Matthew 9:9–13 (ESV)
Jesus Calls Matthew
Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
10 And as Jesus
reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat
with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I
desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
In today’s world, we often group the undesirables
as lawyers and snakes. In the reading, the grouping is tax collectors and sinners. Well, we have all the undesirables! Hey… we need attorneys… or I should say that they need us! We are sinners! I find it humorous
that tax collectors seem to be a different grouping from sinners in verse 10. Tax Collectors had a history of collecting what they needed, then some. So they were despised. I know I am not too fond of the IRS, but my dislike would even be
greater is they made me pay more than I needed! I spent roughly 12 years in the property tax field and people usually took about two steps back when I told them that. A friend of mine who was a tax assessor refused to live in the area where he
worked. He wanted to protect his family. I would get some relief when I told them I represented the tax payers and not the tax assessor. The interesting point is… why would Jesus pick a tax collector over a church leader? Jesus
was bringing in a new covenant that was based on grace and mercy, not the law and self-righteousness. The fact that Jesus sat down and ate with tax collectors and sinners was a real shock to the Pharisees. Jesus is changing things!
I pray: O Lord, help me to be filled with compassion and mercy. Kindle a fire in me to reach out and share with the lost. Help me to not look at
myself as better than others, or to not see myself as a sinner. I repent of my sins and want to do better. Forgive me for all my short-comings. Amen.