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jesus calls matthew
Bible Passage Mark 2: 13- 17
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2024 & books Mark, Matthew.

Jesus calls Matthew

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached January 18, 2024

13 Jesus went out again beside the sea. The whole crowd kept coming to him, and he kept teaching them.

14 As he was walking along, he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the tax collector’s desk. Jesus told him, “Follow me!” So Levi got up and followed him.

15 Later, he was having dinner at Levi’s house. Many tax collectors and sinners were also eating with Jesus and his disciples, because there were many who were following him.

16 When the scribes and the Pharisees saw him eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

17 When Jesus heard that, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a physician, but sick ones do. I did not come to call righteous people, but sinners.”

The next person to join Jesus’ group of chosen disciples was the tax collector Matthew.
Levi was probably another name for Matthew. The Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 9:9) calls him Levi.

His work was to collect taxes from people in Capernaum and from merchants who were travelling through the city. People hated those who collected taxes for two reasons:

1 They were working for the Romans who were their enemies.

2 They had to keep some money for themselves after they had collected the required amount. It was easy for them to cheat people and to demand too much money. They became rich.

Matthew took Jesus home for a meal and invited his fellow tax collectors and other friends to come and meet his new master. Jews despised tax collectors as being unpatriotic, dishonest, and irreligious. The Pharisees despised Jesus when they saw Him eating with them.

‘Sinners’ describes two kinds of people:

1 Those with bad moral behaviour, &

2 Those who did not obey all the extra rules the scribes had made up. The scribes tried to make a rule for every situation.

The Pharisees were strict Jews. Their name means ‘the separate men’. They tried to keep their faith ‘separate’ from the bad effects of other religions. Many of them lived very good lives. They became proud that they obeyed God’s laws. And they obeyed all the rules that the scribes had made up. They would completely avoid those people that they called ‘sinners’. They believed that Jesus was encouraging wrong behaviour by joining Matthew’s banquet and that He would also make himself ‘unclean’ when He ate with ‘sinners’.

The Pharisees made two mistakes in their understanding:
1 Jesus had come to look for ‘sinners’ to bring them into His kingdom.
2 Jesus could meet with all kinds of people, even wicked ones. Those people cannot negatively change Jesus’ behaviour or thoughts.

So Jesus replied that if tax collectors were as bad as the Pharisees claimed, then tax collectors were just the sort of people who needed His help. God was pleased with Jesus’ action in showing mercy to outcasts.

🔷 God calls the worst sinner and mercifully changes the one to be a useful tool for Him

🔷 Claiming to be righteous is sinful and a stumbling block to the reception of full blessings from God.

🔷 We must turn to God today, in fact now, so that we follow Him and do His work

💥 Ask that you respond to the call of Christ to follow Him
💥 Pray against self-righteousness

Believers must rejoice and support the evangelisation of people so that they receive the full blessings of God. One’s previous status does not matter to God.

In series Bright Morning Reflections