Summary: When Jesus started His ministry He selected twelve team members as His first round of draft picks. The twelve disciples were an eclectic group. He had fishermen, farmers, a terrorist and a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. There are all kinds of stereotypes of different moms. Most of us are familiar with the overbearing Jewish mother. Joel Rosenberg told me a joke about a Jewish son who called his mom. He asked, “How are you doing?” She said, “I’m not doing well.” He said, “What’s wrong?” She said, “I haven’t eaten in 23 days.” He said, “Well, have you seen a doctor about your problem?” She said, “I don’t need to see a doctor, I know why I haven’t eaten in 23 days.” He said, “Why haven’t you eaten in 23 days?” She said, “Because I didn’t want to have food in mouth just in case my son decided to call me.” If you can, be sure to call your mother today—she may be waiting on your call.
In this message we’re going to be talking about hearing and answering God’s call. Most of us live with cell phones and we know what it is to call and hear someone’s voice mail message. The standard one is, “I can’t answer my phone right now. Leave a message at the beep and I’ll get back with you as soon as possible.”
However, some people have gotten pretty creative with their voice mail messages. Here are actual messages:
(1) Hi! John’s voice mail is broken. This is his refrigerator. Please speak very slowly, and I’ll stick your message to myself with one of those little magnets.
(2) Hello, this is a telepathic thought-recording device. After the beep, think about your name, your reason for calling, and a number where I can reach you, and I’ll think about returning your call.
(3) I can’t answer my phone now because I have amnesia and I feel awkward talking to people I don’t remember. Please help me out by leaving my name and telling me something about myself. Thanks.
(4) You know what I hate about voicemail messages? They go on and on, wasting your time. I mean, all they really need to say is, “We aren’t in, leave a message.” That’s why I’ve decided to keep mine simple and short. I pledge to you, my caller, that you will never have to suffer through another long answering machine message when you call me.
(5) No one answers phone calls anymore; send me a text.
As we follow the footsteps of Jesus, He is launching His ministry by building a team of disciples.
Mark 2:13-17. “Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and ‘sinners’ were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the ‘sinners’ and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?’ On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’”
I watched part of the NFL draft process this week, and I realized again how football has become our national civic religion. People go crazy about their teams. Johnny Manziel was waiting and waiting. The Cowboys passed on him because they’re banking on Tony Romo as the QB of the future. Good luck with that one. Finally the Cleveland Browns chose Johnny Football as the 22nd overall pick.
When Jesus started His ministry He selected twelve team members as His first round of draft picks. Some observers would say He didn’t make such good choices. Let’s learn three lessons from these early days in His earthly ministry.
1. THE LEVI LESSON: Jesus calls people who seem unqualified
Levi, who was later known as Matthew, was a despised tax collector. He worked for the IRS— not the Israeli Revenue Service, because none of the money went to Israel. He worked for the Infernal Roman Service. He was a servant of the Roman Empire. The Romans were the occupiers of Israel. A tax collector had to deliver a certain amount of revenue to the Romans, and his salary was anything he received above and beyond that amount. He could charge any exorbitant amount he pleased and there were Roman soldiers standing at his tax table to enforce his authority.
To understand how much the Jews hated these tax collectors, compare it to what happened during World War II. The Germans occupied France and some of the French citizens sympathized and worked for the Germans. The French people hated these traitors. After the Allies liberated France, German sympathizers were punished. The women had their hair buzz cut, and the men were ostracized. That’s how much the Jews hated tax collectors like Levi. They spat on the ground when they saw them.