Read: Matthew 9:9-13
As Jesus passed on from there . . . he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth. (v. 9)
The only thing Matthew tells us about himself is his occupation, but that says it all. Matthew was a tax collector. The Romans farmed out the tax collection to locals who would bid for the privilege of raising money from a particular district. What the Romans cared about was receiving their cut. How much the local tax collectors actually raked in and what methods they employed to collect it were of little concern to them. You can imagine the results. Tax collectors were a combination of mob extortionist and Nazi collaborator.
Jesus must have known Matthew well, since his place of business was just outside Capernaum (Matt. 9:1). Jesus would have passed by that tax booth often in the years that he lived there. If so, Matthew had regularly put the squeeze on Jesus—and his widowed mother and family—to extract money they could not well afford to pay.
But now Jesus invites Matthew to become one of his disciples. “Follow me,” he says. It’s exactly the way Jesus had called Peter, James, and John as they sat mending their nets. No matter who or what or where we are, Jesus’ call to us is the same. It is at once an invitation and a command. Being a notorious sinner like Matthew does not disqualify us from receiving the invitation; being a respectable businessman like Peter, James, or John does not excuse us from obeying the command. To each and every one of us Jesus says, “Follow me.” —David Bast
As you pray, respond to Jesus’ invitation/command.