Matthew was a public tax collector, as crooked as a corkscrew. Everybody kept his distance from Matthew. Everyone except Jesus. “‘Follow me and be my disciple,’ Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him” (Matthew 9:9 NLT). Matthew goes from double dealer to disciple. He throws a party that makes the religious right uptight, but Christ proud. Some story indeed.
What do we do with it? Well, you and I are Matthew. There’s enough hustler in the best of us to qualify for Matthew’s table. Maybe you’ve never taken taxes, but you’ve taken liberty with the truth, taken credit that wasn’t yours, taken advantage of the weak. If you’re still at the table, you receive an invitation. “Follow me.” So what if you’ve got a bad reputation? So did Matthew. You may end up writing your own gospel.