9 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.”
What do we know about Matthew? Like many of the disciples he is called by 2 names and most likely got a new one from Jesus. The Gospels of Mark and Luke refer to him as Levi his Hebrew name but in the Gospel of Matthew he is called by the Greek name Matthew meaning “Gift of God.” He wrote the first gospel account of the life of Jesus, yet he only makes one appearance on the stage where we really get to see him. His response to Jesus’ call to follow is his one and only time to step forward into the spotlight. The other 2 times he is mentioned are in the gospel lists of the 12 disciples and the list of who was in the upper room in Acts after Jesus ascended. That’s it and in those lists he is way down the list coming in at 8th. His story starts with the:
- CALL– Vs 9
Notice the details Matthew gives concerning his calling: It starts with Jesus, and two simple words “follow me”. Matthew did not go seeking after Jesus, Jesus came to him. This is important, because none of us can come to God on our own we can only come through Jesus. As John 14:6 says, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So, let me ask you have you responded to Jesus invitation to follow him? Who are you following today, self or the Savior? Scripture also tells us that Jesus saw a man named Matthew, often we overlook these simple words. But it’s here that we discover two powerful truths, first that Jesus sees us. Do you know that Jesus sees you? Sometimes we can shuffle along in this world feeling unseen and uncared for. We can begin to believe that nobody sees us, and nobody cares. Not only does Jesus see us but the second truth is that He knows us. He saw Matthew and He knew Matthew. Yet unlike us who tend to define people by what they do, which is just like the Pharisees, scripture says Jesus saw a man named Matthew who was sitting. It doesn’t say Jesus saw a tax collector who was sitting! You are not defined by what you do, but by who Jesus says you are. Why do we let the world and our work define us instead of God’s Word? Many of us are driven more by our work than God’s Word. Which leads to a performance-based life instead of purpose driven life. We start to live for money instead of the Master. We are excited when the weekend comes not because we will gather with other believers to worship Jesus but because we get to quit working! Our lives become driven by work instead of worship. But living for money leads to misery where living for the Master leads to meaning. Because instead of life being about ME it becomes about ministering to others. Where Jesus saw a man the Pharisees saw a tax collector, who do you see when you look at people? Do you see a struggling mother or a woman on welfare? A prisoner or a person? Prejudice will poison your perception and instead of seeing people you will only see problems. In Philippians chapter 1 we see Paul a prisoner chained to the palace guard. But Paul does not see the palace guard as a problem he sees them as people who need Jesus. This proper perception leads to witnessing not winning. What about you are your prejudices leading you to see others as people or problems? When we see people as problems we tend to avoid them or talk about them instead of talk to them. But when we see them as people who need Jesus we tend to introduce them to Him. Are there any prejudices in your life that are causing you to judge people instead of share Jesus with them? Jesus saw Matthew and he sees you. He cares about you as a person and wants to bring purpose into your life. Will you respond and follow or are you going to ignore his invitation?