Stories of Revival: Second Chances

“La vocación de San Mateo” (Eng: The Calling of Saint Matthew) by Juan de Pareja

Read: Matthew 9:9-13

What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you at work? If your name is Matthew the tax collector, the answer is easy: One day, while Matthew was working at the tax collector’s booth, a Jewish Rabbi named Jesus came up to him and said “Follow me.” 

When a Rabbi said “Follow me,” they were inviting you to begin a spiritual journey of discipleship. It was a prestigious honor topically reserved for the best, brightest, and most religious men imaginable. Tax collectors, who had figuratively sold their souls to the occupying Roman Empire, would not have been prime candidates to be disciples because they had betrayed their own people by advancing the cause of the Romans.

Knowing that he was completely underserving, Matthew must have felt an overwhelming sense of confusion and humility at Jesus’ words. Me? Really? Even though I’ve betrayed my people and veered so far off the path intended?

Matthew wasn’t the only person who was confused. The Jewish religious thought to themselves, “You can’t be serious!” They interrogated Jesus’ disciples about why he would disgrace himself by spending quality time with tax collectors and other notorious sinners. They felt it was beneath the dignity of a religious teacher to degrade himself with such immoral company.

Jesus, overhearing their accusation dressed up as a question, responding with an analogy. Healthy people have no need for the care and expertise of doctors, but sick people do. Jesus came into our world, not to congratulate religious people for their pious acts of public worship, but to minister to the hurting. To bring hope to the hopeless. To bring revival to the down and out.

Matthew had no earthly qualifications to be welcomed by the Messiah—and that’s the point. Jesus doesn’t require us to jump through a long list of religious hoops in order to begin our relationship with him. After all, we will never do enough to earn our acceptance. Instead, Jesus wants us to allow him to enter our broken hearts and begin the healing process-despite our mistakes.

Today, may you be blessed by these words of Jesus: “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” And may God give you the strength and wisdom you need to take the next step in your walk with Christ—whatever that step may be.