Reflection from my reading in Matt 9:1-17 in the One Year Bible New Testament.
From Traitor To Gospel Writer
“As 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. Matthew 9:9
Jesus was criticized for the company he kept. Tax collectors were known as traitors because they not only worked for the Roman oppressors, but they also charged extra and kept money for themselves. But Jesus asked one of the tax collectors, named Matthew, to follow him.
Matthew later became a gospel writer! Jesus looked at Matthew and saw him for what he could be instead of what he was. Jesus gave him a second chance and Matthew took it!
Chill’n With Jesus
“And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples.” Matthew 9:10
I love the picture of Jesus reclining with the most notorious sinners of the day. Very often when someone comes to Christ, there are good opportunities for them to reach out to their friends. I believe one reason Jesus was able to have access to the tax collectors and sinners was because they were Matthew’s friends! Jesus used natural connections in order to reach his friend’s group.
In order to reach people, we have to be around them. When was the last time you just hung out with non-believers?
It Doesn’t Look Good…
“And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Matthew 9:11
Jesus was criticized by the religious leaders of the day. Jesus was willing to let his reputation suffer for the sake of loving those people and showing them mercy.
A Hospital for Sinners
“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.” Matthew 9:12–13
Jesus preferred spending time with those who knew they needed him over those who thought they were perfect. Jesus came to heal the spiritually sick. Jesus showed us that mercy is greater than sacrifice. As a church, I believe we must follow Jesus’ example of spending time with people who need God and provide a safe place for sinners to come receive the healing in our services. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes of what the Church should be,
“The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.” – Abigail Van Buren
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