfaithfulness of Israel could not stop God’s purposes. Jesus became the light that Israel was to be for the world. Herod could not stop God’s purposes. God led Mary and Joseph away from danger, so that Jesus could grow into an adult. The religious leaders could not stop God’s purposes. Despite Jesus’ death on the cross, on the third day Jesus rose from the grave! The willingness of Mary and Joseph provided an opportunity for God’s purposes to be fulfilled. What might God do through us, if only we are willing?
The role of a doorkeeper at a party is to ensure that only honored guests are allowed into a party. To many times, Christians have tried to play the role of the doorkeeper in the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately, Christians forget that the Kingdom of God is an open invitation. The only requirement is accepting God’s grace. As Jesus looked over the city of Jerusalem, he saw a city with an open invitation, but closed to God’s grace. In fact, many of the religious leaders were acting as doorkeepers, keeping invited guests out! Christmas offers hope to the world. It is an open invitation to receive the greatest gift ever!