Day 7: Be Our Guest

Read Matthew 9: 9-13
Read Luke 5: 27-31

Take a moment and think about the people you’ve invited over to your home for dinner. I’m guessing these are people you genuinely love, such as family and close friends, or people you respect and want to get to know better, such as coworkers, neighbors, or even a boss. Opening your home and cooking for someone requires vulnerability; as such, there’s generally an established relationship, most likely a tight bond, between you and your guests.

Or you can be like Matthew and invite over a guy you just met.

Only Jesus wasn’t just any guy, and Matthew could immediately sense that He was different.

As Jesus began calling His apostles, Matthew sat at his booth as a tax collector for the Roman government. The Jews were under Roman rule at this time, so Matthew, a Jew, was considered a traitor for collecting taxes from his own people. He was stuck between two places: looked down upon by the Romans and despised by his brethren. Unwanted by both worlds, he was likely an outcast from society.

Why stay in such a miserable job? Tax collectors made very good money, even if they were honest and didn’t over-charge the people (which many did). Odds are Matthew was pretty well off financially, though dying spiritually, when Jesus passed His booth one day.

And all it took were two words for Him to rock Matthew’s world.

“Follow me.”

At that, Matthew got up, left everything, and followed Jesus. We have no documentation of any previous relationship or additional conversation. With that short sentence, Matthew abandoned his lifestyle and a lucrative career to devote his life to a stranger.

And not only that, but he invited Jesus to his home for a great banquet where a large crowd of tax collectors and other “sinners” (according to the Pharisees in Luke 5:30) joined them.

At this point, Matthew couldn’t have known that Jesus was the Messiah. He didn’t know that this man would die to erase his sinful record. It took the apostles quite some time to understand exactly who they were following and how glorious He was (Luke 18:34; John 13:21-22; John 14:5-10).

And yet, Matthew not only invited Jesus into his home and threw a party for Him, but he surrendered his entire life to Him.

These may sound like the actions of a madman, but I think Matthew’s motivations were pure. Amidst a life of rejection, he finally met someone who valued him – and Jesus’ acceptance and recognition of worth was all it took to gain Matthew’s full devotion.

The world saw nothing special in Matthew, but Jesus recognized greatness. Maybe it would take years to grow, but Jesus identified phenomenal potential in a person society cast aside.

No matter how disconnected you feel from the world, just know that there is one that always gets you and welcomes you. He’ll always say, “Follow me.”

How will you respond?