Summary: No matter what kind of problems you may have, God can use you if you are willing to put your life in His hands.
Jesus needs messed up people
This morning I want to begin with a little Korean history.
Korea was occupied by the Japanese for 30 some years beginning in the early 1900¡¯s The Japanese wanted to make the Korean peninsula their own. They had to do this in order to move on and annex China. During the 30 years, they sought to destroy the Korean culture, and they tried to implant the Japanese culture. And they tried to replace our language too. By the way, how do you spell Korea? It begins with a K. But have you ever seen it spelled with a C. The Japanese changed the way we spell Korea. This is because in the Olympics the countries stand in alphabetical order. And Japan felt superior and wanted to stand in front of Korea. Now when I first learned about this ten years ago, it kind of made my blood boil. It¡¯s a good thing I¡¯ve had gone through a few years of sanctification. Is your blood boiling? Maybe you need more sanctification. I don¡¯t want you to hate the Japanese. I just want you to understand how the patriotic Korean people felt when they were under Japanese control. Now during this time, although the Japanese had a lot of power, they were short on people. So they recruited Koreans. They paid them well and gave them good homes. The Koreans who accepted work at the hands of the Japanese were looked down upon as betraying the honor of their nation. They were looked down upon and despised. Imagine yourself living in those days, and you had a neighbor. Let¡¯s call him Jack. Let¡¯s give him a Korean name. Jack-ku. And Jack-ku had given in to the Japanese and worked for them. How would you feel towards Jack-ku? To be his friend, would mean that you would risk losing all your other friends. Would you be his friend?
I know of someone who would be his friend. His name is Jesus. Jesus would be his friend. And I¡¯ve got Bible to prove it to you.
Matthew 9:9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, ¡°Follow Me.¡± So he arose and followed Him.
Do you know why Matthew was sitting at the tax office? It was because he was a tax collector.
The Jews hated Matthew. Matthew was a Jew who worked for the Roman government.
And the tax collectors were not merely the instruments of Roman oppression; they were extortioners on their own account, enriching themselves at the expense of the people. So Matthew took advantage of other Jews.
A Jew who accepted this office at the hands of the Romans was looked upon as betraying the honor of his nation. He was classed with the vilest of society.
Can you think of a notorious tax collector in the Bible? Zaccheus! Everybody knew Zaccheus! And everybody hated Zaccheus, that is, until he started giving back what he stole.
Can you imagine what people said about Jesus as Matthew followed him around? It probably didn¡¯t help Jesus reputation.
Why would Jesus ask someone like Matthew to be his disciple?
Matthew had problems, would you agree?
Jesus uses people withproblems. Do you have problems? Are you disappointed with yourself? Are you far from being perfect? Jesus can use you. If Jesus can use Matthew, then Jesus can use you. Amen!
Among Jesus¡¯ twelve disciples, there was one disciple that really really hated Matthew. Who do you think that could be?
Let¡¯s take a look at who Jesus disciples were. Turn with me to Luke 6:13.
(13) And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles:
Now as we read through this list, try and figure out who might have hated Matthew the most.
(14) Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew;
(15) Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot;
(16) Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.
I¡¯m sure all twelve disciples didn¡¯t like Matthew very much. But who do you think hated Matthew the most?
It was Simon, Simon the Zealot. Why? Because he was a Zealot.
The Zealots were a Jewish political party. They were a fanatical Jewish sect that militantly opposed the Roman domination of Palestine during the first century A.D. They were devoted to Jewish law and religion, and thought it was treason against God to pay tribute to the Roman emperor, since God alone was Israel¡¯s king. These guys were willing to fight to the death for Jewish independence.
The Zealots had intense hatred toward the tax collectors.