Summary: When Jesus walked oln the earth, even though His glory was hidden, He was still an amazing light. And light can hurt.
Passage: Matthew 9:9-13
Intro: Light is an amazing phenomenon.
1. it can be at one time painful, illuminating, helpful, and revealing of things we would rather stayed hidden.
2. if you walk into a dark room and turn on the lights, some inhabitants will scurry away and others will welcome the brightness.
3. light is very useful in the medical community, all the scans are instruments that bring illumination to areas we typically cannot see.
PP MRI scan
3. there is no doubt that when Jesus walked on the earth, He was a light of incredible intensity.
PP John 1:3-5
4. and that light still shines through the pages of Scripture and the testimony of the Holy Spirit.
5. here in this passage, an eyewitness report of foundational importance to us.
6. because the reaction of the Pharisees to the actions of Jesus can very well be our reaction, and so we need to be instructed, as they did.
8. first we will see the reaction to Jesus’ behavior, and then we will sit with the Pharisees in the doctors office to hear the diagnosis and the cure.
I. Choosing Matthew as a Disciple Would Raise Some Eyebrows.
1. The event is reported simply enough, but we have to understand the culture to get the significance.
2. Jesus walks up and see Matthew “sitting at the tax collector’s booth.”
3. he could just be hanging out there, but 10:3 makes it clear.
PP Matthew 10:3
4. tax collectors were the scum of the Jewish earth. Why?
5. partnership with Rome, collecting hated taxes imposed by Rome, and often cheated taxpayers for their own benefit.
6. when Jesus wanted to use a person to contrast as powerfully as possible with the Pharisees, he chose a tax collector.
PP Luke 18:9-11
7. in the cultural context, for Jesus to choose a tax collector as a disciple would have been political suicide.
PP) Jews looking for the Messiah who would “crush the sinful and support the righteous” Dr. Don Carson
8. and Matthew the tax collector would clearly be a crushee.
9. so now the Pharisees are on their guard, but it is about to get even worse.
II. Jesus’ Eating with Matthew’s Sinful Friends Exposed Some Flawed Thinking
1. it was enough the Jesus was eating with Matthew, this tax collector.
2. and that the dinner took place in Matthew’s house, a place a good Jew would not enter.
3. but the people that joined them, and the fact that Jesus stayed and ate with them crossed the line.
4. v11 makes it clear that what they saw caused them to challenge his behavior.
5. they are not looking for information, but mounting a challenge. -(we know this by Jesus’ response)
We would say…
PP “What in the world is he doing?”
6. the problem was the people, identified as “tax collectors and sinners.”
7. the tax collector was bad enough, but this “sinners” designation brought in a whole host of people that the Pharisees would consider to be “cut off” from the nation of Israel.
8. these would be Jewish people who were not living according to the Law.
9. there were many way to be “cut off” from the covenant blessings of being a Jew.
PP uncircumcised, skipping Passover, making the sacred Temple perfume, breaking the Sabbath, eating certain meat offered in sacrifice, eating blood, sacrificing outside the tabernacle or Temple, sacrificing your children to Molech, consulting spiritists or mediums, ceremonial uncleanness in close proximity to sacred sacrifices, blasphemy, incestuous sexual relations, homosexuality, bestiality.
10. and when the Pharisees looked at this bunch, they were sure they belonged outside the fence.
11. their bad behavior meant that they no longer deserved the love of God, so why was Jesus spending time with them?
12. they were unlike them, who deserved the love of God because they earned it with their behavior.
13. let’s go back to Luke 18 and look at the Pharisees prayer.
PP Luke 18:11-12 “Thank you Lord that I am not like that miserable slob over there.”
14. the flawed thinking is this: that the approval of God is earned through the performance of outward rituals and behaviors, without any concern for the things of the heart.
15. this flawed thinking had been identified before in the OT.
PP Amos 5:21-24
16. and Jesus identified it as well in the NT.
17. these Pharisees had erected a fence, and they lived inside of it and everyone who were not as righteous as they were were outside God’s love and mercy
18. we might have this disease too, if we look at our lives with anything less than deep gratitude to God for His gracious work in our lives to free us from our self- righteous flesh.