Jesus just breezed into people’s lives and things “got all shook–up”
Matthew 9:9-30 (AMPC)
9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s office; and He said to him, Be My disciple [side with My party and follow Me]. And he rose and followed Him.
10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and [especially wicked] sinners came and sat (reclined) with Him and His disciples.
11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, Why does your Master eat with tax collectors and those [preeminently] sinful?
12 But when Jesus heard it, He replied, Those who are strong and well (healthy) have no need of a physician, but those who are weak and sick.
13 Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy [that is, readiness to help those in trouble] and not sacrifice and sacrificial victims. For I came not to call and invite [to repentance] the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God), but sinners (the erring ones and all those not free from sin).
VIVID ILLUSTRATION 1
The Tax collectors table. Jesus walking down street – engaged with disciples (James, John Andrew Peter) He had already been preaching in synagogues and markets. What’s He like? Vital. Alive, vibrant, animated, interesting. Confident, bright, engaging, purposeful. He just rocks up to Matthew and drops a bombshell! - Follow Me!
What’s happening in Matthews mind and heart?
Luke 5:27-28 (AMPC)
27 And after this, Jesus went out and looked [attentively] at a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office; and He said to him, Join Me as a disciple and side with My party and accompany Me.
28 And he forsook everything and got up and followed Him [becoming His disciple and siding with His party].
What’s happening in Jesus mind? – This is the gospel. A man with leadership skill, a scribe, a man who could be/ will be a big asset to the kingdom. But above all He loved him!!!!
What’s happening in the disciple’s minds?
Has Jesus lost it? A tax collector in the team??? Bad PR coming our way.
What’s happening in the Pharisee’s minds? We see that unfold now.
Matthew was a tax collector. Considered traitors who became wealthy by collaborating with Roman authorities at the expense of their own people; profiting by disobeying the command of God and betraying their own people. They were what the Old Testament calls the wicked, unworthy to be part of the people of God. Including money lenders, prostitutes, people who profited at the expense of the vulnerable. Its about injustice!
1. Jesus engages with people of every kind. – You’re not so bad that you can’t come to God You’re not so good that you don’t need Jesus.
2. The call of God comes to anyone and it will change your life! Don’t think of it as making room for Jesus in your busy schedule… He is the air that you breathe.
What if Jesus walked into your Gym, workplace, home, - what would He do? Say?
VIVID ILLUSTRATION 2
The Tax collectors party. Eating with them was a sign of acceptance and friendship. The gospel demonstrated. The Pharisees were often criticising Jesus, how did He handle them? He was straight with them, pointing out the error in their thinking. Jesus didn’t spend hours trying to explain the gospel to the Pharisees, if people were open and hungry they just kept on coming to hear more and eventually the penny drops. Because spiritual truth does not come by many words but by a changed heart.
This is the Jesus who illustrates the difference between judgement and mercy. The Pharisees were quick to judge. This was due to their error of self-righteousness. By straining and striving to keep the Jewish law they set up a competitive culture of Jewish leaders who all wanted to appear the most righteous because of the way that they kept the law. If anyone could lay a charge at the feet of a Pharisee, then his credentials were tarnished. The 10 commandments became the 640 Jewish laws that were interpreted into thousands of rules and directives, enough to drive any person mad. Jesus said these Jewish leaders made any enquirer twice as much a child of hell than what they were.
The Pharisees judged Jesus and judged the Tax Collectors. Jesus showed mercy to the Tax collectors. He loved and wanted to see redeemed these so called “Notorious sinners” It’s all about judgement.
1. Jesus loves every person –
2. Self Righteousness will keep you out of heaven. Don’t go the comparing route.
3. Don’t judge others, look at yourself.
“I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” Jesus does not denying the validity of sacrifice here or anywhere in His teaching (cf. 5:23-24). He is speaking about another concern— to the danger of religious ritualism that is all external.
Church folks judge those who are misbehaving OR Church folks excuse or come in line with worldly behaviour.
What if…Jesus walked into your Christmas party, home, work place.