Thursday, December 23, 2021
9 Passing along, Jesus saw a man at his work collecting taxes. His name was Matthew. Jesus said, “Come along with me.” Matthew stood up and followed him.
10-11 Later, when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and misfits?”
12-13 Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.”
-Matthew 9:9-13 The Message
Verse 9: As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew sitting in the tax collector’s office, and He *said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.
Verse 9 study: Matthew is a Jew appointed by the Romans to be the area’s tax collector. He collected taxes from citizens and from merchants that were passing through town. Tax collectors take a commission on the taxes they collected, but most went overboard by charging too much and keeping the profit. If you wonder why most people don’t like tax collectors, that’s why. Their reputation for cheating and their support for Rome.
Matthew didn’t hesitate when Jesus called him to be one of his disciples; Matthew left a promising career to be with Jesus. God will call you to follow and obey; the question is, do you do it as Matthew did it with abandonment? Sometimes, these decisions are painful and difficult choices. But, like Matthew, we must decide to leave those things that keep us from following Christ.
Verse 10: Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and began dining with Jesus and His disciples.
Verse 11: And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?”
Verse 12: But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.
Verse 13: Now go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, rather than sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Verses 10-13 studies: Jesus hurt his reputation when he visited Matthew. Matthew cheated the people; Jesus found and changed him. We shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to people living in sin because God’s message can change anyone.
Verses 11-12 studies: The Pharisees always tried to trap Jesus, and they believed that the people he hung out with were a perfect opportunity. They were concerned with their own appearance of holiness that helping others. It happens with criticism, not encouragement, outward disrespect than practical help. God is concerned for everyone, which includes the sinful and hurting ones. The Christian life is not about a popularity contest. In following Jesus’ example, we should shame the gospel with the poor, immoral, lonely, and outcast and not just with the rich, moral, popular, and powerful.
Verse 13 study: For those who are sure they are righteous can’t be saved because the first step in following Jesus is acknowledging our need and admitting we don’t have all the answers.
Matthew 10:3, Mark 2:14; 3:18, Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13; Matthew 8:22
Matthew 11:19, Luke 5:30; 15:2
Mathew 12:7, Hosea 6:6, 1 Timothy 1:15
Father, I know some people who separate themselves from sinners. They talk down to them; they constantly are wrapped in their religious minds instead of being themselves. I pray today that the lesson of Jesus eating with sinners doesn’t make you wrong. On the contrary, it makes you a better person because you are invested in a different lifestyle. Let us be humble enough to continue sharing your Word with others as it can be more potent than we think. In Jesus’ name. Amen.