Following Jesus 38

As we examine the Twelve Disciples of Jesus, we now begin to view the second group of four. Following Philip and Nathanael is Matthew. How are followers of Jesus today like Matthew? Let’s begin by looking at some facts regarding the disciple Matthew, who was also known as Levi.

How are followers of Jesus today like Matthew? First of all like Matthew, followers of Jesus are individuals who God calls into a covenant relationship in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Like Matthew, they are persons who introduces their friends to Jesus Christ. Vs. 10.  And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. (Matthew 9:10 ESV).

Like Matthew, they are persons who may criticized for following Jesus. “When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matthew 9:11 ESV).

When the religious leaders understood that Jesus was eating and in affect accepting the tax collectors and sinners, they spoke to the Jesus’ disciples. Notice they did not approach Jesus with their criticisms, but rather His disciples. They questioned the disciples as to why Jesus would eat with tax collectors and sinners?

One commentator notes that “table fellowship indicated intimate (close; warm; friendly) relationships and interactions among those who shared it. The Pharisees were particularly scrupulous about their special rules on eating and did not like to eat with less scrupulous people, especially people like tax gatherers and sinners. Here they assume that Jesus, being a wise teacher, ought to share their religious convictions, which they believed were scriptural (Ps 1:1).”

Notice also that the Pharisees referred to Jesus as the disciple’s teacher. “Why does your teacher…” For a disciple of Jesus to follow His leading, submit to His teaching and to take upon themselves His character meant they were accepting of what Jesus was doing. The Pharisees were as much criticizing the disciples as they were Jesus.

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