(Still Catching Up)
Genesis 29-30 Matthew 9:1-17
“When Jesus was leaving, he saw a man named Matthew sitting in the tax collector’s booth. Jesus said to him, ‘Follow me,’ and he stood up and followed Jesus.” (Matthew 9:9 NCV)
One of the reasons people loved Jesus was because He recognized the value of all people. The first disciples He called were fishermen. In today’s reading, He called a tax collector. This wasn’t one of those kindly souls from the IRS, this was a Roman tax collector. Roman tax collectors collaborated with Rome. They were among the worst types of sinners in the Jewish hierarchy of sinners. They were, in face, lower than regular sinners as Pharisees sniffed when they talked about sinners and tax collectors.
I think we forget how universal the message of Jesus was, and is. As Jesus spoke, we know that some Pharisees, including specifically Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, followed Him. Hyper nationalists like Judas Iscariot followed Him. Prostitutes and tax collectors followed Him. Too often our churches and our friends look, think and act like us. The message of Jesus is rich with a love that speaks to people in every cultural situation. It’s easy to think that other cultures are inferior to ours, when the truth is Jesus speaks to and loves people in every one of those cultures. Jesus doesn’t look at our nationality, our ethnicity, our economic level, or any of the things that people look at. He looks at and speaks to our hearts. And when we listen, we can fellowship with religious leader and prostitute; tea party member and Antifa member knowing that all are welcome in the heart of Jesus.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.