(Mt.9:9-13; Mk.2:13-17; Lk.5:27-32)
Many buildings that once housed thriving congregations of worshippers are now in the hands of businesses, charities, and historical societies. Church, for the world, has become a place. A place for the old, lonely, and gullible; all huddled together to seek the help and solace in a ‘god’ who has long since lost his grip on the world.Until Christians understand and accept that salvation is for the man who sees himself as a hopeless sinner separated from God, we, along with the world, miss the very starting point of our redemption. Jesus saw in Matthew a believer who would soon shape the world with the words he would have him pen. Others saw an irredeemable sinner surrounded by his fellow tax collectors and moral reprobates.How do we know this? Because they themselves said so at the party that Matthew threw for Jesus and his disciples. Religious hypocrisy resides most comfortably in the bosom of cowardice. The Scribes and Pharisees muttered their disgust at Jesus to the disciples—but in Jesus’ hearing, of course.Jesus answered them according to their hypocrisy: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Lk.5:31-32).The religious establishment viewed Matthew and his friends as God’s outsiders. Thus, Jesus proved his own lack of care for righteousness by ‘eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners’.Matthew wrote about the spiritual war that Jesus waged against the religious self-righteous. With every sentence he would have remembered that day, and praised God for calling, training, and inspiring ‘a poor sinner like me!’Repentance is the heart’s cry to Jesus to be saved from itself. He is still healing. He is still calling. Not the righteous, but the sinners. (John Staiger)If you have been blessed by this post, please feel free to ‘Share,’ ‘Like,’ or comment.