For those of us who think we have it all together, that we are righteous in and of ourselves, well, today’s Gospel isn’t Good News, is it? Jesus says, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” But for those of us who know we need our Savior, what great joy to know that our Savior will come and dine with us!
That Jesus would call a man like Matthew to come and follow him is news of redemption and hope for all of us. Tax collectors in those days, as you may know, were notorious for exploiting the people they were collecting from, taking far over and above what their tax should be. The occupation of tax collector was synonymous with the name “sinner.” Clearly such a man was unfit for the kingdom of God. But to him, the Lord Jesus says, “follow me.”
The redemption we have in Christ is a complete healing and change from the inside out. We aren’t just forgiven and sent out to continue living our lives as we always have. No, we are forgiven and then told to “follow me.” Because following Christ is the only way that our broken lives can be reclaimed and drawn back to God who made us. And following Christ is the only way that we sinners can be part of the Kingdom of God.