Wednesday 21 September 2022

Bible Book:

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, 'Follow me.' And he got up and followed him. (v. 9)

Matthew 9:9-13 Wednesday 21 September 2022

Psalm 119:65-72


It is good today to mark the feast day of Matthew, for he is an example of how God works to bring his message using the most unexpected people. We read that Matthew was a tax collector. They were not popular, for not only did they collect the required taxes from the population, but traditionally they took a bit extra for themselves. We read that as Matthew sat waiting to receive the money due to him and his employer, Jesus comes along and says “Follow me”, and he got up and followed him.

Matthew and other people, described in the text as fellow tax collectors and sinners, meet together for a meal and as they sit, no doubt listening to the words Jesus has to say to them. The Pharisees observe what is happening and having already acknowledged Jesus as a teacher, cannot understand why he should lower himself to sit with such people, who in their eyes are beyond redemption.

When Jesus heard their criticism he challenges them, reminding them that those who already have received the words they needed to be 'saved' do not need to hear him, but those who are still seeking healing are the ones for whom he has come.

So what has the story of Matthew to say to us, who are people of faith living in a distorted and often uncomfortable world? It comes as a challenge as to some extent we can be said to be like those Pharisees. We feel that we have heard Jesus' words "Follow me" and are doing our best to follow. We meet with our friends for worship in our churches, we listen to the words being taught from the pulpit, we read the scriptures and we say our prayers. But how much notice do we take of those who have not come to know Jesus and his teaching? I'm talking about people, who, however unconsciously, see themselves as having no need for faith, who could say the words 'I’m alright Jack' and ignore to a great extent the needs of their neighbours. I suspect for the most part we let them get on with their lives, rather than open our hearts and our doors to encourage them to change.

When Jesus called his disciples he called them to be change-makers, to challenge the community in which they were living to be different, to be accepting of those who were different from themselves, to give love to the loveless and opportunities to those who had lost hope. So as we think of St Matthew and the massive change to his life when Jesus called him from his tax booth, let us pray that we too might heed the call daily to make a difference for the communities in which we live on behalf of our Lord.

To Ponder:

  • Who are the equivalent of Matthew we see in our towns and villages today?
  • How can we, who term ourselves Christians, encourage others to look to the life of Jesus and hear his call?
  • What simple task can we as individuals or churches undertake which would make a difference in our neighbourhood?


Lord, as we come reflecting on the life of your Apostle Matthew, help us to be aware of those around us who need to hear those words "Follow me". Help us to do our best to smooth the path for them and thus grow your kingdom day by day. Amen.

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