Not the virtuous, but sinners (One-Year Bible #12)

‘As he went on from there Jesus saw a man named Matthew at his seat in the custom-house, and said to him, “Follow me”; and Matthew rose and followed him.

‘When Jesus was having a meal in the house, many tax-collectors and sinners were seated with him and his disciples. Noticing this, the Pharisees said to his disciples, “Why is it that your teacher eats with tax-collectors and sinners?” Hearing this he said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Go and learn what this text means, ‘I require mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.”’ (Matthew 9.9-13 REB)

I note the process in these verses.

  1. Jesus reaches out to Matthew, a tax collector. In doing this he crosses some powerful barriers. Matthew responds positively.
  2. The next thing we read is that he’s having a meal with tax collectors and sinners. Is this coincidence, or is Matthew introducing Jesus to his friends?
  3. Jesus is criticized by the religious establishment for being friendly with the wrong people.
  4. Jesus gives the theological explanation for what he’s doing: he’s going where the need is greatest. (actually, the Pharisees need him too, they just aren’t willing to admit it).

Some good stuff there!

(Today’s One-Year Bible readings are Genesis 26.17 – 27.46, Matthew 9.1-17, Psalm 10.16-18, and Proverbs 3.9-10)

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