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#77 An Outcast is Included

The Jews hated their own who worked for Rome, especially the tax collectors. Not only were they continually reminded of their subservient status by “the traitors,” but they were fleeced by them. Such was Matthew.

He had heard Jesus teach, and his heart had opened to Him. He had wished for Jesus’ help with no thought that it could happen.

Soon after, he is sitting at his booth and sees Jesus and his four followers coming. He is more than surprised when Jesus stops, leans over, looks straight into his eyes and says “Follow me.”

Immediately, he gets up and follows.

No thought, of what he will lose, causes hesitation. He is excited to be with Jesus.

So is everyone called to decide between his own interests and those of Jesus–being in control of our lives or living in God’s presence.

But the first four disciples, James, John, Peter and Andrew, are embarrassed, What is Jesus thinking? This will ruin any chance of acceptance by the rabbis.

The Pharisees intend to make the most of His scandalous choice, especially when Jesus attends a feast given in his honor.

Matthew is anxious to introduce his friends to Jesus, and of, course, they are tax-collectors and other unsavory professionals. That Jesus would accept Matthew created a sensation in their ranks and an eager interest to meet Him.

Jesus knew it would be political suicide to accept the invitation, but he is not influenced by politics, only by open hearts. So he goes.

Matthew 9:14-17, Mark 2:14-15, Luke 5:27–29

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