Calling Matthew

Jesus met Matthew at a tax collector’s booth. “’Follow me,’ Jesus 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’s 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).

What an interesting mix–the hated tax collectors, the sinners, the disciples who found in Jesus someone worth following and the Son of God Himself–all at one table. I wonder if anyone felt uncomfortable. It doesn’t sound like it from the account. It sounds like they were all just eating together and enjoying the meal and maybe even each others company. Not so the Pharisees; did you notice the only ones not eating were the Pharisees? It appears that they came along to watch, not join the meal–how amazingly snobbish!

This might be the scene at our dinner table when the whole family gets together. Aunts and uncles and cousins and people you don’t even know fill your home, and they are all over the chart when it comes to following Jesus. Some are like the disciples, who found in Jesus someone worth following, and the rest–well, not the church going kind. Jesus sought that kind of person out. He went from a home where He had just healed a paralytic straight to Matthew’s tax collector booth. It’s like He was on a mission to spend time with some sinners.

The end result, of course, was that Matthew did follow Jesus, and there’s no telling of how many other tax collectors and sinners did that night as well. As for the Pharisees, Jesus sent them away with some homework: “Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” He’s telling them: “You came to watch so look at the lesson in front of you, these outcasts and sinners need a savior, that’s why I eat with them.”

Make the Son of God the guest of honor in your home and invite your family to come. He’s on a mission for them, too! There’s no telling how many will find in Jesus someone worth following when you do.

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