Eating with Sinners…

New Testament Journey Day 37: Matthew 9:9-13. Jesus eats with sinners at Matthew’s house.

“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple.” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” – Matthew 9:9-13

Tax collectors in Rome often over charged people for taxes and kept a hefty profit. They were hated by the Jews because of their reputation for cheating and their support of Rome.

When Jesus called Matthew to be one of his disciples, Matthew got up and followed, leaving a lucrative career. When God calls you to follow or obey him, do you do it with such abandon as Matthew? Sometimes the decision to follow Christ requires difficult or painful choices. Like Matthew, we must decide to leave behind those things that would keep us from following Christ.

When he visited Matthew, Jesus hurt his own reputation among the religious elites in order to reach out to those who were lost. Matthew’s reputation hadn’t yet caught up with his new life as a disciple, but he became a bridge for Jesus’ message to Matthew’s past associates. We should not be afraid to reach out to people who are living in sin. God’s message changes people – and their friends, too!

Those who are sure they are “good enough” can’t be saved because the first step in following Jesus is acknowledging our need for him, and admitting that we don’t have all the answers.

This message speaks loud and clear in my opinion. Church is a place we go to get closer to God, to learn his Word, to fellowship with other believers and feel the peace that God gives. But as a Christian, our calling is to then go outside those 4 walls and share the hope of Jesus with those we meet as we come and as we go. So many people have the idea of discipleship skewed thinking they need to have a ministry or a program or a .com behind their name to be effective for the kingdom. But in reality, God just wants us to share the hope and love of Jesus as we are on this journey. He wants us to become eternity minded – to look past the exterior and understand that anything negative manifesting on the outside is often caused by a deep hurt on the inside. A hurt, a desire, a loneliness, a rejection that only the love of Jesus can heal.

I read a quote that’s worth inserting – “Jesus sat with sinners, he didn’t sin with them. Know the difference.” We have to be strong enough to show hope, love and mercy to the lost, but not be drawn back into the world with them.

Be blessed my friends! And remember to Love Like Jesus as you come and as you go.

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