Matthew 9:9-13 Your Call to Follow Jesus

 

Background:

When Jesus calls Matthew it would have been one of the last people that the religious leaders would have thought He would have chosen. We have to remember that the religious leaders thought that if the Messiah did come in their lifetime, that surely they would be the first ones that He would come to in establishing His kingdom.

Tax collectors were despised not only because they were Jews who worked for the Roman Government but also because they could add extra taxes and had the Roman military to back them up. Of course Jesus choosing  Matthew is no accident because Matthew with the position he held, would have had to know Greek and Aramaic as well as be a detailed in keeping great records. This is crucial because what is written in the Gospel of Matthew would have been recorded by a detailed person who would keep accurate records of everything taking place. This along with all the other proof of the Bibles legitimacy is ignored by its critics.

1)   Know you are sick

Romans 3:10-12 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;11 no one understands;no one seeks for God.12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

There are not many people who will call their doctor if they are feeling well. Yes, you might have a regular scheduled appointment but only when something is wrong do you call them for help. The Pharisees thought they did not need God’s help to become righteous because they believed that by their own works, they met the requirements of the law.

If you claim to be well then you are the sickest of all. We see this with people who have drug problems who will not admit that they have any issue at all. They make excuses for their actions or do not see their actions as a problem only driving them deeper into their disillusionment of being healthy. Along with changing the definition of sin for their own lives, people now seek to make the Bible not call some sins, sins. If you want to follow Christ then you have to take His word (the Bible) and follow it. If you do not want to follow Him then you have to either step away from His word or you are recreating your own religion by redefining the Bible. This of course, is exactly what the religious leaders did as they changed the true definition of sin so that they could meet the

The basics of Christianity are simple: You are a sinner in need of healing.

The religious leaders asked “Why does your teacher eat with the tax collectors and sinners? Sinners: this would have been the people that were known as the low of the low and would have been people most would have avoided.

“More likely, these “sinners” were the more blatant offenders of the halakot (rules of conduct), wicked people such as pimps and prostitutes (used in 21:31), thieves, gamblers, etc.” (Exegetical Commentary on Matthew)

The religious leaders really thought they were better than the ones that Jesus was eating with and they thought this popular teacher and miracle worker should be eating with them, not these wretched people. Although it is easy for us to look down on the religious leaders we all have acted like them at one time or another. We judge people by how they raise their children, if they are standing on the street corner holding a sign, and even when we see them under a bridge. Some people even say “I am no murderer, or Hitler so God understands I am not perfect.”

We treat sin like it is a common cold and not a deadly disease and so we do not go and have it treated properly by the very one that came and died to cure it.

Would you treat cancer by  only taking more vitamin C?

The only way to be saved is to admit you need saving. Lifeguards cannot make people admit they are in trouble and sometimes lifeguards spot problems ahead of time only to warn the people, who either ignore their warnings, or get mad at them for not letting them swim where they want.

One lifeguard spotted a man being dragged away from the beach by a rip current and so the lifeguard immediately jumped in the water to go and rescue him. When the lifeguard arrived the man refused to be helped and there was nothing the lifeguard could do to convince him of his dangerous situation. The lifeguard had to swim back to shore leaving the man in his dangerous situation.

Jesus said it is not the healthy that need a doctor but the sick. When Jesus said this He was not saying that the Pharisees are not sick, but that they will not admit they are sick. Sin is a sickness but unlike many of the  sicknesses we face on this earth that cannot be cured, every sin has a cure through the death and resurrection of Christ.  The only thing that keeps healing from taking place is your willingness to admit to your sickness and a surrender of yourself to Him.

The bad news is you cannot be good enough; the good news is you cannot be bad enough.

Jesus teaches them a lesson

Hosea 6:6 For I desire steadfast love[a] and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Jesus is using the Old Testament, which they should have known, to correct their faulty thinking. Jesus uses the book of Hosea which is really about how God continues to reach out to Israel even though they continue to leave Him.Hosea was given a prostitute as a wife to demonstrate Gods love for them so that they saw themselves as Hosea’s unfaithful wife , and not as being worthy of Gods love on their own merit.

The Old Testament demonstrated God’s love toward the outcast of society so Jesus traps them in their theology to make them aware of the mistake of their ways. Jesus wanted them to understand the very people they were looking down upon were no more further from God than they were.

Luke 18:10-14Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

2)   Follow Your Doctor’s Advice

Follow Me: calls for a lifetime of discipleship

Luke 5:28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.

Philippians 3:7- 10 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

Your Doctor may tell you to give up some things for your health but the reality is we only take some of what he says and try to get by without changing our lifestyle. Some say that Matthew gave up more than the rest of the Disciples because to leave his post, meant that he would never get his job back. Matthews obedience showed his obedience but also his concern for those he considered his friends.

Some Healing’s take time

Whenever I go to my Doctor it is usually bad enough that I have no choice but to go and see him. Because I wait so long whatever sickness I have is well developed and so the healing usually takes some time to work all of the sickness out of my body.

As Christians we believe in Justification which is God declaring us not guilty of all our sins. We also believe in Santification which is a working out the sin areas in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.  When we give our lives to Christ we have the initial joy of being forgiven but we also become more aware of sickness in our lives that we need continual healing from. The Holy spirit will begin to show us areas we need to change in our lives, areas that for years we had no problem with before we gave ourselves to Christ.

God came to us

Jesus shows that He is willing to go anywhere to meet with anyone wherever they are at. This has been since the begininig back in Genesis when God promised the Messiah. To recline at the Table was very intimate and it meant that you were not only sharing a meal but your were sharing your life as well.

Why does your teacher Eat is plural because this was more than a onetime thing for Jesus. The Pharisees ideas were so warped that the only way Jesus could get them to see that they missed it was by going to the very people they despised. They felt to hang out with certain people would make them unclean and so they avoided them, which is the total opposite of Gods redemptive plan for mankind.

The Religious leaders wanted people to clean up their act and then they would associate with them. Jesus associates with us because He knows we cannot clean up our act.  Jesus never condones someone’s behavior but He does meet them where they are and shows them where they need to go. Just like a lifeguard who comes out to rescue a person in trouble, they do not rebuke them for being in trouble, they only want to save them from their perilous situation.

The religious leaders who were entrusted to instruct others of the cure, are the very ones that withheld it from the very people that needed it. That is like your Doctor diagnosing you and then leaving you on your own without giving you what you need to get healthy.

Once again we have to be careful to not look down at these religious leaders and give them too hard of a time. We also have the cure and how many people have we walked by without sharing with them the good news?

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