Summary: The Call of Matthew to "Follow Me" is the same call that every sinner hears before he can arise from the life of sin.
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Pastor James May
Matthew 9:9-13, "And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Matthew had one of the most hated jobs in all of Israel. He was considered as a traitor and sinner who had sold out to the Roman Occupational forces because he was ordered to collect taxes for Rome from his own countrymen. When Jesus found Matthew, he was in the Custom House collecting taxes as he was assigned to do. Jesus saw something in Matthew that no one else in Israel saw.
Jesus called to Matthew was simple but the call was powerful and Matthew answered quickly as he heard the Lord say, “come, follow me”.
The greatest life we can live is a life dedicated to Christ. It is so very sad to see many who will hear the call just as Matthew did, and then they will not arise and follow Him.
How many blessings do we miss? How far will we stray before turning back to God?
Matthew was so very grateful for the call of God upon his life. He made a great feast in honor of the Lord and his disciples. The problem was that the only friends and acquaintances that Matthew could invite were in the same social circle as he was.
They were all considered outsiders, sinners and traitors for they were the only Jews who would even associate themselves with the likes of Matthew, the Tax Collector.
Some of them were very likely Gentiles, from other Roman cities who had moved into Jerusalem to work for the Roman Government. As such they were considered heathens and unholy by the religious hierarchy of Israel.
The Pharisees were offended by the fact that Jesus and his disciples went into the feast with these heathens. The Pharisees view of righteousness was completely centered upon the Law of Moses and had no consideration of the Spirit of that Law, only its legalistic terms and ordinances. They weren’t saved themselves but thought they were. The Pharisees lived strict laws, claimed to have a special relationship with Yahweh but had little love or tolerance for anyone who disagreed with them or who seemed to disobey the Law.
These Self-righteous Pharisees could not see their own sin. They did not know that they were without God and they could see no other means of reaching God but their own.
Their thoughts were that anyone who really was righteous had no right to associate with heathens unless business required it. They never realized that Jesus was doing the Father’s business and that required Jesus to go to Matthew’s house.
Jesus knew their thoughts and heard their self-righteous indignation. We may fool ourselves; we may fool the world; but we cannot fool God. He knows where we are and the very thought of our heart and mind.
His words to them were cutting and to the point. Jesus has no patience and will not stop at pointing out the cold, hard truth to those who claim to be righteous but are not. Jesus’ words proclaimed that His purpose, His business was to be the Great Physician to a sin-sick and dying world. For that purpose He born, for that purpose He lived and for that purpose He would soon die upon the cross.