In verse 31 – Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. – we find two terms: tax collectors and prostitutes, in Greek, respectively, telònai e pòrnai. Both are terms linked to the semantic area of buying, acquiring with money, purchasing, going to sell in faraway markets. Dishonest tax collectors together with prostitutes are then two categories of dealers.
Tax collectors and prostitutes are dealers of themselves. They are dealers following the interests of their heart, interests which, before they met Jesus, were exclusively the fruit of a challenge and abhorrence against God and life. And they represent us perfectly in all of this. But when they embraced salvation following the procedure of repentance - repenting can be translated in Greek as "to change and to invert what is dear to you", tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom before us.
Why? Why have they understood that believing means precisely and immediately to change, repenting for their sinful lives in order to embrace another?
Dealers who are trained by experience to cleverly follow the interests of their hearts are ready to change and to invert what is dear to them in the face of the evangelical proposition for happiness and health.
Man does not have trouble in believing Jesus because it is difficult to believe in Jesus, but because even on an unconscious level man knows that believing in the Gospel means above all changing lifestyle, taking another path, changing actions, it means changing and inverting what one cares about. The two things are equivalent: if you don't feel like changing what you care about out of a challenge or abhorrence, you are not ready to believe in the Gospel. Only if you are ready to make a change will you have thirst to believe. The Gospel has to be made out as ridiculous to the extent that anyone desires to protect the interests of their heart. People do not have trouble in believing in Jesus out of a lack of faith but only and exclusively out of inner laziness and the desire to protect their inner dealings.