From Matthew 9:9-13
It was time for Jesus to choose certain followers of his to become dedicated disciples. They would need to leave their current jobs. Their full-time work would be to follow Jesus, learn from him, do what Jesus asks, and help teach others.
As Jesus walked along, he saw a man named Matthew, who was a tax collector. Matthew was sitting doing his job when Jesus invited him saying, “Follow me.” Matthew got up right then, leaving his work, and followed him.
Tax collectors were called publicans. Because they dealt with money and taxes, some of the leaders of the Jews felt the publicans were unworthy and not good followers of God.
When Jesus went and had a meal with Matthew and other disciples, the bible says many “publicans and sinners” were there to eat with them.
There were some men who were part of a group called the Pharisees who noticed the people with Jesus. The Pharisees felt that it was most important to strictly obey rules and to do things that look proper. These Pharisees saw the people Jesus was eating with and thought it was terrible that a religious teacher would eat with sinners and common tax collectors.
The Pharisees thought it was so bad that they asked Jesus’ disciples why he ate with publicans and sinners. When Jesus heard this, he said, “they that be whole, need not a physician, but they that are sick.” Jesus was trying to help the Pharisees see that their question was silly. Just like sick people need a doctor, sinners need Jesus. Jesus wanted them to understand that having love and mercy toward people is more important than how people see you and what people think about you.
Jesus finished this teaching by saying, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
What do you think?
- What would it be like to have Jesus call you to follow him?
- Can we follow Jesus today, in our own way? How?
- Was it bad for Jesus to talk with tax collectors? Was it bad to talk with sinners?
- The Pharisees thought that following rules exactly right was more important than being kind. Are both important? Which is more important to you?
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