I just realized that the author of Matthew is now telling his story, his testimony, of how he came to be a follower of Jesus. He was not a fisherman like Peter. He was a hated tax collector. He worked for the “feds.” Perhaps today it would be like being a policeman, not oh so popular by many. And he probably worked for the Romans, the oppressors, the “other” tribe. There is probably a sermon right here! Jesus called Matthew to cross many social barriers to follow and Matthew did.
“9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. 10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 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)”
Matthew invites Jesus into his home to have a meal with his friends. Matthew and Jesus are criticized for the guests. Not only does Matthew come from the wrong side of the tracks but so do his friends. Jesus defends Matthew but in so doing calls Matthew one of the “sick” who needs a doctor. Ouch.
Matthew is very upfront about the importance of Jesus reaching into his life and calling him, a sick person. The Apostle Paul also is one of the people who is able to talk about his sorted past killing Christians before Jesus reached into his life. Not all of us have a colorful testimony of a conversion experience but being able to express the difference Jesus has made in our lives helps us get a handle on how to explain God’s role in our life also. We might say
- I was sick and needed a doctor
- I was a murderer and needed a compassionate judge
- I was shy and needed courage
- I was lost and needed direction
How would you describe the difference Jesus has made in your life? Let’s take a minute and thank God for the transformation faith has brought into our life stories.