Week 35   Day 4 


Matthew had been a tax collector, a Jew who collaborated with

the Romans who occupied the land of Israel at the time. 

He worked for the enemy, collecting taxes from his fellow-Jews.


Location is everything and Matthew's location was along the

shores of the Sea of Galilee where he just may have taxed

the families of Peter and James and John. 


Matthew the tax collector, the one who takes our money. 

He collected so much for Rome and so much for himself. 

That made him a rich man and the object of much scorn.


What was Jesus thinking when he said to Matthew, "Follow me!"? 

Everyone present must have been startled beyond belief. 

Not only at Jesus' invitation but also at Matthew's response.


Perhaps Jesus needed a greater variety of abilities among his disciples. 

Matthew could read, and put words together on paper. 

He was organized and kept accurate records.  What's more,

he had a lot of experience at turning a deaf ear to insults.  

And maybe Jesus could transform Matthew's zeal
for personal wealth
into zeal for the kingdom of heaven 

so that Matthew, the taker, would become Matthew, the giver!


Having Matthew in the group gave the other disciples

opportunity to learn what the Gospel was all about.




Matthew would have enjoyed telling the story

            about the Roman centurion

Centurions were military officers

            and totally outside the realm

            of Jewish religious life

This centurion humbled himself and asked Jesus to heal his servant 


Centurions were thought to be heartless brutes 

            but this one begged for the life

            of a man who was simply a servant

As Jesus listened the this gentile centurion 

            he heard the most amazing thing 

            that great combination of humility and faith.




                    GENTILES AND OTHER SINNERS
Who's righteous?  Who's a sinner?  Surprises await us.

                                      Matthew 8 & 9


    5 In Capernaum, a centurion pleaded with Jesus, 6saying,

"Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed,  dreadfully

tormented."  7Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him."

    8The centurion answered, "Lord, I am not worthy that You

should come under my roof.  But only speak a word, and my

servant will be healed.  9For I also am a man under authority,

having soldiers under me.  And I say to this one, 'Go,' and he

goes; and to another, 'Do this,' and he does it."

    10When Jesus heard it, He marveled, "I have not found

such great faith, not even in Israel!  11 I say to you that many

will come from east and west, and sit with Abraham, Isaac,

and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven."  13Then Jesus said to

the centurion, "Go your way; as you have believed, so let it

be done for you."  And his servant was healed that same hour.

    9As Jesus passed on, He saw a man named Matthew at the

tax office.  He said, "Follow Me."  Matthew arose and followed.

    10Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house,

tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him. 

11When the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples,

"Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"

    12When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are

well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  13Go

and learn what this means:  'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' 

I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

    14Then the disciples of John the Baptist came, saying, "Why

do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?" 

    15Jesus said, "Do the friends of the bridegroom mourn while

the bridegroom is with them?  When the bridegroom is taken

away, then they will fast.  16No one puts a piece of unshrunk

cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls from the garment,

and the tear is made worse.  17Nor do they put new wine into

old wineskins, lest the wineskins break, and the wine is spilled.   

Put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."

    35Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching

in their synagogues, preaching the gospel, and healing every

sickness and disease.  36When He saw the multitudes, He was

moved with compassion for them, because they were weary

and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.  37He said to His

disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 

38Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into His harvest."
                This Bible passage was condensed from the NKJV

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