The Call of Matthew

Matthew 9.9-13call of matthew
[9] As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
[10] And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.
[11] And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
[12] But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
[13] Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

What I love about this passage is the complete representation of what has occurred in the life of Matthew. What has happened is not just spiritual but also physical. It portrays the union of spirit and matter, of commitment to the Lord Jesus accompanied by a corresponding commitment to a changed way of living.

Jesus knocks at the door of Matthew’s heart. Matthew opens his heart and invites the Lord into it. In turn Jesus invites Matthew into his Way of Life and Matthew enters in.

Likewise, Matthew invites Jesus to a banquet at his home (his life). He is not afraid of “going public” about his commitment. The Lord is willing and enters in. Notice that the passage then seems to take a mysterious turn. Let me point to it by asking, “Whose is the host of the banquet at Matthew’s home?” Jesus sits at table with Matthew – Matthew is Jesus’ host. But notice that in the same verse it says, “…many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus…” The implication seems to be that the banquet starts out being Matthew’s and ends up being Jesus’. The union of the heart of God and the heart of men and women corresponds to the union of the common life of God and the common life of men and women.

The heart into which the Lord is invited ceases to be the disciple’s heart. It becomes the temple/palace of the master into which He invites and entertains “all sorts and conditions of men.” Likewise, the life into which a person invites the Lord ceases to be his or her life (see 1 Co. 6.19-20). It becomes the physical temple/palace of the Master where not only the person’s life is changed but those who are invited into it are saved.

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