Matthew 9:9-17 (NIV)
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.
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Jesus taught some of his most profound, groundbreaking, and influential sermons while sitting around a dinner table with sinners and saints alike. In this series, we will pull up a chair to those sacred meals and listen in on those life-changing truths. In our first week, we crash Matthew’s party and witness how this once-despised-and-corrupt-tax-collector-turned-ardent-follower-of-Jesus hosted a meal that blew apart all of his guests preconceptions and misconceptions about religion, faith, and true humility.
Despite the honor of writing one of the Gospels and the privilege of spending an immense amount of time in close proximity to Jesus while he was here on earth, Matthew never takes the limelight away from where it is intended to shine. Zach paints a picture of the complete and total humility present in Matthew’s life and speculates that perhaps Matthew was so humble because he saw the true miracle of his personal salvation. Each and every soul that Jesus claims is a miracle in and of itself, including your own. Can you see the miracle in your personal story of salvation? Take a moment to reflect upon the story of your salvation and ask God to infuse you with Matthew’s humility and grace as you interact with others who have not found their miracle yet.
We learn that being called to Jesus means letting go of our own priorities and control. In light of our calling, Jesus moves from being on the periphery of our lives to being in the center. What priorities is Jesus asking you to shift right now? What areas of your life is he asking for less of you and your control, and more of him and his calling?
In Matthew 9:17, Jesus uses the illustration of bursting wineskins to demonstrate his bringing a new way of life and faith to his people. What wineskins is Jesus asking you to burst in your life? What preconceptions about your faith is he asking you to blow up?
The Pharisees are particularly disturbed by Jesus’ habit of dining with sinners. In Matthew 9:10-13 Jesus blows up their idea of what it means to live a holy life. What person in your life or group of people sit on the wrong side of holy to you? Who is Jesus asking you to infect with your cleanliness? What holds you back from dining with those sinners?
Zach reminds us “religion creates a fragile sense of holiness and self-worth”. When we place ourselves in a religion that constantly demands us to try harder and be better, we are missing the simplistic beauty of the Gospel: there is nothing we can do to make Jesus love us less or more than he already does. Where do you find yourself constantly trying harder rather than surrendering to God’s grace and mercy for you? Ask God for the faith to believe he is crazy about you, no matter the shortcomings that you feel knocking on your door.
Zach begins his message with reminding us that God’s mission for our lives is explosive. Covenantal love changes us. How have you been changed by Jesus’ covenantal love for you? What explosive mission is his love calling you to? Ask those you love and your community to join you in asking for the boldness and faith to allow the mission God has for you to explode your life and rescue lost souls.
Easter is coming, ya’ll! Zach challenged us at the end of this week’s teaching to remember the moment in which Jesus exploded into our lives and to reflect on the miracle that salvation brought. Take some time this week to live in that moment and ask God who he might be asking you to invite this Easter. And then go for it; invite! We have several Easter services across all three of our campuses this Easter and we would love for you and your guests to join us.