A couple of weeks ago I had a second opportunity to preach at Christ Baptist Church in the greater Cincinnati area. I chose to preach from Matthew 9:9-13. In this passage Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners to the chagrin of some Pharisees. The themes in this portion of Holy Scripture have been heavy on my heart, as has the Gospel of Matthew in general. God help us to follow Jesus with hearts of mercy open to all.
As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”