Day 25

Yucky sinners... 

This 6th “fishing trip” is impressive and a bit astonishing. This guy is living in Capernaum– He is well-off, well-dressed has it all. He is, in fact, the son of the powerful Alphas and commissioned, trusted, and protected by Rome to collect taxes from the people of Israel. He may have been following Jesus from afar and weighing carefully the call to leave everything and follow. But there is so much to leave– the house, the money, the job, the lifestyle. If he could only know for sure that Jesus could give him what he wants most. Let’s see!

Read Luke 5:27-39; Matthew 9:9-17; Mark 2:12-22

Where is Jesus “fishing”?

What do we know about tax collectors?

How do you visualize this banquet?

What were Jesus’ disciples learning?

Once again, This “fishing trip” is closely tied to the one we just saw yesterday. It would not surprise me to discover that Matthew was one of the people with his face pressed up against the window as Jesus confronted the unbelief of the religious crowd. I think maybe Matthew didn’t need anything. He had everything the world of his day had to offer. HE probably had a large house. Matthew what the clothes, the money, the house, the horse, the deluxe chariot– everything anyone could want. Yet, there was one thing he did not possess. It is what every wealthy person who does not have Jesus seeks. He did not have forgiveness of sins. Yet, as he pressed his ear that day against the window, he heard and saw Jesus forgive sins and prove it with a supernatural miracle.

Jesus begins walking the streets of Capernaum, recognizes Matthew, and says, “Follow me!” The hated tax collector had never heard any sweeter words. He was a traitor to his people, a sellout to the enemy–Rome. He was despised and rejected; his only friend was other tax collectors and sinners. Wow!

What an act of love, what an extension of grace, what a risk of reputation. Jesus would get branded from this event and His time in Matthew’s house. Those who hated Jesus used this opportunity to defame Him and even started a saying about Him. It is found a few chapters later in Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:34. They called Jesus “a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” What they meant as a slam, Jesus wore as a badge.

When I first came to Leesburg about 6.5 years ago, I remember hearing a slur about Leesburg. I can’t remember who told me, but I know it was said by “church people” about people who were not “church people.” The church people look a certain way, dress a certain way, and present themselves a certain way. And the non-church people are those that didn’t fit in at some churches because they didn’t look a certain way, dress a certain way, and act a certain way.

The slur was: “Go to Leesburg; they’ll take anyone.”

Praise God for that!  We now wear what was intended as a slur as a badge of honor. Yes, we’ll take anyone because God has accepted me, and I know I wasn’t worthy. I wasn’t unique. I brought nothing to the table. Neither did you! Because I know the type of person I am and the type of person you are, I’m comfortable with being a church that’ll “take anyone.”

How about you? Is anyone calling you a friend of sinners? Or do you stay so far away from the tax collectors and sinners in your life for fear that they might tarnish your squeaky-clean reputation? Be careful whose reputation you are guarding. Jesus loved showing himself as a friend of sinners. That is why he can be your friend and mine. He humbled Himself, taking on the form of a human. I can’t even fathom the depth of humility and how low Jesus stooped to come to this sin-soaked world and save many sinners and tax collectors. Oh, if only sinners would see enough of Jesus in me to call me their friend– not because I partake in their sin, but because I love them and embrace them despite their sin. Remember that even though Jesus hung out with the sinners of His day, he never fell into their sins (Heb.4:15). Be careful that as you bring Jesus to the sinners of the world, they don’t draw you into their sins. Be wise, stay closely connected to Jesus, and depend on Him for wisdom and discernment as you reach out to a lost and dying world.

Matthew came to Jesus and then threw a party for Jesus and invited his friends who needed to meet Jesus!

Don’t be surprised if, after your “fishing trip,” one of the people who come to know Jesus wants to share Jesus with their friends and family enthusiastically. They may even want your help. How exciting!

Be ready to follow up with those who will come to Jesus. Don’t blow this opportunity. You will never know what It feels like to fish for men until you do it. It is a waste of time to talk about fishing for men and not do it. Don’t be scared, be strong and courageous and call people to “come and see” to check out Jesus.

