Following Jesus 39
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).
Like Matthew, they are sinners saved by grace alone, through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Vs. 12-13. But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12-13 ESV).
Jesus understood what the Pharisees were saying. He understood the implication behind their statements. His statements to them are particularly pointed and direct.
Metaphorically speaking, Jesus said that those who are spiritually well have no need for a Savior, just as those who are physically well have no need of a physician. The obvious irony is there is no one who is spiritually well. Every sinner is in need of the salvation found only in the person and work of Jesus Christ
Why is this so? Jesus said it is because they are sick. Sinners are in a bad state. This was Matthew’s condition prior to being called unto salvation by Jesus. This is the condition of Matthew’s friends. This is why Matthew wants his friends to meet Jesus.
Jesus then tells the Pharisees to go and learn what His statement means. Jesus said He ultimately desires mercy and grace in His followers, not blind religious adherence to rituals: as important as religious rituals may tend to be for many people.
Jesus concluded by stating that He came to earth not to call righteous people to Himself, but rather He came to call sinners. The reason this is the case is because there are no righteous people in the world.
Jesus told the people then, and today, to go and learn what His statement means.
- As a follower of Jesus, are you a humble individual who has a deep awareness of your sin and the depth of God’s grace in saving you?
- Are you one who seeks to invite your friends to church services or other activities in which Christ is exalted? Perhaps a Christian concert, a Christmas cantata, or an Easter service?
- Are you one who believes God cannot use you because of your past? As long as we have repentant hearts, God can and does use followers just like Matthew.
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