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When you look at the Gospels here are a few of the analogies that Jesus uses:
- Father/ child
- Vine/ branch
- Shepherd/ sheep
Matthew 9:9 “As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.”
- Despised by Jews (Traitors)
- Job was up for auction.
- They take their area and hire out others to collect the taxes
- They give to Rome what they ask and the tax collector keeps the rest.
Matthew 9:10 “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.”
Who was at Matthew’s house?
- Other tax collectors
Jesus was extraordinarily comfortable with people who weren’t anything like him
- God loves the anti-religious
- God loves the sinners and the outcasts
- God makes these people feel cared for
Here is how we often come to accept people:
- They look like us
- They act like us
- We accept them
It should be:
- We accept them
- They begin to act like us
- They begin to look like us
What were Jesus’ requirements of Matthew?
- To follow him
Matthew 9:11 “When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Matthew 9:12 “On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
Those who recognize they are broken and sick are perfect candidates to follow Jesus.
Matthew 9:13 “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus reaches out to people who believe wrong and act wrong.
John 16: 29-31 “Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”
31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied.
There is a difference between following and trying to do the right thing
- One has the focus on the person
- The other has the focus on the rules
IF WE START FOLLOWING JESUS AND LOVING HIM WE WILL BEGIN TO CHANGE
Four things about following:
- Being a sinner is a prerequisite and not discouraged
- Being an unbeliever does not disqualify you from church
- An invitation to follow is about having a relationship
- Following forces me to focus on where I am rather than where you are not.
When we stop following…
- We begin evaluating
- We become critical and judgmental