Have you transitioned from condemning to caring, from renouncing sinners to receiving them? These are important questions for all Christians to consider. It’s one of the radical changes that happened to Matthew once Jesus rocked his world with “Follow Me!” The story jets ahead from the small confines of the highly profitable tax collector’s booth (Matthew 9:9) to the spacious home of the well-to-do Matthew. He’s so excited about Jesus and his new life that Matthew throws a dinner party with Jesus as the guest of honor.
Around the table is a strange mixture. Matthew’s old friends of fellow despised and unclean tax collectors, other undesirable low-life rejects like “pimps and prostitutes, thieves and gamblers” and other “sinners,” likely non-observant Jews who ate pork, worked on Saturday and dressed however they wanted. Across the table are Matthew’s new friends, the growing group of Jesus followers and future apostles. It’s a strange amalgamation of sinners to be sure, Jesus the obvious exception.