Read Mat 9.9-13, Mk 2.13-17, Lk 5.27-32
After that He went out and noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me.” And he left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him.
Jesus calls Matthew the Tax Collector to be part of His evangelistic team.
Can you imagine what enlisting Matthew did to the team dynamics? We know how this addition of a social pariah affected the religious leaders, the Pharisees. They didn’t even try to conceal their distain of such an association. But what impact would this have on His closest disciples? No doubt the Fishermen had paid their taxes to Matthew at some point in time as he was taxing commerce along the road near the Sea of Galilee. And yet Jesus takes this huge risk. Why? It is obvious that this was not only meant for Matthew’s personal relationship with Jesus but also to send a clear message. He would accept anyone who would follow Him in repentance and sincerity (Act 10.34-35, Rom 2.11). This underscored the striking contrast between those who need Jesus and those who think they don’t. The difference is not found in occupation, status, or even morality. The only place the real disparity exists is in their attitude. When Jesus said it is the “sick that need a physician,” He was not implying the Pharisees were not sick. They were sinners of the same caliber but just did not acknowledge it. Matthew had no trouble acknowledging He needed the physician.
As Disciplemakers, we need to help people understand that there is no such thing as an “exciting testimony.” No one’s sins got them any closer to the flames of Hell than another’s, whether it be homosexuality or white lies (Rom 3.23). And no one has received any more grace than that which was poured out by Jesus on the cross (1 Pet 3.18). In the economy of sin and grace we all stand on a level playing field. It is our attitude toward the Judge of sin and the Giver of grace, the Lord Jesus Christ, which will ultimately determine our relationship with Him. Put an end to the comparison game. FJ59
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