Summary: In this message from Matthew 9:9-17, Jesus calls Matthew the tax collector to follow him. Matthew throws a party for his sinner friends and invites Jesus and his disciples to it
The Person of Jesus series
Jesus Makes all things New
CHCC: April 4, 2010 - EASTER
Happy Easter. How many of you got up early and came to the Sunrise Service? At least this year Easter didn’t fall on the same day we move to Daylight Savings time!
I heard about a church organist who overslept one Easter morning. She said, “The service was scheduled for 6:30. At 6:31 the minister called to see if I was coming. Since I live near the church, I was at the organ by 6:45. Then, a year later on Easter morning my phone rang at 5:45. When I answered, I heard the minister announce: ‘Christ is risen! And you’d better rise, too!’”
Christ is risen! So … what has that changed in YOUR life?
Today we’re talking about a man whose life was completely changed because of Jesus. His name was Levi - a nice Jewish name. But Levi was also called by the Greek name of Matthew … and he worked as a Tax Collector for the Roman government. This occupation labeled him an outcast among his own people.
Then along came a young Jewish rabbi named Jesus … and the rest is history. Matthew describes this life-changing moment in one verse: As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. Matthew 9:9
From that minute, everything changed for Matthew. He had a new vocation, a new group of friends, and a completely new purpose for his life. One big change is that Matthew went from being an Accountant to an Author. He eventually wrote the first of the Gospels … the one we’re reading today.
The first thing Matthew did as a follower of Jesus was to throw a big party. Matthew records that a bunch of other tax collectors and “sinners” attended his party, along with Jesus’ disciples. So, here Jesus was, sitting in the home of a hated Tax Collector, surrounded by a bunch of notorious sinners, and who should show up to harass him but the ever-present Pharisees.
As soon as they got the chance, the whined to Jesus’ disciples: Why is your leader partying with a bunch of sinners?
Now these Religious Leaders would NEVER enter the home of a Tax Collector. Obviously, they couldn’t criticize Jesus for partying with sinners if they were at the same party. So they were probably hanging around outside the house, observing the wild party from a safe distance. But eventually someone passed the complaint along to Jesus.
On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
Then he quoted a scripture from Hosea 6:6. “But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Matthew 9:12-13
The Pharisees knew this scripture very well … but they didn’t GET it. They cared nothing about calling sinners back to God. All they cared about was keeping themselves ceremonially clean and untainted by the lowly riff-raff.