Summary: This is the 7th sermon in the "Getting Acquainted With The 12 Apostles" series.
Series: Getting Acquainted With The 12 Apostles [#7]
MATTHEW- YOUR LIFE CAN BE SIGNIFICANT
There are some days that I feel so insignificant. I also know that I am not alone. Do you sometimes think, “If I didn’t show up, no one would even notice”? Many days, with technology I feel like a number and not a person; but Christ comes to say that life can be significant. In Christ, I matter.
Matthew is an example of one who went from feeling insignificant to feeling that he mattered. Matthew was a tax collector. Tax collectors have never been very popular. In Palestine this was especially true. Collection of taxes was farmed out by the Roman government. A man would pay the government a fixed sum for the right to collect taxes in a given district; then he would take all he could get. Further, most tax collectors were Romans. The patriotic, legal Jew refused to hold such an office. Now and then however, one moved by greed would take the office of tax collector in order to enrich himself. Such was Matthew.
The Scribes and Pharisees passed by the tax collectors and would not even look in their direction. Small boys would throw rocks at them. Some would spit on them. No wonder Matthew felt insignificant. He had a sense of guilt about his work. He was so despised and hated by others that he began to despise and hate himself.
Luke 5:27-29 (NIV)
27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
1. Met Jesus just as he was.
Jesus walked up on Matthew while he was working. The people around him saw Matthew the sinner; Jesus saw Matthew the Saint. The people saw Matthew the greedy tax collector; Christ saw Matthew the Apostle and writer of the 1st Book in the New Testament. Christ sees the best in people and wants to bring that out of them. He called Matthew not for what he was; but for what he could become.
I am reminded of the hymn, “Just As I Am”. Christ sees something in you. Your life can be significant. The Gospel of Christ offers hope for all. There is a change for every person- The most unlikely, unlovely, and sinful; to be the person Christ sees. Never was there a more unpromising Disciple than Matthew. People probably thought Christ’s choice of Matthew as a Disciple was unwise.
Matthew 9:9 (NIV)
9 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.
2. Needed Christ.
Matthew recognized his need. He was sick and tired of his lifestyle and wanted a change. One who is great enough to make life can also remake it. Christ can do for you what no one else can do. There is hope, for Jesus can transform your life. Matthew tells the story of his own conversion. Do you tell others about your conversion? Your testimony is one of your greatest assets you have. When Christ touches a life, the instruments of evil become instruments for good. Christ can use your talents and efforts for good. Dedicate those to God.
Matthew 9:10-13 (NIV)
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
3. Served Christ.
The 1st thing Matthew did when he became a follower of Christ was to make a feast and invite all his friends to meet Jesus. He invited them to his home. Jesus needed a man like Matthew, for he could use his method of doing Christian work. In the book of Acts, we find Matthew’s name on the list of the 12 Apostles. This shows us that Matthew remained loyal to Jesus, even after His crucifixion. Matthew left all to follow Christ.
According to tradition, Matthew died a martyr. Tradition has it that he 1st preached the Gospel in Judea to his own countrymen and later was condemned to die for preaching the Gospel. He was faithful to the end. Christ needed a man like Matthew who would work to save the sinful, needy, and neglected.
Such a work makes life significant. Let us give ourselves to reaching the poor, needy, sick, abused, addicted, burdened, problem-ridden, and untouched by the Church that we make our lives count.