Later, Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. Matthew 9:10
One of the first things that the tax collector does after following Jesus is throw a big party. He invites all of his rich tax collector friends and fills his home with all the most notorious sinners in town. It was a party with a purpose. Matthew wanted all of his friends to find the same joy he experienced when he met Jesus. He brought them all together and spared no expense on the food and drinks that night. Jesus didn't shy away from the opportunity but instead went to the party to connect with those who are lost.
The interesting response is not in what Jesus does, but instead, it comes from the religious leaders. They begin to criticize Jesus for spending time with sinners. It is there that Jesus offers the profound statement, "Healthy people don't need a doctor—sick people do" (Matthew 9:12). He knew that His purpose was to reach those people who were aware of their own need for God. He spent a lot of His time condemning those who were self-righteous while lifting up those who were humble, broken and open to the hope of salvation. He made His profession all about bringing light into the dark recesses of humanity.
Jesus knew His mission when He walked the earth. Do you know yours? Do you know that God has put you here to reach out to those who are far from Him? He has called you to build a relationship with those who are lost. Jesus could have passed by the tax collector and turned away, thinking there was no hope for this man. He could have seen all of his affluence and materialism and thought that he was too far gone. As a Jewish tax collector, Matthew had sold out his own people to the Roman government to make another buck. But instead of just passing by, Jesus took the time to care for this man and the needs of his hurting friends.
We have to make time to engage with people who may not look like us, those who are disregarded by others. It takes getting out of our comfort zone to pursue a life of following Jesus. Will you choose to get out of your comfort zone today to make a difference?
We all pass by people and miss opportunities to minister to those who are hurting. We have the chance to reach out and make a difference, but instead, we choose our own comfort. If you want to move toward action today, select someone that you have been passing by to engage in a conversation. It may be an office member that no one likes at work that you extend kindness to and make time for a conversation to encourage them. It might be a family member who has felt hurt that you reach out to, try to mend things with, and offer forgiveness. It could be there is a person at school or church that you have noticed always sits alone, and instead of looking for your friends, you make time to share God's love with them. Write out your plan in a journal for what you can do to reach out this week.
Read Matthew 9:9-13 (NLT)
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 such scum?”
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.”