When Jesus Called Matthew

First, let’s read this passage from Matthew 9:9-13:

As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow Me and be My disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.

Later, Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”

When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then He added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ (From Hosea 6:6) For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

Jesus met Matthew, a known tax collector of the time. And I mean, we know the track record of these tax collectors, right? But Jesus, surprisingly wanted to involve this man of questionable reputation in His ministry anyway.

On that same night, Matthew organised a dinner for Jesus and His mates, along with his own friends who were also tax collectors; and guess what, a bunch of other notorious folks! Like, what kind of party would you imagine this to be?

And so the “holy and clean” Pharisees, upon seeing this horrendous view were like, “What the heck is this Jesus, the self-proclaimed Jesus, the “son of God Jesus”, the radical nomad Jesus, doing with this bunch of societal riff-raffs? Is it not enough that He’s been blaspheming in the streets, now He just had to party with this pack of criminals?”

And Jesus had one thing to say to them: “The sick people need a physician. They need Me.”

This story reveals what Christ came to this earth for: to show mercy to sinners; to show mercy to people who know their lives are a mess and are in need of fixing. He came to show mercy to the ones who can actually be brave enough to admit they are a wretch, they’re miserable, and they’re lost.

Interestingly, Matthew had the desire for his friends, the people he belonged to, to meet this new friend, who, regardless of His political/societal status, chose him and trusted him enough to make him a disciple of His. 

You could not meet Jesus and not be moved and compelled to get others to Him, especially the ones that matter to you, and the ones you know need His help. Matthew wanted to share the hope that he received firsthand from Jesus, and tell his friends about it.

You can’t receive mercy if you think you’re good enough. You can’t receive Christ if you’re too full of yourself, and think you’re OK on your own.

Christ came for the sinners. He came to bring them hope and a new life. If there were no sinners, the Son of God wouldn’t have come.

Everyone is a sinner. You, who’s reading this, is not an exception. You and I need Jesus as much as these notorious people do. And He calls us to repent from sin, and submit our lives to Him and follow Him.

Let’s take some time to examine our hearts, our perspectives, our motives. Let’s check how “sick” we actually are, and ask the Lord for His help, for His mercy, for His deliverance from our sins. Let’s ask Him how we can follow Him and live for Him.

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Dirty Bibles

I got something special to share. There has been something (or Someone rather) burning in my heart for the past few months, and it has finally bursted out of me. Not a great use of figurative language.

I’ve been praying about it after God has put in my heart the desire to study the Word more frequently and persistently, to seek His Holy Spirit, and to share my learnings with others, as I gradually learn how to abide effectively in His Word, and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (I believe that it was Him who somehow inspired the name as well during one of our sessions together, because it literally just came into my mind while I’m conversing with Him!)

And so, recently I have activated a Facebook page called “Dirty Bibles”, a page where I share Biblical reflections, citations and insights from my personal study time with the Lord, which is persistent and ongoing. I call it the overflow of my “quiet time”, or “secret place” time with the Lord.

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The aim is to encourage the people within my spheres, and as many people as possible to to open up their Bibles and spend time to understand and meditate on the living and active Word of God–His precepts, promises, wisdom, teachings, stories. Bible says to keep His Word on our lips, and meditate on it day and night (Joshua 1:8).

Just before I started, I had to check if someone already took that name anywhere online. And then I encountered a couple of other people coining the term, but none have actually taken it as an identifying label anywhere. And so I thought I’d take it upon myself to grab it and start off the project!

Then I heard a Christian minister saying that “the more you read the Bible, the dirtier it will get!”, which I just absolutely nodded exhilaratingly to. And then I thought, well the word “dirty” may have negative connotations. So in the About section of the page, I made sure I state that the adjective does not intend to mean filthy, immoral or dishonourable. But “dirty”, as in dirtied with fingerprints and tears; wrinkled, sometimes dishevelled, because of frequent use. The pages become dirtied with notes of revelation, of wisdom, of aha moments, of divine encounters. Every page marks and highlights the very Word of God for you and me. (Quoted from my About page)

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

I believe that the Bible is our only authority, and the Gospel is our only hope. And I believe that a dirty Bible is a mere reflection of a tedious and persistent search for God’s truth and wisdom in the pages of the Scriptures. Notice that I use the word “persistent” repeatedly, only because that’s literally the attitude I’m going for–being persistent.

A dirty Bible produces a clean heart, and helps you live a clean life. An open Bible keeps us close to God.

The Lord said that if we seek Him wholeheartedly, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). I believe that. I stand firmly on that promise. And He never fails on this one, because now I’ve realised that the more I seek Jesus, the more I learn about Him and understand Him. The more I know Him, the more I hear His voice, and the more Jesus becomes personal and real to me.

“Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His presence continually!” (Psalm 105:4)

And so, make sure you Like this page, and I invite you to read the Scriptures together, and feel the presence of Jesus where you are reading and seeking Him.

Get them Bibles dirty!

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