While away I spent time catching up on a couple of books and read through the Gospel of Matthew. Whenever I read the Gospels, I do so with a sense of wonder. I find myself thrilled by Jesus’ actions and amazed by his teaching. This week however I decided to approach the tax-collectors account from a different perspective. Rather than look for encouragement, I determined to seek out some challenges. The truth is that I didn’t have to look far. As the encounters unfolded and the dialogue flowed, I found myself increasingly convicted. Rather than reading as a detached observer, I recognised the times when my faithlessness is reminiscent of the disciples and my obstinate heart, resembles that of the Pharisees. However, to my relief, I realised that I would come some way short of my initial goal. You see, I found it impossible to read about the life of Jesus without being encouraged. Why? Because, Matthew’s good news is my good news. Praise God that Jesus continues to offer grace to those who are faithless and mercy to those who are obstinate. Isn’t that a blessing?