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When Jesus invited Matthew to join His small group of disciples, it was a major scandal.  It offended the religious leaders, those who saw tax collectors as criminals, and of course, the national pride since this man worked for the Romans.  The Pharisees used the people’s prejudices to stir up anger toward Jesus.  

Meanwhile, Matthew planned a celebration dinner at his house.  He invited all of his family and friends, other tax collectors, and social and religious outcasts.  Suddenly, there was a lot of interest in Jesus from that particular group.  

Matthew’s dinner was given in honor of Jesus who was happy to be there.  He knew that the Pharisees and leaders would be offended, and He knew that in some people’s eyes He would be condemned for eating with those sinners.  But Jesus did not let that keep Him from doing what was right.  

By sitting and eating with the tax collectors and their friends, Jesus showed that He recognized the value and dignity of all humans.  In His presence those outcasts of society began to imagine a new life ~ a life with meaning.  To Matthew, Jesus’ example at that dinner was an inspiration that led him to a life of showing and telling others about God’s love.  Although most of the others did not become followers of Jesus immediately, they were among the thousands who joined His church after the Resurrection.

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