<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1758373551078632&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

Our devotional text on the Feast of St. Matthew focuses on the Gospel of the day.

Scripture Readings

Ezekiel 2:8—3:11
Psalm 119:33–40
Ephesians 4:7–16
Matthew 9:9–13

Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.

Devotional Reading

Jesus’ ministry of forgiving sins now comes into sharper focus as He sees Matthew at his tax collector’s booth and invites him to “Follow Me” (v. 9). Matthew follows Him. At Matthew’s house Jesus dines with many tax collectors and “sinners.” The Pharisees ask indignantly (vv. 11–13), “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus replies, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” He adds, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

What a picture of Jesus’ love of sinners! According to the law of the Pharisees, a whole category of “sinners” stood outside the Law and had to stand outside the synagogues too; they were not permitted inside to worship. Tax collectors, because they served a Gentile government and often extorted unfair taxes from fellow Jews, belonged in that category of “sinners.” And yet Jesus deliberately chooses a tax collector as a disciple and shares the fellowship of the table with tax collectors and other sinners. No wonder the self-righteous Pharisees recoil at such scandalous behavior by a teacher.

Jesus here provides a beautiful picture of the love He has for us. Are our sins so great that He would shut us out? No! Regardless of our past, Jesus invites us, “Follow Me.” He extends this same invitation to those around us, including those we may avoid because of their sinful lifestyles. Jesus loves all and wants to bring them into His heavenly kingdom.

Jesus’ words in verse 13 (“I desire mercy, and not sacrifice”) proclaim that the Pharisees need to learn more about the true meaning of the Law so that they can discover their own sinfulness. Jesus has come for sinners who recognize their sickness and need for a doctor. Matthew and his friends are receiving the forgiveness of sins that Jesus the Messiah has authority to bestow.

Do we act more like the Pharisees, pointing the finger at other “sinners” and basking in our privileged status? In reality, we stand in need of forgiveness, like Matthew and his friends. By saying to us, “Follow Me,” Jesus offers us the spiritual healing that restores us to health.

Devotional reading is adapted from LifeLight: Matthew, Part 1—Leaders Guide, pages 38–39 © 1999 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


O Son of God, our blessed Savior Jesus Christ, You called Matthew the tax collector to be an apostle and evangelist. Through his faithful and inspired witness, grant that we also may follow You, leaving behind all covetous desires and love of riches; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer is from The Pastor at Prayer, page 264. This edition © 2014 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.


Written by

Anna Johnson

Deaconess Anna Johnson is a marketing manager at Concordia Publishing House. After graduating from the deaconess program at Concordia University Chicago, she continued her studies at the University of Colorado—Denver in education and human development. She has worked as a church youth director and served a variety of other nonprofit organizations, such as the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland. Anna loves playing video games and drinking a hot cup of tea almost as much as she loves her cat and her husband.


Racial Healing Begins with Recognizing Our Neighbor

Using the parable of the good Samaritan see how you can begin to show mercy to others and understand your neighbor and what they need to...

5 Non-Traditional Options for Teaching the Bible this Summer

Decisions are being made about how to continue teaching children about their Savior this summer. Here are some options to consider for...

Psalm 23: Christ Is Our Shepherd

The Lord is our Shepherd. Psalm 23 is beloved by many Christians—see why it’s so popular with an excerpt from the commentary by Timothy...


Things I Love About My Dad

Daughters are blessed to have human fathers and a Heavenly father. As Father’s Day approaches, take a minute to thank the Lord for your...

A Different Kind of Memorial Day

Take this day to pray for our armed forces and remember those who have gone before us— fighting for the faith.

Five Reasons to Start Reading with CPH Reads

Summer reading programs are a great way to get children to read more during the summer. Here are five reasons to get excited for CPH’s...