I CAME TO CALL SINNERS        Mtt 9.9-13

Jesus is passing by the customs office and calls to Matthew (Levi) the tax collector to follow him. And he got up and followed him. Why did he follow Jesus? How was it that Matthew moved so promptly at the call of Jesus?  Where does he go? I am always amazed at the prompt response that the author of the gospel tells us. It almost seems that straight away Matthew  follows Jesus, there is no hesitation, no turning back, no word spoken , simply an act of obedience to the call of Jesus

Tax collectors in the time of Jesus were seen as the scum of the earth and    to be treated as trash. They were seen as criminals, siding with the Roman government of the day. They were extortionists, collecting exorbitant amounts of money. A Pharisee would walk on the opposite side of the road when he saw the tax collector –  to demonstrate his disapproval of his way of life. The tax collector would be spat upon and despised tremendously by the religious authorities and normal citizens of the day. To have table fellowship, (eating a meal), or any other kind of association was absolutely condemned by the ruling authorities. Not only was it wrong to associate with such lowly people it would also bring upon ritual uncleanness – unable to participate in Temple Worship.

Jesus responds to the horrific stance of the Pharisees as they observe Jesus accompanying these wicked people. He recommends that the sinners are in need of his embrace and invitation. Since they pride themselves as the law abiding and good- living standards they are in no need of salvation. Jesus says,  “I came to call sinners…” The tax collector, Matthew (Heb; gift of Yahweh) is delighted to be noticed and seen by Jesus. By way of appreciation and conversion in his new life he opens his home to others to come and share in his happiness

Jesus calls us to do the same – to open wide the door of our heart and let him enter. Let us not be ashamed. Let us also be hospitable in allowing Jesus permission to be with us. Let us not allow him pass by,  but as the disciples on the way to Emmaus asked Jesus, call upon the Lord to “stay with us”. Let us ask the Lord to stay with us and make his home in us

Have you invited Jesus into your life today? Every day there is anew opportunity for the door to be opened. He is the loving and forgiving Lord. He does not condemn us in our sins but transforms us into his glory.

Lord Jesus, I hear your voice calling me to follow you. I open my house to you. Stay with me Lord and never let me depart from you. I am sorry for my sins. I repent of my sins, and I acknowledge you as my Lord and Saviour. Amen