Summary: Christ has the power to meet our most desperate, hopeless needs.

Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26

“God of the Oppressed”

By: Rev. Kenneth Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA

In our Gospel lesson for this morning we see a beautiful picture of our God.

We see Jesus Christ--God with us-- in the midst of the oppression of sin, the oppression of society, and the

oppression of death and mourning.

We find Jesus in the midst of people who feel unneeded, unloved, and unwanted.

Within the core of every person’s life is a little bit of hell... “for all have sinned and fall short of God’s


....but thanks be to God we have a Savior who gets dirty in the process of making us well.

And this is what ministry is all about....

....It’s about meeting people where they are... and lifting them up....not judging them.

To be a sinner and to be invited into the household of God is a very healing thing....

....and this is something that we need to keep in mind as we go out into the world....

...we are called to make disciples of all nations.....

....we are called to invite everyone matter what their situation in life may be!

We are called to bring hope in the midst of despair, and healing in the face of suffering.

How many invitation cards have we handed out this week?

Jesus “saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ he told him, and

Matthew got up and followed him.”

Jesus “saw a man named Matthew.”

The rest of the crowd...including the religious leaders saw a tax collector who had denied his Jewish

heritage and betrayed his country.

But Jesus saw a man...

...a human being...

...Jesus saw his heart, his mind, his thoughts, his hurt, his pain, his loneliness, his lack of meaning and

purpose in life.

Jesus saw a life that was being wasted.

Jesus saw a man who needed a Savior.

Is this what we see in the faces of those whom we meet?

And when Jesus told him: “Follow me,” a dramatic change took place in Matthew’s life.

He left everything and committed himself totally to Christ.

It is hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven because they are so attached to the material


And Matthew was rich....

...but Matthew was one of the few who had been willing to give it all up in order to follow Jesus!

Matthew’s conversion shows us that Jesus saves anyone who will truly follow Him:

...the hated....the bitter...the unjust...the non-religious...the traitor...the thief...the immoral....the person without

purpose or meaning.

And what did Matthew do as soon as he was saved?

Well, he held a dinner party, where he invited all his sinful friends to come and meet Jesus.

What a dynamic example in witnessing!

Matthew began to witness immediately upon his conversion.

As soon as I got saved, I called up all my friends and told them about Christ.

Most of them thought I was nuts, but that is what I did.

And at the time I was taking a public speaking class during my freshman year in college.

The first speech I gave in that class had something to do with the difference between good heavy metal

music and bad heavy metal music....the louder and heavier the better.

For our second speech we were asked to pick a hero of ours....and speak from their perspective.

I chose Gene Simmons of KISS. I even put on the KISS make-up, and dressed like him. Then I acted like

Gene as I gave a speech on his life.

The day before my third speech...I had given my life to Christ.

So, the class was quite shocked when I got up and gave my Christian testimony!

Jesus saved Matthew and Jesus even saved me because Jesus goes where the sinners are.

Jesus seeks out those who are lost...who are oppressed by the weight of sin....

...And Jesus enters the lives of those who will accept his invitation and He makes them well.

Now, the Pharisees didn’t like this.

They didn’t understand the concept of the ‘new birth.’

They didn’t believe that people could change.

They prided themselves in being the ones who were right with God, and they felt it was their job to

ostracize and judge those who didn’t live up to their standards.

So they asked Jesus’ disciples: “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

Those people who are self-disciplined and religious are sometimes the most judgmental...

...and this judgmental spirit does more to hurt people than any other single thing!

The Bible makes it clear that those who judge others are condemning themselves.

It is in showing kindness, tolerance and patience we lead people towards repentance...according to

Romans chapter 2.

So when Jesus heard that the religionists were complaining about Him He said: “It is not the healthy who

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