Do you know where you were when Jesus reached down and touched you?  Jesus found Matthew sitting at the tax booth along the road near the seashore.  Perhaps it was there that he had heard of the paralytic’s healing for this is how Matthew heard any news, having been ostracized and considered a traitor for collecting taxes to be given to Rome. Yet Jesus looked beyond his profession to his heart for he calls both the righteous and the sinners to the kingdom that he has been proclaiming. As a mark of humility, Matthew the author, always reminds us from where he has come to serve the Master. He simply calls himself the “tax collector.” No other apostle is so described with the exception of Judas, the betrayer. In this description Matthew is saying to the reader, if Jesus can save me, he can save anyone. Jesus reaches into the gutter or the palace, from the lowliest to the mighty. His message remains the same: “come, follow me.”  This is a reminder of 1Cor 1:18 “the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishingbut to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

 Matthew, according to Luke and Mark forsook all, leaving his lucrative business behind showing us the power of his transformation. But, before he left Capernaum, he invited all of his friends and companions to a banquet. The dinner guest list included the other tax collectors and sinners---and Jesus was among them for he sees their and our need of transformation.

Before Matthew had the authority to collect taxes from Rome, now he will have authority over unclean spirits and the blessed gift of healing. If anyone could empathize with those in these dire straits, it would be Matthew for he too had experienced ostracism.

How about you?