- Sermon Notes
No Turning Back
Intro: Get up and go!
I have heard it said many times that, an “opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity.”In Matthew chapter 9, we are
introduced to the author of this Gospel, Matthew, who is given the opportunity of his lifetime, the call to follow Jesus. While it was an incomparable
opportunity, it would require him to leave the life he was living and get to the point of no turning back, in order to follow Jesus fully.
Read: Matthew 9:9-13
- For various reason, many would question Jesus’ calling of a tax collector. It would open the door for much scrutiny. The decision to follow Jesus would,
no doubt, radically change Matthews life, and at the same time, radically define Jesus’ ministry.
- His mission, to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10, becomes concretely defines in the lives of those who don’t know Him as leave the life
they once lived.
I.Answer the Call to Follow Jesus
Matthew 9:9, As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.
- From Luke chapter 5 and Mark 2, we understand that Matthew was also called by the name Levi. It was not uncommon to be known by more than one name
in that time. We understand Peter was also known as Simon, Thomas was also called Didymus.
- It may be that Jesus renamed Levi as Matthew at some point, which means “gift of Yahweh,” Yahweh being the distinct name for the One true God.
- As Jesus comes to Matthew, what we know about Matthew is summed up in the description of his location, “sitting in the tax collector’s booth.”
- Matthew was a tax collector who, though Jewish, served Rome against his own people by collecting taxes.
- Tax collectors were hated by Jews and were thought of as traitors. Their loyalties were centered on Rome, and their minds on making as much money as
possible at the expense of other Jews.
- The Roman tax system was such that a man like Matthew could purchase by way of bidding on a franchise or contract, which would entitle him to tax people
in his region.
- The local tax collector was required to collect a specified amount of taxes for Rome and allowed anything collected beyond that figure to be kept as
- The amount of taxation was essentially unlimited and was enforced by the Roman military, making the local tax collector exceptionally wealthy and powerful,
but extremely hated.
Luke 3:12, And some tax collectors also came to be baptized [by John], and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.”
- When a Jew became a tax collector he was regarded as an outcast from society, disqualified as a judge or witness in a court session, excommunicated
from the synagogue, labeled a traitor, and from a community standpoint, looked at as a disgrace to their family.
- It is while sitting in the tax collector’s booth, which to his fellow Jews would rank him amongst the worst of sinners, that Jesus finds Matthew.
- Upon approaching him, Jesus says two powerful words, “Follow Me!”
Luke 5:28, And he left everything behind, then got up and began to follow Him.
- We don’t know if he had ever heard Jesus preach prior to this, or whether he had witnessed one of Jesus’ miracles, however, Matthew, whose tax booth
was along the sea (Mark 2:13-14), would have been acquainted with Jesus’ ministry.
Matthew 9:9, …And he got up and followed Him.
- Hearing the simple call from Jesus to follow Him, was all Matthew needed to hear in order to turn his back on everyone he once was and possessed.
- There is a great deal included in the phrase “he got up and followed.”
- As an agent of Rome, he knew that once he left his position, he would not be able to return to it. He knew the cost and willingly paid it.
- It seems Matthew made the greatest sacrifice of material possessions and position before Rome, yet he makes no mention of it.
- There is a contrast between the way in which he wrote about his decision to follow and that of Luke who make sure we know that Matthew “got up and
Philippians 3:7, But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
- When it comes to following Jesus, there is much to leave behind. There is a way we have been identified by others, perhaps ways in which we have self-identified,
proclamations about who we are based upon what we have been.
Illus. That’s not who I am.
- Everything changes as you begin to leave your old identity behind, and find your identity in Christ.
Colossians 3:1-3, Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Ephesians 5:8, For you were formerly in darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.
- Answer the call to following Jesus and find your life in Him.
- As you proceed forward…
A.Welcome Him into your world
Matthew 9:10, Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples.
- After answering the call, Matthew put together a large banquet at his house. He invited a large crowd of tax collectors and sinners, in order to dine
and recline with Jesus (Luke 5:29-30).
- Tax collectors from neighboring communities and sinners who had associated with Matthew were invited to meet the One who changed Matthew.
- Surely, those at this banquet were those Jesus could not reach in the synagogues: they were the excommunicated, those labeled by the Pharisees as wicked
and outside of the will of God.
- According to the Pharisees, contact with the type of people invited to Matthew’s banquet, would make a Jew unclean. And to sit and eat with such people
was particularly outrageous.
- In addition to the tax collectors and sinners, Jesus brought His followers along.
- This “Matthew party” illustrates the commission Jesus points His follower to, even today.
Mark 16:15, Go into all the world and preach the gospel. (good news).
- Matthew’s life had changed, and he wanted all to know the One who changed him.
- He would certainly go into all the world, and he started with his world.
Romans 10:13-15, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
- Not much is known about what those in the room thought of Jesus after He spend time with them at this banquet, but what we do know is that Jesus was
willing to go to the place Matthew invited Him.
- And Jesus is willing to go with you as well, as you proceed to bring those together who don’t know Him, for the very purpose of introduction.
- How will they know if they haven’t heard?
Illus. What are you up to this weekend?
- In speaking of His mission, Jesus said He “came to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
- Keep Jesus on welcome list in your world. Bring Him with you in the places you go and amongst the people you know.
- How often does the Gospel get compromised in our lives by failure to express it?
A.Remember Why He came
- Jesus was willing to associate with all who Matthew invited. It is probably this banquet that initially brought about a reputation Jesus had as “friend
Matthew 9:11-13, When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
- As Jesus overhears the self-righteous Pharisees asking the disciples why He was eating with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus reminds them of the reason
why He came.
- Jesus makes it clear that a physician’s waiting room is filled with those who are sick.
- The Pharisees were like doctors who wanted to avoid all sick people. Sure, they wished people would become healthy, but not at the risk of being around
- Jesus then quotes Hosea 6:6 and tells the Pharisees to “go and learn what it means.”
- The Pharisees thought they knew Scripture perfectly, but as a Rabbi would often tell a student who did not understand, Jesus tells them to “go and
- Go and learn that it is not about the surface, but about a righteousness that surpassed that of the Pharisees (Mt. 5:20). About the mercy and compassion
given to the “poor in spirit,” those who do not have a righteousness of their own, but recognize their need.
- Why was Jesus there? He was there because it is why He came, not to judge, but to save (John 3:17).
Romans 3:24, All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Him. Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus
and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when
Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire
compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”