Matthew 9:9-12 9As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s office; and He said to him, Be My disciple [side with My party and follow Me]. And he rose and followed Him. 10And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and [especially wicked] sinners came and sat (reclined) with Him and His disciples. 11And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, Why does your Master eat with tax collectors and those [preeminently] sinful? 12But when Jesus heard it, He replied, Those who are strong and well (healthy) have no need of a physician, but those who are weak and sick.
Jesus was walking along, ministering, and saw Matthew who happened to be a tax collector. From reading the verses that follow it seems pretty apparent that tax collectors in Jesus’ day weren’t our modern day IRS agents in three piece suits. Verse 10 in fact, lumps tax collectors with especially wicked sinners. In those times tax collectors were greedy, usually dishonest cheats who robbed people of more money than they actually owed. See another reason Jesus is so amazing? He looks past who Matthew was, saw the potential in him and said, “Come. Follow me.” Jesus wasn’t concerned with Matthew’s resume, & He didn’t look at his past. Jesus didn’t care what Matthew had been, He saw what he could be. I love this because if I look at my own resume, parts of it aren’t too great. There are choices and decisions from my past that I’m not too proud of. How glad I am that Jesus looked beyond who I was, saw the potential in me and said, “Follow Me.” How glad I am that I said yes!
It’s wonderful that Jesus called Matthew, but Matthew also had to respond. Verse 10 shows us that he rose and followed Jesus. He made a decision instantly to leave behind his old lifestyle, his old habits, the person he was, and become everything he was created to be. What if Matthew had looked at himself and said, “surely the Master can’t be talking to me. I’m a sinner, I’m a liar and a cheat. I’m not worthy to be in the company of the Son of God.” He would have missed out on his destiny.
2 Peter 3:9 says 9The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance. It is God’s desire that none should perish. This means that regardless of who you are, and regardless of what you’ve done, you too have the opportunity to leave your old life behind and follow Jesus. How do you do that? It’s simple. The first thing you have to do is believe. In Acts 16:30-31 30And he brought them out [of the dungeon] and said, Men, what is it necessary for me to do that I may be saved? 31And they answered, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ [give yourself up to Him, take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping] and you will be saved, [and this applies both to] you and your household as well. Next you must confess with your mouth. It says in Romans 10:9 Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Repent of your sins and as it says in 1 John 1:9 If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]. Then ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life.
If you’ve never received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I want you to know He is calling you. He’s inviting you to follow him and now is your chance to answer His call. Pray this prayer,
Dear Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. Thank you for giving your life for me. I give you my life and all that I am. I choose to follow You. I repent of my sins, and I ask you to forgive me for where I have fallen short. I ask you now, to come into my heart, to be my Lord and Savior. I commit to follow you all the days of my life, form this day forward. Amen
If you prayed that prayer, welcome to the family of God! I encourage you to find a good church home, a place where the Word of God is preached with power and authority, where you can grow in the things of God. Get a Bible and begin to read God’s word. Start spending time in prayer and in getting to know your Heavenly Father. Find someone to keep you accountable, to mentor you, to help you as you begin your Christian walk. Luke 15:10 says Even so, I tell you, there is joy among and in the presence of the angels of God over one person who repents (changes his mind for the better, heartily amending his ways, with abhorrence of his past sins). If you prayed that prayer today, Heaven is rejoicing over you!