Summary: Matth (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org) ew's converstion.
Reading: Matthew chapter 9 verses 9-13.
“Sign on door: "Gone out of business. Didn't know what our business was.”
That of course could never be said of Jesus Christ:
• He came for a purpose; he had an objective:
• And Matthew made it clear that Jesus has come to forgive sins.
• In these five verses, and in a very personal way,
• Matthew reveals how he had discovered that forgiveness first hand.
Jesus and Matthew (verses 9-10):
• In these verses this morning;
• Matthew actually records his own call to discipleship,
• And as he records his testimony, you will notice there is no exaggeration or boasting,
• But humility is very much a quality of his character that will shine through.
(1). An occupation (Verse 9a):
Matthew was a ‘tax-collector’.
• The main trade route from Syria to Egypt went through Galilee,
• And Capernaum acted as a tax station;
• It was a good station to be at, besides regular taxes paid by residents;
• Travellers had to stop, present their imported products to the tax official,
• And pay their taxes,
• Before they were allowed to go on.
• Matthew was apparently one of the tax officials working at this tax station..
• And each day he went to ‘the office’ or in his case the ‘tax-booth’.
These tax officials were very unpopular with the Jews (3 reasons why):
(A). THEY WERE DISHONEST.
• Often they were extortioners,
• Making themselves rich by taking too much money from their fellow Jews.
• The Roman government devised a system;
• To collect taxes as efficiently and as cheaply as possible.
• They did this by auctioning the right to collect taxes in a certain area.
• The man who bought that right was responsible to the Roman government for an agreed sum;
• Anything he could raise over and above that;
• He was allowed to keep as commission.
Tax-collectors were very fraudulent:
• Not only did they fleece their own countrymen,
• But they also did their best to swindle the government,
• And they made a flourishing income by taking bribes from rich people;
• Who wished to avoid taxes which they should have paid.
When they asked John the baptiser, how they should live;
His reply was basically; “be honest!”
(B). THEY WERE TRIATORS.
• They were also hated because they were working for the Romans,
• Although they worked for them indirectly.
• Again the Romans contracted out to people like the Herod’s.
• He ran the region on behalf of the Romans.
(C). THEY WERE SINNERS.
• They were disliked because they ignored the Jewish laws.
• This explains why the Pharisees called them ‘sinners’ (verse 11).
A sinner was someone who chose to live outside of God’s laws.
• e.g. If you worked on the Sabbath,
• e.g. If you did not follow dietary laws (ate pork).
According to Jewish law a tax-gatherer was excluded from the synagogue;
• He was included with things and beasts that were unclean,
• He was forbidden to be a witness in any case of law.
• In fact robbers, murderers and tax-gatherers were all classed together.
• On the social scale, tax collectors were on the bottom. (Even prostitutes had a higher social status).
(2). A challenge (verse 9b) “Follow me”.
• We have recorded in the gospels the calling six of the twelve disciples;
• Philip, Andrew, Peter, James and Matthew.
• To each of them, Jesus uses two key words to challenge them into action “follow me”.
• Note: would be disciples used a similar phrase “follow you” (chapter 18 verse 18-22).
The words “follow me” sound to us an incomplete invitation:
• If someone were to give you the same invitation to you and me;
• We would probably respond by asking; “Where are you going?”
It is interesting these men did not ask that question:
• The issue in discipleship is never WHERE we are going,
• But WHO are we going with?
• To be a disciple of Jesus Christ;
• Meant from now on you were caught up in his programme and live by his agenda.
• Discipleship is not about the fulfilment of the follower,
• It is all about the fulfilment of the master’s purposes.
When Jesus called Matthew:
• He called a man whom all men hated.
• Here is one of the greatest instances in the New Testament;
• Where Jesus has the ability and power to see in a man,
• Not only what he was, but also what he could be.
Ill: Gideon (“Mighty warrior”). Ill: Simon (“Rock”).
Matthew had some positive qualities. For instance:
(1). HE HAD COURAGE TO “SWIM UPSTREAM.”.
• He obviously possessed an inner strength to go a different direction than everybody else.