He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.” Matthew 9:12 NABRE
Jesus calls Matthew a tax collector to be a disciple, a surprising move. Tax collectors are seen as sinners. Jesus calling Matthew signals Jesus did not come to call and lead the upright but that He seeks the lost and the sinner. Jesus further invites scandal by having a meal at Matthew’s house. Table fellowship expresses a certain solidarity, sharing food symbolizes a shared life. Matthew invites other tax collectors and sinners and so the scandal appears heightened in that Jesus seems to favor the sinner, perhaps He Himself is a sinner. Jesus identifies Himself with these “outsiders” and welcomes them into the kingdom. In the eyes of the religious leaders Jesus is inviting all the wrong people and they wonder why Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners. What kind of teacher is He if He would do such a thing?
Jesus responds to there mumbling, He is here for the sinner, much like the physician seeks to heal the sick. Pope Francis has said a number of times the church is a field hospital that takes in the weakest, the infirmed. Jesus does not forget about the righteous but certainly His biggest effort is exerted for those who have fallen away or are unaware of the message of the gospel altogether. Jesus is not embarrassed or distracted by appearances, He seeks the lost sheep and will leave the ninety-nine in order to find the one. Certainly Matthew’s calling is a success in the regard and it is likely many others sinners are influenced through his relationship with Jesus as a disciple. We should never fear being associated with the weak and infirmed, we should use our time, talent and treasure to lead them to Jesus.
Who do you seek out for company? Did someone associate with you when you were lost that helped you find your way?Matthew’s calling is a success, many others sinners are likely influenced through his relationship with Jesus as a disciple. We should never fear being associated with the weak, the sinner or infirmed. Click To Tweet
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