Matthew was a Jew who worked for the Roman government as a tax collector. He got this job when he made the highest bid to the Roman official posting it on Craigslist. His job was to collect 1% of annual incomes for Rome but it was expected that he would extort more monies for his own bank account.
These “publicans” were Jews, hated by the Jewish people because of their complicity with Rome and their unscrupulous reputations. A publican, or tax collector, had to be ready to accept awful rejection from his own people.
Which is why Matthew gasped when Jesus walked by his tax booth and said, “Follow me.” No one ever invited people like Matthew anywhere. The best he could hope for was that people would just ignore him and not hiss when they walked by his booth. Matthew immediately put out his “CLOSED” sign and left with Jesus. Continue reading →