The Story of Matthew:
One more story from the life of Jesus: “As Jesus was going down the road, he saw Matthew sitting at his tax-collection booth. “Come, be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. That night Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to be his dinner guests, along with his fellow tax collectors and many other notorious sinners. The Pharisees were indignant. “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” they asked his disciples. When he heard this, Jesus replied, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor — sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to be merciful; I don’t want your sacrifices.’ For I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough.” (Matt. 9:9-13, NLT).
In the first century in Palestine, the nation of Israel was under the rule of the Roman Empire. Matthew was a tax collector who worked for Rome, collecting taxes from his fellow Israelites. Many of the Jews saw him as a traitor, so they hated and rejected him. But one day, Jesus walked by and gave Matthew a great invitation, “Come, be my disciple!” There weren’t a lot of people who wanted to associate with Matthew, and when Jesus called, Matthew followed Him.
Then it says, “That night, Matthew invited Jesus to be his dinner guest, along with his fellow tax collectors and many other notorious sinners.” That night. It doesn’t say, “After Matthew went to Bible College for four years and graduated with a degree in witnessing and evangelizing the world for Jesus.” It doesn’t say, “After Matthew completed all of the church’s evangelism and witnessing courses, learned the four spiritual laws and the Roman Road, then he invited his friends to Jesus.” No! In the morning, Matthew started following Jesus. That night, he invited his friends to a place where they could meet Jesus. And we can do the same thing, too.
Four Great Lessons we Learn from Matthew’s Story:
- No one is too sinful for God to forgive. Isn’t that good news? You might have a friend who you think, “God could never save them! They’re hard hearted and rebellious; they hate God and the church.” God forgave Matthew a thief, a cheater and a traitor. God called him, saved him, and changed his heart.
- People will be interested in the Gospel when they see how it will change their lives. Jesus changed Matthew’s life, he invited his friends, and Jesus changed their lives, too.
- You don’t need formal training to lead people to Jesus. Look at what Matthew did. The same day he started following Jesus he invited his friends. “Hey, come meet Jesus!”
- Matthew was so excited about what Jesus had done in his life, he threw a party, invited everyone he knew, and people were saved.
As a church, I want to see us rediscover the mission of Jesus the Saviour. We’re going to learn why it’s important to reach out to the lost, how to reach people through random acts of kindness and goodness, and simple, practical keys for how to share your faith with your friends. We want to reach people with the love of Jesus.
Pastor Chris Jordan