Jesus calls a tax collector…

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Tax_collector

Matthew 9:As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. 

The calling of Matthew happens so quickly, it would be easy to overlook the significance of Jesus’ invitation. Three things in particular stick out for me:

(1) Matthew was a tax collector, which means he was essentially a crook. Tax collectors in Jesus’ day were notorious for collecting more than what the government required, keeping the excess for themselves. Given that the Roman Empire was in charge of Israel at that time, tax collectors were also viewed as traitors to their people – Roman sympathizers.

(2) When Jesus said, “Come follow me”, he was essentially inviting Matthew to live with him like a family member. Jesus’ disciples were not students in a classroom, but Jesus’ partners in life. They lived closely with Jesus day and night, which makes the calling of Matthew all the more shocking.

(3) Yet, Jesus saw something in Matthew, so he called him to be his disciple. Note that Matthew wasn’t asked to get his life together before following Jesus. He was invited – just as he was at that moment – completely unworthy of the invitation. Yet, invited he was. And it changed his life forever.

I remember sensing the Lord calling me to be his disciple – back when I was in my early 20’s. I had spent my short life chasing after many things, and Jesus wasn’t one of them. I was no one’s idea of a good Christian boy, much less a leader of Christians. And yet, that is what I’ve become, by the grace of God.

Let me ask you – is Jesus calling you? Is he inviting you to come closer? To say “no” to some things in your life so you can say “yes” to him? You may think you need to get squared away first, but this verse illustrates this is not the case. Just say “yes” dear sister/brother. He will show you the way. And you will never be the same.

Lord Jesus, thank you for the grace and mercy you show us when we are called as your disciples. Help us to suspend disbelief long enough to say “yes”. We ask this in your precious name. Amen.

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