Today’s passage: Matthew 9:9-13
- Tax collectors would set a number for collection that was higher than what Rome required to pay their own salary. So, picture a Jew working for Rome taking money from other Jews to give to Rome and make themselves personally wealthy…these men were hated.
- Matthew, the tax collector, hated by many, became a follower of Jesus!
- Religious leaders (The Pharisees) did not approve of Jesus’ company.
- “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” is from Hosea 6. The imagery of Hosea compares Israel to an adulterous woman. The Pharisees thought they were righteous, Jesus was telling them otherwise. They belonged in that crowd just as much as anyone else.
Questions to consider:
- How many righteous acts did Matthew have to perform before Jesus allowed him to become a follower?
- How does this dinner party compare with Jesus touching and healing the leper? What direction was the impact flowing? Were the sinners making Jesus sinful or was Jesus changing them?
- Were the Pharisees well? Were they righteous? Did they have need of a physician? What was Jesus telling them?
- Honestly ask yourself…do you think you are well? Do you need Jesus or are you already righteous?
- If we as a church are following Jesus, who should we expect to see joining together with us? How “righteous” do they have to be before we welcome them in?
- What is the goal of our relationships with unbelievers? What do I have to believe about my own life and our God in order for that relationship to be effective?