Figured since we are just jumping around, let's have a Gospel thread instead of each separate book.
Tax Collector's: Why the bad reputation?
There are lots of passages we've read which include tax collector's mentioned in a poor way. They are painted in an extremely bad way. But why is this?
Today's reading in Matthew 18 says: "treat him as you would a Gentile or tax collector." Ouch! Not to discuss it here, but the Jews did not like the Gentiles (a non-Jew) very much. A great example of this is Jonah, who did not want to preach the Good News to the Gentiles. Well, in that same passage is also lumped tax collectors.
The tax collectors at that time were actually Jews who worked for the Romans. Not considered a traitor, but maybe more like a sense they 'sold out to the enemy'.
The tax collector's did the dirty work and collected the taxes from their own people. They were also known for asking above what the tax was so they could pocket the money for themselves. Not really a favored group, eh?
This is why it is so amazing Jesus chose Matthew (a tax collector) to be one of His disciples.