This is your chance to see God’s power in action as you step out on faith and share the Good News. Spend some time praying together for your follow-up with those who will believe.

Remember, the fields are ready for the harvest (John 4:35). Throw out the next and experience the thrill of catching men/women for Jesus.


Amanda Welch - February 3rd, 2023 at 6:46am

Well, that was convicting… in a good way 😊

Kirby - February 3rd, 2023 at 8:25am

I was a computer communications technician for the State of Washington. A guy who ‘had it all’, approached my in a locked area and simply asked , ‘what about this Jesus’. Talk about needing to be ready always, I was really caught off guard. It was clear he didn’t want others to know he was asking. I gave him a very quick version of the gospel and prayed for the best. I don’t really know if he ever embraced the gospel , but I knew I needed to be better prepared in case something like this ever happened again.

Emily - February 3rd, 2023 at 9:26am

Hi! When you said “I wasn’t worthy. I wasn’t unique. I brought nothing to the table.” That really stood out to me. I’d actually like to push back on that a little if I can.

In regard to worthiness, in Luke, Jesus reassures us that God cares and pays attention even to sparrows, and tells us not to fear because we are of more value than many sparrows. In Isaiah, speaking to the people of Israel, he says they are precious and honored in his sight.

In regard to uniqueness, we are told in the New Testament that we are God’s handiwork/masterpiece, and the Psalms tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

And, I think the wide array of spiritual gifts Paul lists in his letters, as well as the imagery that we are all part of the body of Christ, show that we DO all have something to bring to the table. I think it is so beautiful that all believers can use their strengths to contribute to what God is doing in the world.

If I’m understanding you correctly -and let me know if I’m wrong! :) I think what you’re actually saying here is “No more worthy than anyone else. No more unique than anyone else (which I realize is a bit of a paradox lol). Bring no more to the table than anyone else.” Which I absolutely agree with! And I think it ties back in beautifully with what Jesus says to the Pharisees when he says “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” We know that the Pharisees were sinners too. Jesus uses the word “righteous” to use their own concept of themselves against them. They would have said, “I am worthy because I have kept the law better than these people. I bring more to the table than these people, because I am a religious leader.”

Being proud of ourselves is only an issue when the scale of how good we feel about ourselves is how we measure up against other people. In fact, the longer I live, the more I am convinced that the people that are most effective for the kingdom, the people that make me feel the love of Jesus most tangibly, are people who are deeply secure in themselves, their value, and their giftings. The more secure we feel in our inherent God-given value, the more mental space we have to lavish love on those around us.

Jon Welch - February 3rd, 2023 at 4:32pm

Hey Emily-

I’d suggest we’re talking past each other in two areas- 1. The position of man before redemption and 2. The position after.

Before redemption, I bring nothing. (Eph 2) I’m dead- what can a dead man bring? Consider the rich young ruler- he was quite proud but went away sad because he had great wealth. Before Christ brings me to new life, give me his righteousness, makes me a “New creation”, I bring nothing.

After I’m brought to a new life, yes! Everything you’ve said, 100%. All of those references, which you correctly attribute to a Christian, are granted/given/born within us as a new creature- the old has passed and behold, the new has arrived!

Thanks for sharing!

- February 4th, 2023 at 12:11pm

No problem!

Emily - February 4th, 2023 at 8:39am

Thanks for sharing that! Appreciate you taking the time to respond.

- February 4th, 2023 at 12:11pm

No problem!

Nellie Parker - February 4th, 2023 at 10:37pm

I am so thankful for the message and the comments from everyone it lets me see the different ways we all respond to what the gospel says but still see how to keep the main thing the main thing I am in able to read much right now as I recover from my eye surgeries so I need this food for thought so my tank isn’t empty I have a half brother who isn’t close but I found out when he called that his wife passed at three am. He needs Jesus please pray for him for me tgankyou each and everyone that read this everyday and share