I. Matthew Verse 9
A. Who & What He Was
1. Matthew was a tax collector
2. His proper name was Levi. The tribe of Levi was the priestly tribe of Israel
a. Matthew probably grew up in church (Jewish synagogue)
b. He quotes many O.T. scriptures; indicates a church background
3. During this time, the Roman Empire ruled over Israel
a. Rome decided how much tax should be collected from a region
b. The tax collector job was auctioned off to local highest bidder
c. Rome allowed for them to collect extra money as personal income
d. Jewish tax collectors worked for Rome & extorted money from their Jewish brothers
e. They were hated as traitors & thieves
f. Jewish tax collectors- outcasts from society, disqualified as a judge or a witness in court, excommunicated from the synagogue, & in the eyes of the community their disgrace extended to their family.” (Lane, Commentary on Mark)
i. Matthew’s family probably hated what he was doing, & probably rejected him
B. His Decision To Follow Jesus
1. Jesus loved this “outcast”. Jesus is the friend of sinners
a. Matthew’s friends-sinners- harmatolos– especially wicked, devoted to sin
b. In the N.T., it is a term that signifies Gentiles, heathens, non-Jews
c. Matthew so hated by the Jews, that he only had wicked Gentile friends
2. Matthew paid a high personal cost to follow Jesus
a. As long as he kept Rome happy, he was set for life, but he left his job to follow Jesus
b. It was a physically easy job, with the possibility of many years of income
c. In following Jesus, it was unlikely that he would ever get that job back
d. Matthew perhaps made more of a sacrifice than the others.
i. Peter, James and John could go back to fishing
ii. The door of opportunity would probably close for Matthew
3. He left a temporal job, but gained eternal life and unimaginable blessings
a. Could it be that Matthew had rejected the corrupt religious system?
b. In forsaking “church”, he lived for himself to the extreme. “Why not”?
c. But when he met Jesus, he found the truth, and forsook all to follow Him
4. Mark 8:36 What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, & forfeit his soul?”
5. Matthew went on to be the author of this gospel
6. Following Jesus means he eventually impacted the entire world with his testimony
II. The Tax Collectors & Sinners Verses 10-13
A. Who They Were
1. They attended a dinner that Matthew held to honor Jesus (See Luke 5:29)
2. “Sinners”- harmatolos- especially wicked, devoted to sin, probably Gentiles
a. These kinds of people were especially heated by Jewish religious rulers
3. Jesus didn’t drive sinners away, He drew them in
4. Sinners & tax collectors were comfortable around Jesus
5. How was it that Jesus was able to tolerate being in close company with sinners?
a. Jesus was absolutely holy and without sin. (1 Corinthians 5:21)
b. Those that walk in holiness have a hatred of sin; try to avoid it
c. Romans 12:9 Abhor (hate) what is evil. Cling to what is good.
d. Jesus hates what is evil, but He loves the people who commit the evil.
e. Our love for people must be greater than our abhorrence towards sin
f. Jesus didn’t approve of their sins. He came to save them from their sins.
B. The Pharisees’ View Of The Situation
1. The tax collectors & sinners “sat down” w/Jesus. Close, intimate fellowship
2. The Pharisees thought that this was something to be avoided
3. In their minds, godliness meant avoiding sinful people
a. They wanted to know why Jesus would do such a thing
4. As Christians, we do need to guard our hearts about who we become close to
5. But we need to be willing to associate with all people that God would lead us to
C. Jesus’ Explanation Of His Actions
1. Jesus answers w/an obvious proverb. Sick people need a doctor
2. Doctors who don’t want to be around sick people aren’t true doctors
3. Jesus is a physician to those who are sick with sin
a. Spiritual sickness (sin) ends with judgment from God
b. Jesus took our penalty, our judgment
c. He who had no “sickness” willingly took the consequences of our sickness
4. People who realize their spiritual sickness are the ones who will come to Jesus
a. Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
5. Who Jesus came for…
a. Jesus came to call sinners (harmatalos) to repentance
b. Jesus did not come to call the so called “righteous” to repentance
i. The “righteous” didn’t see that they were also spiritually sick
ii. They were mistaken & blinded re. their true spiritual condition
iii. Blindness to your spiritual need is the greatest sickness-it’s eternal
iv. Self-righteous will receive nothing from Jesus; they will never come
v. Those who understand their sickness come to Jesus, but they must realize, they are called to repentance, not “improvement”, etc.
6. See Romans 5:6-8
7. Every human alive is in need of Jesus’ forgiveness and mercy. See 1 John 1:5-10
8. It is pride, not sin that keeps someone from coming to Jesus
D. What The Pharisees Needed To Learn
1. They needed to learn the desires of God’s heart
2. God desires to show mercy (O.T.-kindness, goodness) rather than receive sacrifice (See Hosea 6:6)
a. Mercy N.T.- kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them
b. Those that see themselves as “healthy & able” will bring sacrifices to try to earn right standing with God.
i. They don’t see themselves as hopelessly unable to “heal” themselves
c. Those who understand that they are spiritual sick, and unable to “heal” themselves, they are the ones that will appreciate mercy.
i. They know that they are incapable of “self healing”
ii. They have accepted the fact that they are sick.
iii. They have gotten past the pride of admitting their spiritual sickness
iv. They are glad to be with Jesus, who alone can heal them of their sinfulness.
v. Glad to be in the presence of One who wants to heal them, who came to heal them, who will die to heal them
3. God also desires that we would show mercy to the spiritually sick, not just offer up our sacrifices, church service, Bible studies, financial offerings, etc.
a. The Pharisees were very careful about fulfilling the laws of God
b. They were not merciful to those who were spiritually sick, but would receive Jesus
4. What about you?
a. Are you one who believes that you are not spiritually sick?
b. If you do recognize your sickness, do you think that you can heal yourself?
c. Are you one who recognizes your spiritual sickness, and realizes that you have no power at all to “heal” yourself?
i. Instead, you have chosen to trust only in the mercy & love of God
ii. You happily “dine” with Jesus
iii. You will not be held back by the judgments of the “righteous”
iv. You are happy to invite others to come to Jesus