Meeting Jesus (Matthew 9:9-14)


There are different ways of approaching this incident recorded by Matthew. Obviously, it was the occasion of him meeting Jesus and becoming one of his apostles. It was the commencement for Matthew of a life that he could not possibly have imagined. It would never have crossed his mind while he was working in Capernaum that people throughout the world two thousand years later would be reading material that he had written. This is an obvious reminder that no one knows where Jesus will take them after conversion.

Perhaps we can even consider the incident from the point of view of qualifications for eating a meal with Jesus at that time. How would people in general know whether they could ask Jesus for a meal in their homes? The disciples would be able to tell them if he would go to their homes.

Obviously Matthew needed to have a personal encounter with Jesus before the meal would take place. If Matthew had been asked a week earlier about the possibility of Jesus being present at a meal with a tax-collector he would have said it would not happen. An encounter was needed first.

In Matthew’s case, the encounter seems to have been very sudden. Of course, it is possible that Matthew had prayed for this meeting or at least had a desire to meet Jesus because everyone in the area was speaking about him. Matthew may even have seen Jesus in action healing needy people or heard some of his teaching. Nevertheless, the encounter does seem to be sudden.

Moreover, the initial interaction with Jesus was very short – Jesus only spoke two words to Matthew (Follow me) and the great change in his life took place. This is a reminder that Jesus speaks with great power into the souls of sinners and when he does he does not need to use many words.

And the brief interaction was very surprising because Matthew was despised by the people in general because he worked as a tax-collector for the Roman authorities. It is often a surprising the type of person whom Jesus chooses to use in the development of his kingdom.

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