What does it mean come follow me – what our response should be.
Matthew 9:9-13 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. 10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Matthew was a tax collector.
Oh how tax collectors were hated in the days of Jesus. They collected taxes for the Roman Empire not for the Jewish people. They were greedy as they sat at their tables. They were also very dishonest they could decide they owe 100 in taxes but Im going to charge them 300. 100 for the Roman government and 200 for me. The Roman Centurions close by in case of any trouble. To pounce and arrest any that were accused. If the Tax collector told you you owed 300 and you argued, he was without mercy he would just have the soldiers arrest you and put you in prison. He was a publican. These were considered the worst of sinners, master sinners. Also these publicans were so hated they were banned from the synagogue. No one wanted to talk to them.
Now Jesus comes to Him He looks not at the outward appearance but at the heart.
For man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.Just as the people hated Mathew. Matthew hated His Job, Matthew hated himself for doing what He did. When Jesus said follow me He got up and left the tables. Lukes Gospel said He left all and followed Jesus. By Him leaving He could never go back. When He said goodbye to that table he knew it was goodbye forever You see I don’t just follow Jesus for a season then go back to my old life no no it’s for ever. There is no turning back. But when Jesus says follow me I don’t want to turn back.
Why did God choose Matthew… He was a publican. A sinner. God know the hearts.
People despised Mathew but he despised Himself. There is a heart crying our for mercy. Here is Jesus at Mathews house all the guests are sinners and publicans. All except Jesus and the disciples. Jesus speaks saying, They that be whole need not a physician, Ive come to call sinners to repentance.
The great Joy for Mathew was to meet Jesus who would tell Him the word of Truth. No Pharisee or scribe cared that he was hurtling directly to Hell. But Jesus The great Physician came and restored his soul. Came to call sinners and Mathew was a sinner with a capital S
Why is Jesus saying this? It’s a rebuke to the Pharisees standing outside. Christ Jesus for talking to Sinners and Publicans, and eating a meal with them thats too much for them that Jesus would sit with them.
They were the leaders of religion, they were supposed to steer sinners to righteousness. Jesus rebukes them, why is it that you only go to your own kind. Why do you neglect those who live in sin. Don’t you think they need help. Where are you standing far off.
Religion doesn’t care in the destiny of the Lost. They don’t care for the salvation of the Lost. He shows them that he cares for lost men and woman. By saying They that are whole need no Physician. But these are sick, sick with sin and are heading straight to hell. Ive come to treat them. Imagine a doctor that says Im not going to the sick ! No A doctor is come for the sick he doesn’t go to the sick to say Im going to become sick like you, He comes to cure the sick.
Jesus said Matthew 9:13 (KJV) 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Thats one part of the phrase for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. But the next part I will have mercy and not sacrifice. Here are sick sinners heading straight for hell. The Pharisees and Scribes are in the temple offering all the sacrifices doing it all so very correctly. Going through the outward works the right robes the right words. But God says thats not what I want. I would rather have mercy. I would rather see you showing mercy to one another showing kindness to one another than all these sacrifices that don’t please me.
I would rather that you knew me had my love in your hearts. Now what Jesus is saying to the Pharisees; is not to have hearts filled with mercy and Love? Your outward appearance only is meaningless empty and doesn’t help you at all.
Matthew 23:23 (KJV) 23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
A form of outward religion but no power there were plenty of external things but no inward change. No burden for souls. Jesus made it clear He wants mercy and not sacrifice.
Jesus looks at the cold hearted Pharisees, and asks, don’t you think that Matthew needs Mercy, You claim to be my people yet you cast him out.
True Christianity is not just being healed and forgiven of my sin.
What a relief . What a weight lifted. But we don’t stop there. We know we also called to change our whole lifestyle. The way we walk the way we talk what our hands do what our mouths say.
Matthew knew once he followed Jesus He knew there was no turning back. He forsake all. He left his old life, He left his old habits, he left his old grievances, he left his old greedy behaviour. Forsook it all, never to turn back.
I call sinners to repentance. A sincere invitation to the lost, the hopeless the real sinners. They that know they are in need of a saviour the sincere call goes out to them. But then there are those who say Im a member of this church or that church, I already am a member I don’t need this Jesus. Hiding behind the name of a church is very very dangerous. It deafens your ears to the call to repent and believe.
If you know you are sick you will seek a doctor – But if you are like the Pharisees thinking that you are okay because of all your outward expression. Because your actions make you righteous. You will not hear Gods call to salvation. But anyone who realises that their righteousness is a s filthy rags that it’s useless immediately they qualify to receive Gods sincere call.
It’s a call to all sinners to change their direction. It’s a call to have your ruined soul restored, and put on the road to glory.
He calls sinners to repentance, there is no salvation without repentance. What is repentance? Such a change deep in your heart that you turn away from you old life and begin going a new direction.
Matthew understood that Jesus had made him fit for Glory, fit for Heaven. Matthew arose and followed Him.
What will be your answer when Jesus stands before you saying Come Follow me?
When you lay on your bed in the last moments of life on this earth and the Lord says come follow me. Will you say no Lord I cant come now I got a lot to put in order.
There will be no extension. He will say your time is now. This is the appointed time. Or will you be one who say I’ve been waiting Lord. now I shall see you face to face Oh the Glory.
Oh I’m so thankful you have made me fit for Heaven. Im thankful Im a new creation in Christ Jesus. I’m so thankful you took out the stoney heart and put in me a clean heart oh Lord. I was unfit for heaven but you have made me fit.
His blood can make the foulest clean His blood avails from me.
Have you heard God’s call and turned to Him?