During my own personal journey, there was a time when I didn’t belong to anything worth being proud of. I was a young man trying to find his way in a world that was full of entertainment and temptations. Some entertainment was self-generating and other of it wasn’t. Regardless, I was a slave to sin. I was full of envy, jealousy, pride, ego, etc. Then one day, Jesus woke me up from my spiritual death and told me to follow Him.
This is where this scripture starts. It shows us how Jesus in all his Glory, came to this earth to call us “sinners” to a life worth living. A life worth finding meaning and purpose. Matthew 9:9 starts by telling us that Jesus called Matthew. Here was this tax collector, who in that time, was considered ungodly and unworthy to the religious groups of that time.
Regardless of what the religious groups considered okay and acceptable, Jesus ignored them, went straight to Matthew and told him “Follow me”. What did Matthew do? Did he ignore Jesus? Absolutely not. Matthew upon hearing the words of Jesus, rose and followed him. Matthew knew the significance and authority of Him who calls us to repentance.
Religious leaders who were standing around didn’t like this very much. They didn’t understand why. They were a barrier to many, who like Matthew, you, and I, need critically.
When Jesus calls us, He passes all barriers, and no matter how the world sees us, He sees us different. He sees us as His children who are worthy of much more. He knows that we are dead in our sin and therefore in need of a Healer. That Healer is Jesus. He doesn’t see us broken and unworthy. He sees us through a completely different lens. He can see straight through our outwardly presence and into our hearts. According to Him, we are worthy of redeeming.
After Jesus called Matthew, Jesus reclined at a table in the house and many more tax collectors and sinners came and reclined with Jesus and his disciples. Can you imagine what this looked like? Here is Jesus who was going around healing the sick and forgiving sins, and now was reclining with sinners. Sinners where the low of the low. Considered to be worthless by religious groups. But again, Jesus didn’t see them as such.
Have we ever seen spiritual leaders, brothers and sisters in Christ, or anyone else, sit with those who the rest of us view as bad, unworthy, or second class? Have we in our very own churches denied entry to those who just don’t fit in? Do we ignore those who may need Jesus because we rather not be looked at differently? Do we care more about our own status?
We belong to a culture where fitting in carries so much weight. This culture has penetrated every aspect of our daily lives and caused us to forget that we are here to serve God first. Jesus knew what his calling was. He knew that there were a group of people known as “sinners” that needed saving. That needed healing from the inside out.
The Pharisees didn’t get it. They went as far as questioning Jesus’s disciples as to why He was reclining and eating with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus heard them questioning just as God may hear us questioning others. But here is what’s so impactful regarding this scripture. Jesus asked them something that let them see who Jesus was and the power He Had. Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick”.
You and I need a physician. A physician who can see past all the barriers we put up. A physician who can penetrate our doubtful minds and have us believe that He can heal us. He heals us from what is most important, our hearts. He gives us a heart of flesh. He opens our eyes to a world that is new with a true purpose. Sinners need Jesus. It’s that simple. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves.
As we go through life, may we spot those who need healing of the heart. May we look past our own sickness of trying to please others and look to please only God. There are many others who need a physician. Listen up brothers and sisters in Christ, God will use us to sit with people who are viewed as rejects and consequently show who God is. He’s a God of compassion and love, who holds the power to save us. He will make us fishers of men.
If we had it all together, we wouldn’t need a savior. Some of us may think that we are indeed good enough. That we don’t need saving and aren’t sick, but who are we lying to. Only to ourselves.
I will forever be grateful that there’s a God who desires for us to be saved and therefore came to call us to follow Him. As Jesus told the Pharisees, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners”.
Jesus Calls Matthew
9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.Matthew 9:9-13 ESV
10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”