Matt.9:9,10 – As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew sitting in the tax collector’s office; and He *said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.
Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house (Matthew’s house), behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and began dining with Jesus and His disciples.
This dinner at the tax collector’s house was a beautiful glimpse into the entire life and ministry of Jesus. He came to this earth as a man to save sinners, His whole life was pictured by “sitting at the table” with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus came to offer mercy to all who would receive His love. Matthew was a beautiful picture of a sinner receiving mercy. Matthew was probably the most hated man in this entire region, now he is seated at a table with Jesus surrounded by the other ‘sinners’ from this region. Here is how the Believer’s Bible Commentary describes this.
“It was the practice in those days to eat reclining on couches and facing the table. When the Pharisees saw Jesus associating in this way with the social riff-raff, they went to His disciples and charged Him with “guilt by association”; surely no true prophet would eat with sinners!
Jesus overheard and answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” The Pharisees considered themselves healthy and were unwilling to confess their need for Jesus. (Actually they were extremely ill spiritually and desperately needed healing.) The tax collectors and sinners, by contrast, were more willing to acknowledge their true condition and to seek Christ’s saving grace. So the charge was true! Jesus did eat with sinners. If He had eaten with the Pharisees, the charge would still have been true—perhaps even more so! If Jesus hadn’t eaten with sinners in a world like ours, He would always have eaten alone.”
The life and ministry of Jesus is the hand of God reaching out in mercy to each one of us. He came to us in our sin, just like Matthew, to draw us from our sinful behavior to sit at the banqueting table with Jesus. It makes no difference what kind of sin you came from, there is a place at the table for you. The table of the Lord is an amazing place; fishermen, tax collectors, prostitutes, and every other kind of sinner. Thankfully there is a place with your name on it at the table.