Matthew 9: Whoever Is Listening
I was thinking about the study of apologetics while I was reading Matthew 9. This was immediately after Jesus called Matthew, a tax collector, to follow Him, and Jesus was having dinner with the tax collectors.
Mat 9:10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
Mat 9:11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
Mat 9:12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
Mat 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Jesus came to be with sinners. Obviously, the Pharisees did not see themselves as sinners, and they felt that they were better than the tax collectors, but we know that there is no one who is perfect. Jesus came to be with everyone, but this meal was proving a more significant point.
He was demonstrating that it was His job to bring salvation for all who would put their faith in Him. On some level, the tax collectors were willing to invite Jesus into the house. They wanted to be with Him, and He was right there to be with them.
Now, coming to apologetics, I was to hear about how part of our calling reflects the Great Commission. We’re supposed to bring the Gospel everywhere, and we are also commanded separately that we always need to have a reason for the hope that we have.
We don’t know who is going to respond to that message. Is it going to be the tax collector who was visibly frowned upon? For a more contemporary example, might our message resonate with the guy who is a known drug dealer? What do we do then? Do we avoid him like the Pharisees would have?
I think that we ought to be more like Jesus. We don’t engage in the activity. That is obviously the caution in all of this. We don’t want to fall into the temptation ourselves. However, that does not mean that we don’t share God’s message with whoever is responding to it. The tax collectors were the ones who were listening, and Jesus said that He was there to heal the sick. They were the ones who seemed to want Him.