So much of what we do is influenced by how we have been raised, our life experiences. For some this is a good thing but in my experience for most there is an event, a treatment, a lack, or a mindset that was established that hinders us from being whole, from being able to accomplish all we have been called to do.
Today we are going to see how Jesus had the ability to breakthrough people’s mindsets, the life experience to bring them to a place of freedom. One man in particular was hated for who he was, in fact his entire profession was hated, considered traitors, liars and thieves. Today we want to talk about Matthew
Let’s look at where we find Matthew…Matthew 9:9-13
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”
12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Matthew was a tax collector he worked for the Roman government collecting money from his Jewish brethren, a traitor in the eyes of the people
He was a scribe, as part of his profession taking copious notes so it was a gift that was used to write the Gospel
Tax collectors were notorious cheats….they would collect what they needed for the Romans and add some additional that they would skim off of the top.
Some came to John the Baptist and here is what he said to them…Luke 3:12,13
Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?”
13 He replied, “Collect no more taxes than the government requires.”
They had very little accountability except to provide what Rome wanted.
They were also called publicans as we see at least one parable talking about them
An interesting fact about Matthew’s Gospel is that, money and terms used for money are used more in his Gospel than any other just as Luke is a doctor and there is more medical terminology in his book than any other…we will get to the importance of that shortly.
- Jesus will find you where you are!
We often think that we find Jesus but the truth is He always finds us…Paul explains this very well in Romans 5:8-11
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
Jesus is not looking for perfect people. He certainly wasn’t when he found Matthew. But he sees each of us the way that we are, loves us, draws us, calls out to us hoping that we will choose to accept His great love for us and become Children of God.
Relationship with God was broken by one Adam in the garden and God sent a second Adam as his son to restore that relationship and call ourselves friends and children of God.
God knows everything we have done and he is always looking to heal and restore us both before and after Christ. The enemy likes to lie to us and say we are not good, useless to God, without hope….but Jesus went to the cross for all of our brokenness and sin.
You may feel, “yes I’m a Christian, I have fire insurance from hell, but God doesn’t need me, God doesn’t see me.” Those are lies, Jesus sees you just like he saw Matthew. King David tells us in Psalm 139 there isn’t anywhere we can go that he doesn’t find us.
Verse 3 – You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.
Verses 7, 8 – can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.
Verses 11,12 – I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
Jesus’ parables in Luke 15 about the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son are all stories of how God pursues us because He loves us
- 2) He will meet you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually where you are!
He will find you wherever you may be! You can try to hide but he loves you so very much just like Matthew, he will find you and call you out. Also, like Matthew, he will meet you emotionally. Matthew 9:10 shows us that Matthew invited Jesus right into his brokenness
10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners.
Matthew invited Jesus into his home, to meet with his friends, making himself completely vulnerable to Jesus. Being open to Him completely changes us
They knew they were sinners they knew they didn’t fit in with the Pharisees or Sadducees or good Jewish people mode…Jesus didn’t demand that they get their life straight and act like a Pharisee…he came and meet them so he could show them what a life of love, joy, and peace would look like…they might have heard his words and it gone over their heads but instead he met them where they were and showed them what they wanted and needed and how to get there from where they were.
He did that for the Pharisee Nicodemus, the centurion, the woman with the issue of blood and he even hung out with the most hated by the Jews, the Samaritans….he was always willing to do as Saint Francis of Assisi was known to say, “I preached three sermons today and with one of them I used words!”
Too often our biggest struggles come when we are trying to fix ourselves in the way we think Jesus and others would want us fixed. When what Jesus really wants is for us to stop striving trying to make ourselves into the image we think He wants and learn to sit, rest, and listen to Him allowing Him to lead us into becoming who he has called us to be.
I believe that is the gist of what Jesus was saying when he said this..
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
He will meet you where you are mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually if you will allow him.
- 3) Jesus will use your gifts, the way He designed you, to change your world.
I mentioned earlier that God used Matthews handling money and Luke’s Physician skills..he will use you the way he created you too.
Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
He makes all that you are to work out to fulfill his plan and that will bring you great joy as you begin to fulfill who you are meant to be.
Paul gives us a clearer focus just one chapter over…Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Matthew 13:52 Jesus was most likely talking about Matthew here describing just what Paul is talking about in Ephesisans 2
And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
You have been uniquely designed by God to fulfill a purpose. Until you came to Christ like Matthew you may be using those skills for your own purposes, or the world’s (old) and it is a small function and purpose but once you come to Christ, they are further enhanced to radically be used and with them you will change the world (new)…
One last thing…Matthew too ran away from the cross, like Peter, but God called him….Jesus paid the price for all of his sin and betrayal and called him to go out and change the world.
We can’t waste time in regret, remorse, depression, anxiety, shame, guilt…we need to allow the Lord to love us, we need to open ourselves up to his healing, delivering, love and use the gifts He has given us to be His masterpiece in a broken shattered world.
He sees you, He knows you, He knows where to find you. Just respond to him give him all of you