St. Luke's Church Faribault
- prayer1 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” 4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 Then the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.Coming off the heels of a revelation of who Jesus is Matthew now shows us that the Lord Jesus while powerful enough to calm a storm, and and drive out demons, He is also very accessible to people.It is fundamental to being a human to know there is a God,(Romans 1:21)-- but what effect does that have in my life. Is the divine really reachable here in the mundane?What Matthew shows us in Chapter 9 is the transcendent view of Jesus as the one who calms the storm, and casts out demons is not all there is, there is more to Jesus. He is also immanent or present. Reaching out to us in life.Although Jesus has the power to end a hurricane, and judge the the underworld, he still cares about the guy who can’t walk and is lying on a mat. Not only does He care about the external that but he also cares about the inner man.The part of man that we can’t see---the soul-the heart-the thoughts. Jesus sees those things, and Jesus cares, and not only that- Jesus the Holy Mighty Jesus heals that too-He forgives.Now, as we approach the text we may have one of three hurdles to overcome to apply the text to our lives. Any one of these thoughts can remove us from the text. If we think this way, the story stays on the page, Jesus remains a story in a book, and we walk out of here the same as we came in.That is not the goal. That is not what we want. We want to walk out of here, better than we were don’t we? We want to be changed. We want to have a faith experience don’t we? Well, let me help you avoid those 3 obstacles.The text today will help you overcome these three obstacles. the first is what I will call the I’m not good enough for Jesus hurdle.slideHurdles to OvercomeI’m not Good enough (either one-time or everyday)Jesus is far awayI’m a pretty good personI will first describe each of these, then show you how Matthew shatters these walls.I’m not good enoughSometimes we feel that there are things we have done, or expectations we have not met and as result Jesus is inaccessible for us. Maybe, we feel we have once done something too awful for Jesus to forgive. Or we believe that Jesus os for the Holy which in my everyday life I am not. I don’t get up and read my bible, I like my beer every weekend, so this Jesus stuff is not for me. He is just for the really Holy guys, that wear robes, that go to the mission fields.Perhaps you don’t have that one but maybe you have obstacle #2Jesus is far away, both in time and space. Jesus is out there somewhere. He lived with the paralyzed guy, but he is not here now. He is powerful, yes, up in heaven yes, but I don’t see him now.My approach to Jesus is I try and do what is right, but I sometimes do what is wrong. Someday, when I die I will be judged and I’ll cross my fingers and hope I did more right than wrong, If I have more in the plus column, I go up, more in the minus column I go down. But Jesus is not here now, in my life.And the last obstacle is #3.3. I’m a pretty good person.I’m generally a good person. I never have done anything really bad, I’m not like the guy down the street doing drugs, I have not killed anyone, I pay my my taxes, love my spouse go to work, no problem-no need.This text helps us get over all three of those hurdles. Let’s read today’s text-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. 10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”slide9 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.Matthew is the writer of this gospel. is getting personal. Now he is telling about his encounter with Jesus.Matthew was a tax collector. Perhaps you know this, but I’ll go over briefly-Tax collectors would have a booth, often at strategic points of travel or trade. The tax collectors would collect the extremely high taxes for the Roman government.Now, remember, Rome is the occupying government. The land actually belongs to the jewish people. It was deeded to them by God, as their inheritance after they were rescued from slavery in Egypt.But now, Rome is occupying. They have Roman laws, they brought in Roman governors, and soldiers to enforce those laws, and they built roads and infrastructure. Of course this massive Roman government comes with a price, a very high price. It costs a lot to fund an Empire as large as the Roman empire, remember Rome is really far away, it is a huge empire.So Rome has to collect taxes. And, they higher locals to collect those taxes.We hate taxes now, and they hated taxes then.Now, why would anyone in that situation want to work for the Romans, collecting taxes? They would be hated by their countrymen, their relatives, and friends, and even their own family.Well, money. It was very lucrative. They wold actually purchase the rights to collect taxes for an area, and when they collected taxes they could take a cut off the top for their pay. The Romans did not really care how much they got as long as Rome got their share, so often tax collectors would charge higher rates.You can just imagine how that went over. People hated them, they despised tax collectors. Tax collectors were left to hang out with other dregs of society like prostitutes and thieves, and other tax collectors and swindlers. You get the picture right?Now, Matthew must