Faith Follows Christ!
Matthew 9: 9-13
Jesus was calling His follows to Follow Me! In so doing, He called the common laborers of Jewish society, such as fishermen, and then He sought after the most hated person in Jewish society at that time, a tax collector, who collected duties and fees like a troll under a bridge. Jesus comes to those who are sick to heal in ways we cannot fathom. He seeks us out, and we sinners become His friends as He offers us fellowship, and the transformation of our sickly selves to healthy, robed in His righteousness.
Matthew responded to Jesus' radical command to leave all and follow Him. He could never return to his job, as he would be viewed as a traitor. For us, as well as for them, it required steadfast faithfulness, obedience, and trust to undertake His path. Matthew actually got up and followed! This man, with so much to lose by the world's standards, left it all. Yet, he gained so much more. Matthew showed great faith by being willing to leave his prosperous position and follow Jesus to a life-from his perspective-of the unsecured and unknown. In reality, there is nothing more secure than following Jesus!
· Jesus saw Matthew, and called him with two simple words, follow me. Two words, when powered by the Spirit, will change a person to the core if he makes the response by his faith. Matthew made such a response, and showed great faith to permanently leave his prestigious job, and with overwhelming gratitude, throw a big feast in Jesus' honor so his friends could see for themselves this most incredible God-Man.
· The Pharisees were puzzled by Jesus' excellent teaching, and by His bizarre behavior of hanging out with sinners. They did not realize He was the Great Physician, who came to heal, and that one cannot heal another without seeing and touching that person.
· Since this is the Gospel that bears his name, and he compiled it without any superfluous words to describe himself, we see that he was also a humble man and did not want to draw attention to himself. He rather pointed to the One who deserved the attention. How many authors do you know who would do that?
· Jesus makes it clear that the sinners are indeed sick (Psalm 14:1-3; Mark 7:1-8), and need redemption, but ignoring them does them no good. The healthy Pharisees (Luke 18:9-14), refers to the health in their own minds, not in reality. Jesus is breaking down the "works-earned righteousness" philosophy of the Pharisees, and is giving us a glimpse of Grace (Psalm 51:1-18; Luke 19:9; Rom. 3:22).
· I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. This is a retort-that a self-righteous person will not realize their need for salvation, because they are too full of themselves to see a need. However, an admitted sinner will see his depravity when the Spirit points it out.
Follow me are two very powerful words, yet are so easily blocked when we are too puffed up with ourselves. If you think you do not need a doctor, you are very mistaken, for you would be the sickest of all. Jesus did not come for the righteous because there are no righteous people. There are only those who think they are. Their invitation to join His Kingdom will never be opened and read, because there is too much of them in the way; the words cannot be seen. The faith to respond will never grow in the shallow soil of pride.
1. What is it about Jesus' words, Follow me, that cause some to respond with passion, and others to flee in anger?
2. What do you think motivated Mathew to show great faith by permanently leaving his prestigious job?
3. What is in your life that requires steadfast faithfulness, obedience, and trust, for you to undertake His path? How will this affect your faith?
4. What is in the way of your responding to the Follow Me call?
5. Matthew actually got up and followed! What is the cause and motivation for you to get up and follow Christ?
6. What do you see as important in your life that you just could not lose? Compare your list by the world's standards versus God's.
7. Do you really believe, with confidence, that there is nothing more secure than following Jesus? What does secure mean to you, considering eternity versus the material?
8. Have you ever made a big response of gratitude for what Jesus has done for you? If so, what was it? If not, what could it be?
9. Matthew saw what he was to gain! What did you see when you came to Christ?
10. Why do you suppose that most people only see what they will leave behind? How does this impede your faith?
11. How can you be the influencers of godly character to those around you who do as they see fit, without your also doing as you see fit? What about in your church?
© 1992, 2001, completely updated and revised 2004 R.J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word http://www.intothyword.org/