No one likes tax collectors. No one says, “The IRS is my best friend,” or invites tax collectors over for dinner and asks them to peruse their W-2s. In our day and age, we know tax collectors have a job to do, and we respect that, but it is not exciting. It is not desirable.
In Jesus’ time, the Roman Empire would conquer an ethnic group or people, and from that group choose individuals to collect the taxes. It was such a heinous job that it was literally punishment for their enemies. The tax collectors would not only collect money from their people for the Roman conquerors, but also take a little on the side for themselves.
Jesus called a tax collector to follow Him. Matthew was someone that had been very far away, in his actions, from God; yet Jesus was willing to go to his house, to eat dinner with him, and to be associated with him.
While Jesus was reclining at Matthew’s table, many tax collectors and sinners came as guests to eat with Jesus and His disciples. Sitting at the table is a moment that says, “You’re a part of the group.” Even today, in our culture, those folks that we eat with are different from those to whom we say hello when walking down the street. The people we invite into our homes are on a higher level of hospitality than what we extend to someone we meet at a coffee shop or at the mall.
Jesus and His disciples are in Matthew’s home, dining in great diversity. They are in a sinner’s home, speaking about the Savior’s heaven. Difference makers dine in diversity, speaking with clarity. This series looks at what it means for us to be difference makers. You and I are called to dine in diversity. We are to be with people who are not the greatest of believers in Christ. No one is outside the pursuit of Jesus Christ; no one is outside God’s desire to be present with them, to dine with them, to love them.
Jesus Christ is pursuing you and me in absolute love. He wants to sit with us, dine with us, and converse with us.
Pray: Jesus, please work in me as I seek to learn how to be a difference maker in Your Name.