Summary: The Pharisees can't see why Jesus would want to "eat with such scum?" (Matthew 9:11). JESUS AGREES THAT THEY ARE SCUM! He just says, "Healthy people don't need a doctor-sick people do." (Matthew 9:12). There it is again - REDEMPTIVE POTENTIAL.
Part 2 - Matthew 9:9-13 - JESUS, DID YOU JUST CALL ME SCUM?
In Kiev, MONEY CHANGERS sit in little booths with a small window. You can't see their faces and they mutter to you in Russian as you hand over American dollars in exchange for Grivnas. Whenever I exchanged money I seemed to be getting more Grivna for my dollar because the Ukrainian Grivna was losing value so quickly (As I write this one Ukrainian grivna = 0.1 Australian dollars).
When I think of Matthew as a TAX COLLECTOR, I think of him sitting in one of these little Urkrainian money changing booths. Matthew is one of the most despised of people - a tax collector, a Jewish traitor who had sold out to the Romans, a man from the ATO (Australia) or the IRS (America). He was working for the Romans (Israel). No-one likes a tax agent. Mostly they are corrupt (Oh, oh. I can feel and audit coming on. Corrupt then of course, not now...never now.)
JESUS CALLS HIM AND HE FOLLOWS. Why do the disciples do that? Just get up and leave their jobs? Did Matthew know Jesus before this time? It just says "As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector's booth. "Follow me and be My disciple," Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed Him." (Matthew 9:9).
Jesus has that effect on people. Lifechange! One minute you are sitting in a tax collectors booth, despised and rejected, and the next minute you are following Jesus. How does that work? I'd like to think that as Jesus walked by and asked me to follow Him, that I'd go, but it looks so spontaneous here. It looks like Matthew doesn't even know this guy called Jesus. So why the sudden lifestyle change. Was he just sick of being thought of as scum and for the first time someone saw something in him. JESUS KNEW "DESPISED AND REJECTED." The Pharisees didn't like Him much.
Lord, thanks for calling me to follow You. You always see in me what other people can't - MY REDEMPTIVE POTENTIAL in Your service. I am so grateful for that.
In Luke 14:33 (NLT) Jesus says, "So you cannot become My disciple without giving up everything you own." Matthew owned a house. All of a sudden, that now belongs to God, and is immediately used in God's service. Notice Matthew didn't sell his house and give the money to the poor. He just invited Jesus in and it was transformed from a house into a ministry space for Jesus to use.
ALL I HAVE IS NOW HIS! Does He want me to sell it or give it away? Maybe. Mostly He wants me to USE IT TO HONOUR HIM!
Jesus gets invited to MATTHEW'S PLACE FOR DINNER. His house becomes a vehicle for His friends to get to know Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 (NLT) says, "... we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God!""
Matthew owned his own house, which was big enough for a feast. He is not poor but now His house belongs to God. Matthew obviously wants his mates to come to know Christ like he has. So he invites them along - "many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners." (Matthew 9:10).
The Pharisees don't like this at all! They can't see why Jesus would want to "eat with such scum?" (Matthew 9:11). JESUS AGREES THAT THEY ARE SCUM! He doesn't defend them and try to boost their egos. He just says, "Healthy people don't need a doctor-sick people do." (Matthew 9:12). There it is again - REDEMPTIVE POTENTIAL.
JESUS ISN'T INTO DENIAL. He knows they are sick with their sinful behaviour. The difference between Him and the Pharisees is HE IS WILLING TO BE THE SOLUTION, not just gripe about the problem. I really like that.
What the Pharisees fail to realise is that THEY ARE SCUM TOO. Jesus says, "Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.' For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners." (Matthew 9:13). That's really the crunch isn't it? When you come to Jesus you have to admit that you are a sinner. The thing is, Jesus didn't shy away from sinners. He had dinner with them. He went to where they were.
Sin makes you spiritually sick. All have sinned Romans 3:23 (NLT) says, "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." Jesus came to heal, restore, show mercy and forgive. FROM SCUM OF THE EARTH TO SOMEONE OF GREAT VALUE AND WORTH TO GOD. Totally restored and forgiven. As we say in Australia "NOT BAD AT ALL!"
God bless you Church as you invite Jesus to dinner.