The next day the new guy invited all of us to his place for lunch. My first reaction was to refuse, but who can turn down a free lunch? And besides, last night, when I told Esther what had happened, she insisted that I give Matthew a chance.
Not that I do everything thing Esther tells me to do. Most things yes, but not everything.
We were on our way to Matthew’s home when we saw the Zealot talking with another man at the edge of the road.
Jesus walked over and nodded, “Hey Simon.”
Simon didn’t look up.
“Simon, you will either follow me or you won’t. It’s your choice, nobody will force you. But the invitation is still there, for you and for your friend. It’s Judas, right?”
The other man looked at Jesus, “Have we met?”
“No Judas, we haven’t met. But any friend of Simon’s is a friend of mine. Just understand that there will be choices you will need to make. You might follow me today but that won’t be the last time you will have to choose.”
Then Jesus turned his attention back to Simon, “Look at me Simon,” the zealot lifted his head and looked Jesus in the eye, and Jesus said “and maybe having Judas by your side will help you accept having Matthew on board. But understand, I call who I call. What do you think? You up for lunch?”
Simon and Judas shared a glance and then they both nodded.
“We’re in,” Simon said, “but I’m telling you now, the tax collector can’t be trusted, if you aren’t careful, someday he’ll stab you in the back.”
Lunch was incredible, I’ve never seen that much food.
If there was a problem, it was with the company. I don’t know what Matthew was thinking, but he invited other tax collectors to meet Jesus, including his boss, Zacchaeus.
It’s a good thing that Matthew’s home had the space for people to spread out, not sure how things would have ended up if we had of all been crammed in together.
Things stayed civil mostly, there were a few snide comments from Simon and his friend, but Matthew and his group didn’t rise to take the bait. And did I mention the food? It was incredible.
It was after the meal that things got nasty. We were leaving Matthew’s home when Andrew and I were approached by a group of Pharisees, “So, what’s up with Jesus? Why is he willing to eat in the home of a tax collector?”
To be truthful, I was wondering the same thing, so I shrugged and kept walking. But later on, we told Jesus about our encounter.
He just smiled, “Really Peter? You haven’t figured it out yet either have you? Who needs to see a doctor? People who are healthy or people who are sick? My Father didn’t send me to call righteous people. The people who need to hear what I have to say are people who know they are sinners.”
Which made sense, but left me wondering what that said about me?