Matthew the Tax Collector!!!
As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”….. Matthew 9:9-13
In these verses, we read the Call of Matthew who happens to the Penman of the Gospel of Matthew. And it is interesting to See that Matthew was a tax collector before He was called by the Lord. Tax Collector are generally referred to as Sinners by the Jews(Luke 18:11, 19:2,7). The is to teach us that God has kept some remnant for Himself among those whom we generally referred to as Sinners. Our occupation will not be an excuse for our inability to follow the Lord. Let us therefore not give up on those who by occupation find themselves in the midst of those who are generally called Sinners. Next time You see a government tax collector coming to ask for the Tax, remember Matthew was once like that but converted to a wonderful Apostle when Jesus called unto Him. Let us therefore consider His conversion.
… Matthew Sitting at the tax office: it is interesting to see that Jesus did not go to Matthew’s House to call Him. Instead He chose to go to His office to teach us that God never calls an idle Man into Full time Ministry. When Jesus wanted to call His Apostles, He called them from their place of Work. He called Peter, Andrew, James and John also while they were fishing(Matt 4:18-22). He did not go and call them from their Houses lest we see that in the Scriptures and say “Jesus calls people who are unemployed to Full time Ministry” We have to prove our faithfulness in our circular occupation before God puts us into Full time Spiritual Ministry. It is very important we consider this because there are many who have volunteered themselves into Full time ministry because they were unable to get a Job. And because they have not been tested of faithfulness in Circular occupation, most of them end up making a Shipwreck of their lives and ministry. Let us therefore remain faithful in our circular occupation as we wait for the call of Jesus into Full time Ministry.
And He said to him, “Follow Me” so he arose and Followed Him: The Lord is found by those who do not seek Him, He Manifested himself to those who do not ask for Him(Romans 10:20). We have not chosen Him, but He has chosen us(John 15:16). Jesus said to Him “Follow Me” not “Heal the Sick or Preach the Gospel.” Jesus has called us to Follow in His Steps. He has called us to follow His pattern of Life. We have to follow Him before we can preach to others. Those who are not following Him and then preach what He preached are Hypocrites!!! We must ask God for wisdom to know the Difference between the Life of Jesus and the Ministry of Jesus. We have been called to follow in the way He lived His Life. Ministry depends on the gifts He gave to us. Can you follow Him in turning water to wine? Can You follow Him in walking on the sea? But we can follow Him in Humility, purity, gentleness, Longsuffering and goodness. So immediately Matthew was sure that it was the Lord calling unto Him, He arose and followed. Those who will become great for the Lord must instantaneously obey whatever Jesus says to them.
As Jesus sat at the table in the House, Behold many tax collectors and Sinners came and sat down with Him and His Disciples: what a Difference!!! Matthew was so delighted by his conversion that he decided to hold a great feast in his house. Notice, Matthew did not mention that it was his house. But the other gospels recorded that it was his house( Mark 2:13-15). What a Humble Man Matthew was that when He wrote about the good things He did, he chose not to draw attention to Himself. Also Matthew invited Christ Disciples along with Him. Those who have given a space to the Lord must also receive all those who belong to Him. He also used this opportunity to invite His old associate Friends so that they can have the opportunity to meet the Lord. Those that have responded to the Lord are always eager to see others responding to Him and so will always want to contribute something towards it. Let us therefore learn from Matthew how he was willing to hold a great feast Just to get Sinners to meet with Jesus.
The Pharisees said…. “Why does Your teacher eats with Tax collectors and Sinners?” : The Pharisees are so eager to find fault in Everything the Lord do. But we are not to use this verse as an excuse for our fellowship with Sinners. New convert particularly use to ask questions like ” How should I maintain my friendship with my old friends now that I am Born again?”. The answer is “Do Your old friends influence you towards Sins and the world or Do you influence them towards the Kingdom of God and Righteousness?” If you find out that in the tug of war they are winning and influencing you towards the world, then it is best to break off that contact with them. But in Jesus case, He was so strong that He draw Sinners into the Kingdom of God. He was never influenced by Sinners to Sin or Love the world . So it is right to be friends with Sinners if we can influence them. Let us therefore break away from friendship that is leading us towards Sin.
Jesus said to them, “Those who are well do not need a Physician, but those who are Sick” : Sin is a Sickness. And we are not to sit down and spend our time alone with those who are spiritually healthy. It is God’s desire that we should go to those of who are sick in Sins so that we can present Christ to them. But if we are sick ourselves or get infected by the sickness of others, it is better we clear off and first wok out our own salvation with fear and tremble. Jesus sarcastically addressed the Pharisees as being Righteousness when they are not. In fact, they are a greater Sinner in God’s eyes than the thieves and the prostitutes. Since they considered themselves righteous, Jesus said He did not come for them. Since they value their self Righteousness more than the Righteousness of God, Jesus said He has not come from them. Generally, All Human are spiritually sick but only those who recognise that they are sick go to the Jesus who is the great spiritual doctor for treatment. There are many who are sick yet and do not know it, that is why we need to look constantly into the word of God to know our true spiritual state and condition. For the Word of God is like a mirror that reveals who we truly are.
The Lord desire Mercy and not sacrifice. All our sacrifice is worth nothing if we have not shown mercy to others. All our sacrifice for the Lord is worthless if our attitude of Heart is not that of mercy and compassion. We are to Learn mercy from the Lord by observing how he has also had mercy upon us. If we set the Lord before us always, it would be impossible to have a hard Unforgiving attitude towards others.
The Lord is not interested in those who are not aware of their spiritual sickness but He has come for those who recognize their need of His spiritual healing. He has come to call Sinners to Repentance not to make them rich or have more of material things. It is a Wrong Gospel that tells a Sinner that if He comes to the Lord, He will become rich. Jesus has come to call Sinners to Repentance. And since none of us has become perfect Like Jesus, we all need to Repent!!! Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of Grace that we may obtain mercy for We are confidential of this that “The Lord came to Call Sinners to Repentance”
Dear Friend, if you hear the Lord calling out to you today, Don’t Delay!!! If you hear Him saying to you “Follow Me”, Drop all and follow Him. Little did Matthew know that till today, we will still make reference to what was written by Him in his walk with the Lord. It pays to Follow the Lord!!! If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good, You will be so eager to draw others to the Lord even if it means spending so much just to get them to meet with Jesus. Always remember that the Lord only comes to those who recognise their spiritual sickness and need of Him. And what the Lord desires is Mercy and not sacrifice. May the Lord give us understanding in these matters in Jesus name(Amen). God bless you. Have a blessed day.
#Everyday with Jesus