I Have Come to Call Sinners

Matthew 9:9–13

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Jesus healed a paralytic in Capernaum, and when He passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth, said to him:

“Follow me!”

At Jesus’ word, Matthew got up and followed Him without hesitation. Matthew prepared dinner for Jesus at his house, where many tax collectors and sinners ate with Him. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked Jesus’ disciples:

“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

On hearing this, Jesus said:

“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The tax collectors were hated and despised because they collected taxes from their fellow Jews for the Roman Empire. Being treated as sinners, they were all objects of contempt. However, Jesus ate with those who were despised and ignored. Of course, Jesus knew that the Pharisees would blame Him, but He was with them for only one reason—to call the sinners to repentance.

God, the perfect being, was insulted and despised on the earth because He was with sinners who were treated with contempt. In order to save us, sinners, Heavenly Father and Mother have come in the form of sinners and are with us, going through all kinds of suffering in our stead.