(Preparation: cut out enough pages from a old copy of the phone book yellow pages that everyone can get a page folded up in the bulletin. Make sure that you include advertisements for Plumbers, Electricians, Jewelers, and Movers. )

Let me begin by telling you that I had one of the hardest weeks. Every thing that could go wrong seemed to go wrong. Monday the water pipes busted in the parsonage. There was water every where. Our house was like Noah’s ark. Becca’s Crib started to float. And to top it all off I didn’t know any plumbers and if I did know them I didn’t know how to get a hold of them. The water is still running out there. Can anyone here give me some help about how to find a good plumber. (The congregation will hopefully catch on and offer you names from the phone book pages)

Because the water was so bad, it messed up my electricity, blew out all the circuts so we are sitting in the dark out at the house any one know any good electricians?

Then it was the 6 anniversary of Sharon and I’s first date and I wanted to get her a diamond ring, but I couldn’t find a jeweler. Does anyone know a good jeweler.?

How did you all know to find these persons so quickly? I forgot all about looking in the phone book. And you know when problems arise in our lives we often fail to look in this book (hold up Bible). You would be surprised but this book has someone to call on when there are problems in your life too.

There’s someone in this book that you can call who can anchor your storm. Somebody who can teach you to fish for men and women. Somebody who can lift the load of guilt off the sinners heart. Somebody who that put a sword in your hand when your fighting temptation. Somebody who can lift you up when you’ve fallen. Somebody who can hire us as co-workers in the coming of his kingdom. You can call somebody who can give a death row pardon. Somebody who will set a lamp of forgiveness and reconciliation in the window for the prodigal Son to come home too. There is somebody who can open the gates of hell.

He’s name is Jesus. His name is Jesus! His name is Jesus! And like the phone company says All you have to do is reach out and touch him. But I want you to know that Jesus is also in the touching business.

Today’s Scripture lesson is Matthew 9:18-26, but right before that in Matthew 9:9-12 Jesus reaches out and touches somebody.

The problem here is that Jesus is doing what? What is going on that has the Pharisees upset?

Why is Jesus hanging out with obvious sinners, the disreputable outcasts of proper Jewish society. The text begins with Jesus encountering Matthew, a tax collector. Matthew's profession was a despised one. Not only were tax collectors suspected of taking more than they were due, strict Jews held that they and many other banking-type professionals were in violation of Torah laws. Further, Matthew was being by the Romans to persecute his own people. In our own period of American Slavery he would be like the slave who was elevated to field boss. He received the right to whip his own people. To every one else the tax collector is unworthy and unwelcome. But look at what Jesus does. First, Jesus speaks openly and directly to Matthew, inviting him to "follow me." In verse 10, Jesus is depicted at dinner with an entire roomful of Matthew-types -- "tax collectors and sinners." And Jesus is not preaching before these outcasts or lecturing them on the hell and brimstone that they will suffer for their sinfulness. These unlikely associates -- Jesus, disciples, sinners -- are specifically described as "reclining" at table together. They clearly are a group gathered in fellowship. Jesus is literally a "friend of sinners."

The Pharisees, those paragons of righteousness, are appalled at Jesus' behavior -- and question his disciples about it. Jesus' response in verse 12 explains to the reader why he keeps this company. Jesus describes himself as a "physician" and sinners as those who are "sick" and thus the ones in need of the physician's healing presence.

It is Jesus' reference to himself as "physician" that sets the stage for today’s gospel lesson. You see Jesus is a doctor who’s not afraid to reach out and touch you.

Jesus moves from the tax collectors and sinners and it says that a rich ruler comes about his daughter and we know from the gospel of Mark and Luke that this man’s name is Juris, and his a very influential person in the synagogue. And I can imagine myself standing there beside Jesus listening. Juris runs up and panting says “Jesus I need your help Lord, it my daughter. I would think to myself. Hey buddy Juris, no problem, you came to the right place Jesus can healer. And then Juris says she is dead, but all you have to do is come and lay your hands on her. Yeah, Jesus can do anything- Uh Juris did you say she was dead?

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