Take Matthew 9:9-13 to prayer. Spend time thinking about it for a few days and write down your reflections. Put yourself into every character, even the implied characters.
The Call of Matthew. 9As Jesus passed on from there,d he saw a man named Matthew* sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.10While he was at table in his house,* many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.e11The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher* eat with tax collectors and sinners?”12He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.*13Go and learn the meaning of the words,f ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’* I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
- Matthew does not hesitate to follow Jesus. If I were asked directly by Jesus to drop everything and follow Him it would take time to say “yes” and completely follow Jesus (because in my personal relationship it has taken time for me to not hold back my yeses in following Him). What trust and faith!
- Matthew either already knows of Jesus or doesn’t — but either way, the fact he is able to just respond with a “yes” when Jesus asks shows Matthew’s ability to recognize what he had been doing day to day was not what he was called to do — and instead, whatever lay ahead with Jesus is where he is supposed to be.
- Matthew eats with Jesus and the other sinners and outcast from society. If I were just called by Jesus and automatically trusted and followed it would be reassuring to see that while I am leaving my old life behind I am in a position to be a strong disciple — because I intimately know the struggles who Jesus is serving.
- To see a tax collector and recognize his faith and know he would be a true and valuable disciple especially from one who was outcast from society… well that just shows me that Jesus sees the person for who their soul is/who their soul can be with the proper knowledge and guidance. Jesus does not judge based on how other people would judge, but by how God judges.
- Jesus loves everyone. He wants everyone to come to him and be saved. Even while the Pharisees are caught up in worldly judgment Jesus takes the time to try to shepherd them to grow in their understanding of how to see as God sees.
Other Tax Collectors and Sinners…
- Were likely intrigued that Jesus would not judge them or treat them as others treat them. They were eating at the same table as Jesus and perhaps they didn’t believe in Him or become a disciple or change their ways — but they could at least hear and see the message that God loves them. They could hear that God wants them to grow in faith and repent and properly center their lives.
- Were likely not wondering why Jesus would eat with tax collectors and sinners because by being a disciple they likely understood why it was that Jesus served and preached to who he did.
- They were serving Jesus because they trusted Him and had the faith and knowledge to ignore the structures of society and potential judgement and ridicule from others because of who they ate with — they were great examples to others who wanted to follow Jesus because they were the ones who were actively doing it.
- They were intrigued enough by Jesus to keep tabs on what he was up to. But they were blinded by their perceptions of themselves and what was important to society and to the things that would be self-serving to understand why Jesus was doing what he was doing.
- Perhaps out of fear that Jesus would throw off the status quo and expose them for the hypocrites they were they wanted to keep an eye on Him (as well as looking for the opportunities to find a charge against him).
- Did they take Jesus’s words to heart? Or did His words fall on deaf ears? Jesus still sought to convert the hearts of the Pharisees by directly answering their questions. Did any of them become disciples of Jesus?