The next in a series of messages looking at the original 12 disciples of Jesus under the general heading of – “How God uses the average to achieve the amazing.”
“The invisible man” was the title of a popular song that could well have been written about Matthew, in that we know so little about him, that he might as well have been invisible! But here’s what we do know:
- He was also known as Levi (Luke 5 v 27.)
- He was a tax collector by profession.
- He was the author of the Gospel that bears his name.
Other than that the only material that we have to go on is his invitation to follow Jesus:-
Jesus seemed to have a “soft spot” for tax collectors, who in turn were magnetically attracted to him (Luke 15 v 1.) Apart from Matthew, two other tax collectors are mentioned in the Gospels, and both found forgiveness (Luke 18 v 3 & 19 v 1 – 9.) As for Matthew, when he was invited to leave his tax business and follow Jesus, he did so immediately and without delay. How come?
- He may well have heard Jesus teaching and witnessed firsthand some of his miracles, and being impressed he followed.
- Maybe he was a spiritual seeker, who although barred from the synagogue, knew the OT prophesies concerning the Messiah and now believed that in Jesus they were being fulfilled before his very eyes, and so he followed.
Challenge – Will you hear and respond to the call of Jesus to follow him in person?
Having opened his heart, Matthew then decided to open his home, so that he could invite his former colleagues in the taxation industry to the mother of all parties so that they could meet Jesus. He reasoned that they would never darken the door of the synagogue, or travel to hear Jesus preach, but they would come to a party.
Challenge – Will you devise innovative and effective ways of sharing the Gospel message with those in your social circle?
The Pharisees (Separated ones) were not impressed with Matthew’s radical approach to mission. How could Jesus possibly associate with such “scum of the earth?” Jesus was only too pleased defend and justify Matthew’s best efforts – “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick ….. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The Pharisees were so religious and self righteous that they did not see themselves as spiritually sick sinners, and so Jesus could do nothing to help them; but as for the party goers, they were aware that they had issues and needs, and Jesus could do a lot to help such unrighteous sinners.
Challenge – Even if you are following Jesus and are sharing your faith imaginatively with others, will you just double check that you are not doing it from a self righteous perspective, but as a forgiven sinner saved by grace?
Theme: “From fraudster to follower!”
Reading: Matthew 9 v 9 – 13
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Bev Sills