have heard about what was going on. Surely he had seen the extra traffic, the rise in sick people travelling around, and has likely heard all the gossip going around about this Jesus character.He probably has been giving Jesus some thought, when Jesus arrives at his booth. Matthew does not record a lot about the exchange, simply that Jesus says to Him-Follow me.The sense of this is to follow-as in behavior, like Do as I do. Behave as I behave. Act as I act. Jesus comes up to Him, and says-be like me.Now this the obvious situation. Matthew is not acting as Jesus acts. Matthew is about as far from acting as Jesus acts as one can get. He is a traitor, He is a thief, He hangs with the wrong people. He knows this. We all know when we are doing wrong.So, he must have had some internal struggle with this knowing, nagging that daily he was not following God. And now, here is the son of God, standing in front of him, saying follow me.The same Jesus that calmed the storm, the same Jesus that chased out the demons, is saying act as I act.Does Jesus mean to Act as He acts by going out to calm the storm? I thought only God can calm the storm, absolutely, so Jesus must mean something else. Jesus must mean something from say Micah. the prophet Micah talked a lot about the Jewish people not following God, and God says do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. That is what Jesus means.Then Matthew writes, that He got up and followed Jesus. Again, he got up, and followed him. He rose to his feet- and left that which he was doing - followed after Jesus. He changed what he was doing, and is now doing as Jesus does.This is the Biblical meaning of repentence. We say that you must have repentance and faith. Faith means a trust and repentence means to turn from thing and toward another. It means a change of direction a change of heart. And that is what matthew did.He got up and left his tax business behind.This was permanent you do not leave a tax collection job and come back, there would have been any number of people gladly jumping for the opportunity.You know, a few verses back there was another guy that got up and walked. A paralyzed man. His sins had been forgiven. He encountered Jesus and then got up and walked. Sin has way of paralyzing us doesn’t it?Sin causes us to remain in one position, I can’t possibly give this up, I have bills to pay. I can’t go to Jesus, I might have to give up…what?... going to the bar? All my friends are at the bar. I can’t possibly move this way....Sin causes a paralysis that prevents us from following Jesus. Sin paralyzes churches. If a church is focused on anything other than it becomes paralyzed and is unable to move.How long was Matthew stuck at that Tax collector booth. Imagine the guilt the shame day after day weighing him down. Do you suppose his back hurt, his neck from the stress of carrying that burden? The thoughts, I can’t leave-what will happen to me? I can’t turn from this, I’m in too deep.Then Jesus the transcendent Jesus who chased way demons-is at his booth-about to chase away his sin-follow me-Matthew’s heart racing, can I do it? Can I leave all of this? Then... I can! I am going to do it I can do this A wave comes over him and he gets up. It is like the paralysis is gone, and for the first time in forever, he is walking-walking on his own.That is Obstacle #1. I’m not good enough- Matthew was not good enough-Matthew was a crook- If Jesus can call Matthew -He can call you. He can end your sin paralysis. There is nothing too bad, for you one timers, and he can break your for you every day paralysis.Let’s move on.10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.When you are freed from your paralysis what do you do? You party right? I mean this is a good day for Matthew a retirement party of sorts. I’m outta here! So long-New life for me! A real take this job and shove it moment .So he throws this dinner and Jesus is there. The problem is that when you spend your whole life in the bar all your friends are drunks right?It is that way for Matthew. He was no good, and his friends are no good. They are people also paralyzed by sin.There is nothing too look down on them, they are just everyone else. We all got something. Some hide it more than others, but we all got something. Some booze, some porn, some gossip, some steal, some hate-we all got something? what is your something? They all got something, and here is the thing folks....... Here is what I want you know-Even though they all got something.....Jesus is at the table. Jesus is at the table with them, with their things. He is right there in the middle of that.think about it-Matthew would have had to tell his story-He would have had to right? I mean He just quit the equivalent of a 6 figure salary in a world of 4 figure guys, the question would have been what’s up?And Matthew would have said, hey-have you met Jesus. He helped me walk away from the sin that was paralyzing me, the sin that was keeping me at that stupid booth, preventing me from Having life, and having it to the full.He helped to drink from the water of life, he satisfied my hunger for righteousness, he is helping me to learn to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with my God.Condemnation? Judgement? Not no not yet-It is not time-Now it is time to answer the call of the the King. Follow me.So there they sit, hearing the story, and