Got Company?

Matthew 9
9As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
      10And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
 
You just got the message, and you rush into the house.  It’s in no condition for company.  And this is not typical company, this is sit down at the table, real plates, a couple of pots boiling, kind of company.  A big problem is… (continued in comment)

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by trinityhawaii on June 9, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    the table. It is loaded full of weeks of sediment: old mail, projects delayed…forgotten, work, play, it’s all been collecting there – the catch-all of the dining room.

    What does it look like in your house? If you were to have the sit-down, involved meal, kind of guest where would they eat (and imagine with me that “eating out” is not an option)? How does your house look? What do you see as you look around in your mind? What projects are out? What work has been left on the table? Imagine what you would have to do to be ready for the kind of company that needs a sit down meal.

    Matthew just got the message–he’s going to have company, imagine his house. Everywhere Matthew looks there are signs of a sinful lifestyle, one that has pushed him out of friendship, isolating him into a section of society where everyone looks down on you except for the others who are being looked down upon with you. Matthew is a tax collector, a second class Jew, a collaborator with the oppressive Romans. It is this Matthew who is having Jesus over to his house.

    What would his house look like? Can you imagine his table? Probably covered with ledgers and work, maybe even money he has collected. Perhaps it has evidence of past parties, meetings with gentiles that comes with his job, maybe even signs of uncleanness that would make him ritually unclean in the eyes of the religious community.

    Matthew would like to hide that all away, just like we do with our sin, hide it away, not talk about it, put it out of sight and mind. Matthew would like to just shove all the evidence of sin in his life out of sight because now he has been called. Jesus said to Matthew, “follow me.”

    Jesus has called Matthew to be a disciple, a call he didn’t turn down. You can bet in this small town atmosphere that word of his call got around quickly because his friends are showing up at his house alongside of Jesus. Matthew probably wishes he could hide them away too, keep them a secret, he hopes that Jesus doesn’t talk to them too much or find out anything about his life so that Jesus won’t think less of him or even worse, take back his call.

    It will be a house of sinners of that there is no doubt. However this is exactly where Jesus wants to be. He is infiltrating a stronghold of sin. Jesus has already destroyed one of the tools of the devil held over Matthew – self worth – by proclaiming that Matthew is worthy of being a disciple. It would have turned his life upside-down – a heart-pounding, grasping to understand the implications, life changing call.

    Jesus enters this stronghold, not to remove the evidence of sin—the items left out and sitting around – Jesus’ assault on sin goes to the heart, he is breaking down the wall that his own people have built around tax collectors and sinners and going to the heart of sin in Matthew repairing his heart so that he can be his disciple.

    Can you imagine Jesus in that setting? Surrounded by the sinners of society, all those who have been marginalized by society, there he is in the midst of them. Is that where we put Jesus in our minds? Do we picture him here in church, in our workplace, in our house? Somehow we have to picture him there and we have to be able to picture ourselves there.

    The Church leaders ask Jesus’ disciples about Jesus being in the midst of sinners. Jesus responds to their accusations that He is the Physician but he is also the cure. If they are sick, what’s the cure? People may know they are sick, many recognize something is wrong but nobody and I mean nobody knows what to do about it – without Jesus Christ. Nobody knows what the cure to sin is, the cure for what’s wrong within me, between you and another person – the cure can only be a healing that comes from Christ. It is because Jesus took on the disease of sin, that he became the antidote for sin, it was his body on the cross that became the host for this sin that he would take away from us by taking it to the grave. Without the disease of sin we are cured. We are called in our baptism to follow him. We are his disciples, Jesus says to you, “follow me.”

    Reply

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