Take That, Church People

Day 16

Matthew 9:9-13

He didn’t have to tell me who I was. We both knew it. I wasn’t trying to hide it. He caught me in the act, after all, walking up to my booth like that. I knew who He was too; who didn’t? Everyone had heard of Jesus. So when I saw Him coming, I figured I might get a good glimpse of the man as He passed, if the crowd that followed Him everywhere allowed it. He wouldn’t stop here. Not for the likes of me. 

No one was more astonished than I when He did stop. He looked at me for a long moment, and I braced myself, ready to hear the familiar rebuke. As I said, I knew who I was and what the religious people thought of me, a tax collector. Not everyone had such an easy path to righteousness. And their brand of righteousness—well, I didn’t want it. 

 “Follow Me.” That was it. No chastisement. No sermon. Even His disciples were grinning at me like they were in on the joke. What was this? 

When the most sought-after celebrity in the country invites you to follow Him, you don’t turn that down. I didn’t know what to expect, but I figured it couldn’t hurt anything. 

Next thing I knew, Jesus had come to my house and said He wanted to have all my friends over for dinner. Now I knew I had made it. Take that, church people. 

We feasted in style that night. It was fun. I didn’t know Jesus could be so fun. He genuinely wanted to know us, truly enjoyed being with us. As I talked with Him about my life, I found myself admitting it wasn’t the life I wanted. I had thought pursuing wealth would make me free, but it hadn’t. 

Jesus, though. He was free. He had a peace I wanted. He wasn’t like the religious leaders, but He wasn’t like me. He didn’t mind upsetting people. He didn’t mind being with people the rest of the world despised.

The religious leaders reacted as I knew they would, with indignation and outrage. Jesus didn’t back down. “I came to heal the sick,” He said. Once I might have been offended by that, but not now. Being around Him made me realize I was sick, but not condemned. He made me want to be well, to be the version of myself that He saw was possible. 

I left everything to follow Him, and it was the best decision I ever made. He did make me well. He showed me we are all sick, and He wants to heal all who will come to Him. 

Take that, church people. Lay down your judgment and take up His healing. His kingdom came for all of us. Even you.

One thought on “Take That, Church People

  1. Brilliant and poignant and convicting and blessed! These Lenten posts have so brought me to the feet of Jesus.



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