Summary: Jesus asked a "black sheep" to be one of the 12 apostles. It probably caused a stir among the apostles, and sure did with the Pharisees! But it changed Levi's life and he celebrated it with a party for Jesus!
THE 12 APOSTLES OF JESUS: MATTHEW
A. HUMOR: THE FLY SWATTER
1. Marie walked into de kitchen & saw Boudreaux with a fly killer (Swatter). She axe him, “Any Luck?”
2. He said, “Yah, three males and two females.”
Marie exclaimed, “Mercy, how can you tell which ones are male and which ones are female?”
4. Boudreaux said, “Dat’s easy … three were on the TV remote and the other two were on the telephone."
B. UNPOPULARITY OF I.R.S.
1. One widow wrote in her return to IRS, “You took everything else. Why don’t you take him too?!” and she enclosed part of her husband’s cremated remains!
2. Another tax payer burned holes in his return and wrote, “Burn, baby Burn!”
3. Some cranky taxpayers use Band-Aids, needles, and even chewing gum to attach their W-2s.
4. One person included a picture of his posterior; another smeared blood on his return.
5. Another caused a stir by sending in a gun. The IRS was afraid it was booby trapped. It had a note which said, “This is the only thing of value I have left. Please sell it and apply the money to what I owe.” [Amarillo Daily News, 4/9/97].
C. REPUTATION OF EARLY TAX COLLECTORS
1. If you think you dislike the I.R.S., know that the Jews were the most vigorous haters of tax collectors of all times.
2. To the devout Jew, to pay taxes to Rome was to support the evil empire and pagan gods.
3. In the minds of most Jewish men, tax collectors were regarded as criminals, and if Hebrews, they were traitors. They were put in the same category with prostitutes, Gentile dogs and ‘sinners’ (Mt. 18:17; 21:31, 33; 9:10; Mk. 2:15,16;
4. Tax collectors were very similar to modern mobsters who demand protection money. They were usually looked upon as robbers. The Romans built a monument to a tax collector who was an honest man (they were so rare).
5. There were 480 synagogues for 90,000 people in Jerusalem; not one synagogue wanted a tax collector as a member.
6. Matthew, the tax collector, operated a toll-booth at a juncture of roads near Capernaum. Jesus invited this pariah to follow Him and become one of the 12 apostles. Let’s read the story.
13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax
collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:13-17.
I. THE CALL OF LEVI/ MATTHEW
A. CHANGE OF HEART
1. Did Levi just see Jesus once and take off following him? Probably not. He had probably heard Jesus and wanted to change.
2. Mark referred to him as Levi, which means, "He who clings” to old ways. But either the Lord or Matthew himself changed his name to Matthew, "the gift of Jehovah."
3. Jesus changed Matthew from a despicable tax collector to a faithful apostle. He changed Peter from "unstable as water" to the Rock. John was changed from a "son of thunder" to the "Apostle of Love."
4. Matthew never did forget his past. In his listing of the 12 apostles, only 2 get a sidenote: Judas who betrayed Jesus, and Matthew, who’d been a tax collector, Mt. 10:3.
5. HUMOR: “What is the difference between a tax collector and the taxidermist? The taxidermist leaves to hide.”
B. “NO, NOT HIM!” SAID PETER
1. There were 3 sets of brothers among the apostles: Peter & Andrew, James & John, and Matthew & James son of Alphaeus. All of them lived in Capernaum.
2. The first 4 brothers were fishermen. Matthew was the tax man who they regularly had to pay taxes to. Don’t you know there was bad blood between the honest Jewish fisherman & the hated tax collector, Matthew? Undoubtedly!
3. You can only imagine Peter’s reaction when Jesus called Matthew to be one of the apostles: "No! Not him!" It probably was the cause for severe soul-searching, discord, and tension.
4. A Pastor said, “During one VBS, over 10% of the kids accepted Christ for the first time. He said to one, "Now that you've accepted Jesus, you're a part of God's family."