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Daily Devotional Matthew 9:9–13

Every December, Christianity Today publishes its annual list of “Top Testimonies”—the most-read, most-shared conversion stories of the year. They are dramatic personal accounts of the gospel’s transforming power in the life of drug addicts, gang members, and the son of a Hindu priest. Matthew’s testimony in today’s passage would fit right in.

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


At the time, Jesus’ ministry was well under way. He had been teaching (Matthew 5–7) and healing (Matt. 8:1–17) and casting out demons (Matt. 8:28–34). And He had already called two sets of fishermen brothers—Peter and Andrew, James and John—to be His disciples.

Then He met Matthew. Matthew did not fit the mold. The most obvious reason was his occupation: tax collector. In that role, Matthew worked for the Roman government, extracting tax money from his Jewish neighbors and getting extra for himself. Such acts of extortion would have caused Matthew’s community, his own people, to hate him.

Matthew was likely familiar with Jesus before this encounter in Matthew 9. He had probably heard of Jesus’ miracles and His preaching. So, when Jesus approached him and said, “Follow me,” Matthew was ready to go. He immediately left behind his booth and the lucrative income that went with it, and he followed.

Then he brought Jesus to his home for a meal. He invited others— his closest companions—to come and meet Jesus, and perhaps experience the same shocking transformation as he did. The Pharisees saw this banquet and were appalled. How could this “teacher” keep such company? When Jesus heard their inquiry, He responded, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick...I have not come to call [kaleo] the righteous, but sinners” (vv. 12–13).

>> Jesus came to call sinners to repentance. Have you answered that call? Today may be the day to share your testimony with someone else. Who can you invite to come and meet Jesus?

Pray with Us

Knowing our message will be rejected by many, give us courage to tell unbelievers what You have done for us. Make us at peace with looking foolish to some, and blind to others. We long for people to know the joy of being Yours.

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