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Follow Me…
As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post, he said to him, ‘Follow me’” (Matthew 9:9). We can imagine that Matthew was not well thought of by his fellow Jews. He was a tax collector after all. That Jesus would even talk to him would be strange enough, but that he would say “Follow me” to such a person certainly raised a lot of eyebrows in Jerusalem, especially among the Pharisees who were within hearing range of this moment. “Follow me.” This seems such a simple suggestion, but knowing the times and the feelings that the Jews had about tax collectors and the reputations of many of the tax collectors, this statement takes on a profoundly important meaning for us personally. Our own feelings about the “tax man” today, help us to recognize the wonderment of the Pharisees observing this event. “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (verse 11) Of course, we do not want to get caught up in thinking in the ways that the Pharisees did, but they are recognizable to us. Very recognizable. There is a little of the Pharisee in all of us. Jesus’ challenges to the Pharisees are direct challenges to us in our own lives as well. We need to see Matthew’s perspective here as well. Jesus must have seen something in Matthew. Did he see a hunger deep down in Matthew’s heart, a need to find some deeper meaning in his life. We do not know whether Matthew was known to be a cheater, like so many of the other tax collectors who looked out for themselves at the expense of others because they had the power to do so. But we do know that Matthew was like us…