JESUS CALLED THE SINNERS
When Jesus saw Matthew (Levi) collecting taxes from the people, Jesus called him to follow Him. Matthew was considered a sinner by the Jewish people because he was known to steal money from the common people by collecting taxes for the Roman. During this time, the Roman Empire occupied the land of Israel, and all Jews must pay taxes to the Emperor of Rome. Matthew would charge the people more than the actual taxes owed. As a result, he made a lot of money. However, he was an outcast to the Jewish leaders, especially to the religious leaders. He was also considered a traitor by his countrymen because he was working for their enemy. Despite everything Matthew was known for, Jesus called him to become one of His disciples. After Jesus called Matthew, Jesus went to his place and ate dinner with him and other tax collectors.
When the religious leaders saw Jesus eating and associating with the tax collectors, they judged Jesus. However, Jesus told them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Matthew 2:17). The reason Jesus came was to save sinners like us. He is not looking for those people who think that they are good or accepted by God because of their good works, but Jesus is looking for those people who are desperate to be saved from their sins. The religious leaders thought that God accepted them because of all the good works they had done in public, but God looked at their hearts, and their hearts were far from God. Jesus called Matthew because he was a sinner. We also need to notice that Matthew immediately followed Jesus. He demonstrated that a person does not need to change their way of life before following Jesus. Matthew changed his way of life after he decided to follow Jesus.
We have to be encouraged that Jesus came for us as sinners. We do not need to prove ourselves to be accepted by God, but simply believe and follow Him. As we follow Him, God will change our hearts and make us become the person He wants us to be. Matthew ended up writing the gospel of Matthew later on in his spiritual journey with Jesus.
Ask yourself these questions: Who did Jesus come to this world? Do I need to be a good person before following Jesus? Can God accept me just the way I am? Once I follow Jesus, what will He do with my life?
Write down all the worries you are facing today and lift them up to God.
Father in Heaven, thank you for sending Your only Son, Jesus, to save me from my sin. I come before you with an open heart, and I pray that you continue to change me to be the person you want me to be. Please help me to surrender everything to you so that I may experience your fullness in me. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.