MEN OF THE BIBLE (MATTHEW: TAX COLLECTOR TURNED EVANGELIST)

saint-matthew-guido-reni

Today we know Matthew as the one of the four beloved writers whom God used to chronicle the life of Jesus so we would have it, could refer to it, and could be transformed by it. But Matthew wouldn’t have felt the love during his era. He was from Galilee, and while Rome occupied the area, collaborators like Matthew were the ones who collected taxes for them. Tax collectors were also known to becomes rich by charging more than was due.

Along came Jesus, who saw Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth and issued a simple command: “Follow me”-and Matthew instantly left his life of luxury for an unknown adventure. Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples back to his house, which was probably a large residence, where they dined with other tax collectors and sinners, where they dined with other tax collectors and sinners, because he wanted them to have access to Jesus. And Jesus gladly ate with them.

Sometimes the most religious among us question our willingness to hang out with people who aren’t living up to our standards, just like the Pharisees did Jesus in this circumstance. Do it anyway. As Jesus answered the Pharisees, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”

MATTHEW 9:9 NIV-  As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. 

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