“Follow me” (Matthew 9:9)
“But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). Yes, that means anyone, no matter their past. We all have a past, a past that in some cases we might rather keep to ourselves. Jesus’ disciples had a past as well, perhaps none of them more checkered than Matthew’s. Matthew was a tax collector. In Jesus’ day, tax collectors were despised, seen as traitors because they conspired with the Roman government to collect taxes from their fellow Jews while enriching themselves at the same time. Modern day extortionists they were. So, why would Jesus choose Matthew as one of his disciples? Wasn’t his past somehow a disqualifier of his usefulness to serve?
To understand Matthew’s past, before Jesus’ calling on his life has present value for each of us. It tells of the wonderful grace of God and the power of the cross to wash away sin. It’s easy to look at our past and believe it renders us unfit for service. Matthews’ story helps us to know that need not be the case. Matthew’s past was no match for God’s grace and neither is ours. That’s the power of the cross. Let us never move beyond the cross because it is where we were fitted to serve.