Matthew’s Call to Follow Christ

Matthew 9:9-13

9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me.” And he rose and followed Him. 10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and His disciples.
11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when He heard it, He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

What we see in the text:

  1. Matthew the Man.
    He collected taxes for Rome – not even his own people – a publican deeply despised by his fellow Jews.

  2. Matthew the Called Disciple.
    Jesus saw something in Matthew and called him, and he immediately responded.
    Astonishingly, he became one of the Apostles.

  3. The Challenge of the Pharisees.
    The Pharisees were separatists, who wondered why Jesus ate with sinners like tax collectors and prostitutes.

  4. The Response of the Saviour (v12-13)
    Jesus said that He came for the bad and filthy ones and then rebuked the Pharisees for what was lacking in their lives – for practicing false religion which knows nothing about mercy and sacrifice.
    We must also tell people – no matter how steeped they are in sin – that they are welcome in our congregation. Only the Lord can fix the brokenness and lostness of societies.

    What we learn about Evangelism and Discipleship:

    a. Don’t pre-judge yourself or others. 
    Our Lord sees us not for what we are, but for what we can become, as was the case with Simon, whom He later called Peter, the rock. Jesus came to die for sinners.
    The Church never grows by turning them away (Mat 21:31).

    b. Don’t confuse separation with isolation.
    We must withdraw from sin, but we must not withdraw from sinners.
    To be the salt and the light of the world we must mingle with the lost and needy.

    c. Don’t forget the importance of mercy.
    If you haven’t received mercy, you cannot give mercy.
    Sacrifice without mercy is meaningless to God.