smashing obstacle #2- Remember obstacle two?Jesus is too far away. He is not- He is right there- Repentence is not someday it is now- You don’t clean up then come to Jesus you come to Jesus to clean up-The call is now-He is at the table, among the sinners, He is calling you to follow Him and act as He acts.11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”Then Pharisees see who Jesus is eating with and they are very upset. Why is hanging out with those people? This really blew their minds. Their idea of God, is law keeping. They are like most of us today in that respect.Most people think of God and the Bible as set of rules- right and wrong. Follow the rules get the prize-don’t follow the rules, get burned.We all think that way, and these guys the Pharisees were extremely good at following rules- so good, that they had had 613 of them. They actually added to them, in order to keep them selves from accidentally violating the rules they did have.For example, they would strain their water through a cloth, to avoid accidentally swallowing a bug, not because they didn’t like bugs in their drinks, but they were afraid that if an insect got in their drinking water they would be violating a dietary law.So Jesus just blows their mind. Here is this guy, that is from God—Question mark? Supposedly.... but he is not in church-church guys go to church-they don’t hang out with the bad guys, they keep away from that-That would make them unclean…Might as well go touch a leper-oh wait-Jesus did that too...So anyway Jesus is really irritating these guys, and they ask a valid question Why? In fact I kinda want to know too? Don’t you? Why is Jesus hanging with the no goods?12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.The healthy don’t need a doctor. He makes the metaphorical connection of sin to illness. Sin Jesus says is like being sick, you need to get better. If you are well you don’t need a doctor.The sin sick need Jesus, the paralyzed the outcast, the unclean and untouchable, the sinners. The ones that KNOW that they have a need. the ones that NEED Jesus are the ones that get a seat the table so come, come all you who are weighed down by guilt, heavy burdened by sin and shame and have a seat-have seat with Jesus, Come you sin sick sinners and receive the healing of his grace, come you who are poor in spirit and come you who are weak weak and needy, eat the bread of life.But what about the good people-the healthy ones? Don’t they get a seat at the table? Well... Listen to what Jesus to them.13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”You are not ready yet you self righteous. You are not yet in a right heart place where you need Jesus so Jesus says go and check yoself. to put it today’s terms. Go and look in the mirror.If you think the that that you don’t need Jesus-go and find out what this means....I desire mercy and not sacrifice. What does that mean?It means this-It is not about the rules, it is about the heart. You can follow the rules and your heart can be somewhere else entirely. You can follow all the rules and walk right away from God at the same time. It is not about the rules-It is about the heart. Jesus wants us to Love Him. He wants us to love Him first, and then follow the rules, there is a huge difference.Look-Jesus quotes from the Book of Hosea there. Hosea 6.6, Rev Elliott read it for us this morning. I don’t know if you remember but the the text went like this starting at verse 44 “What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears.God is talking to the nation of Israel, and he is saying what can I do with you? Your love is like dew it disappears. God is saying that their love fickle it is not steadfast or like a rock. He is saying that when the going gets tough-you check out-you evaporate-you are gone-When things are good, when the blessings are pouring in and the sun is shining, oh you are all over-but love is tough-it is forever-it is in sickness and in health-in plenty and in want. And as soon as you are in want- you are outta here.You see the sinners, and you you are like, ehhh we don’t want that kind… that is not for me- If you are acting as Jesus acts you would love the sinners.5 Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets, I killed you with the words of my mouth— then my judgments go forth like the sun.That doesn’t sound good-God is reaping judgement on them, Why because they don’t follow the rules-nope-they were good at that- because they do not love him. And by the way-notice-God uses His words-that is word of God to judge them...And if you love him---you would know what he wants---What does God want..6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.You can do all the good works you want-You can bring sacrifices and offerings, you can give and give till it hurts- but that is not what I want-I want mercy, i want you have mercy on the poor and outcast the sinner - I want you to act as I act- I want you to follow me as I love mercy and justice and sinners, they need justice and mercy. They need Jesus.You too need Jesus you just don’t think you do. Obstacle #3 If you think you are good enough---You are not- For all have sinned and fall short of the God, for all like sheep have gone astrayBut Jesus is here and He calls the sinners, He calls everyone to follow Him, answer His call.In Jesus name.
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