As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me.” And he rose and followed Him… – Matthew 9:9-13
Scripture reading: Luke 15:1-10
By the preaching of the Lord Jesus, God’s kingdom is opened or closed. It was opened, for instance, to the tax collector, Matthew. As tax collector, he was known for his crooked business, defrauding his fellow Jews. This man was far from the kingdom of God, far from a place among Jesus’ followers. Now to this man, Jesus gives a place among His disciples. How could that be? What would people say of such a gospel? Still, as the Lord Jesus shows in this passage, that’s exactly why He had come: He came to those who were lost; He came for the sick; He came to call sinners!
Imagine that Jesus would have come to call the righteous, people who were worthy of being God’s child and office bearer in God’s church and kingdom. There would be no one who qualified! That’s what should make this event so amazing; yes, that’s what should amaze us about the fact that we may belong to Jesus! Just like Matthew, who followed the Lord Jesus all his life and served Him, so we should wish to respond in thanksgiving and service! Yes, just like Matthew, who brought many more sinners to the Saviour, so we should share this gospel with whomever we can!
The Pharisees and scribes did not like this approach to the gospel. They wanted a church for the elite, of people righteous in themselves, righteous like them. The Lord Jesus, however, sends them away with the message that God desires mercy and not sacrifice, not self-righteousness and an unforgiving attitude!
Suggestions for prayer
Pray for humbleness and for a clear knowledge of our sins and misery. Thank God for His mercy to you and for the gospel.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. William den Hollander (Sr.) is minister-emeritus of the Bethel Canadian Reformed Church of Toronto.