Daily Reading: Genesis 25, 26; Matthew 9:1-17
As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him. (Matthew 9:9, NASB95)
This is such an important story for the gospel of Matthew because it involves the author’s own conversion. Matthew includes his own personal testimony in his gospel. There are a few important details to consider.
- Jesus initiates the action. He sees Matthew while he is going about his work of collecting taxes for the occupiers of God’s people. While he is involved in this sinful work, Jesus calls him out of it.
- Jesus’ words are the same for Matthew as they are for all people: “Follow Me.” This is another way of saying “Be my disciple.” It involves submission and obedience. All people must find their purpose, meaning, and direction from Jesus.
- Matthew responds to Jesus’ call. He gets up and leaves his tax collector’s booth to follow Jesus. Jesus’ calling requires a response.
- The next verse implies that Matthew invites his friends, “many tax collectors and sinners,” over for dinner to meet Jesus.
- The Pharisees don’t approve of Jesus being with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus replies, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt. 9:13). Jesus has come for all, and He calls all to repent and follow Him.
Matthew’s testimony becomes a paradigm for us. Jesus comes to us where we are, calls us to follow Him, and then part of following is that we invite others to meet Him as well. Has Jesus called you to follow Him? How have you responded to His call? Have you invited others to meet Jesus?