“Both/and” not “either/or” Sinner’s and Saint’s
Matthew 23:1-12 |Jesus Denounces Scribes and Pharisees
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the market-places, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.
Because when we look at ourselves in the mirror we often see the reflection of a sinner – but when God looks at us, he looks through the reflection of Jesus – as a sinner redeemed, absolved, forgiven, and surrounded by amazing grace.
Which also means, that as we look out into the world, we see that others too, are worthy of the title saint. The person sitting next to you, your defiant 2 year old, that coworker who is always doing that one thing that annoys you, that neighbor who complains about a certain convince store, or that politician you can’t seem to agree with --- not either a sinner or a saint, but both sinner and saint.