Many complain that they do not hear from God. They wonder why they do not experience God’s presence. Stop to think, “If Jesus walked among us today, where would He be?” Based upon His actions recorded in the Bible, we know he would be among those who need Him the most.
The World is Filled with Invisible People. We neglect to see them everywhere we go. The homeless or the hitchhiker stationed on the corner. The sad, the upset, the trashy, the poor. There are a lot of people who we choose not to see. But Jesus chose to see people. Jesus LOVED seeing people.
Mark 2:13-17 (NLT) Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to Him. 14 As He walked along, He saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow Me and be My disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed Him.
15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and His disciples to His home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) 16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw Him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked His disciples, “Why does He eat with such scum?”
17 When Jesus heard this, He told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Jesus Loved Sinners. Jesus was a weird Rabbi. Rabbi’s were chosen by their disciples, but Jesus picked his own. He called up people who weren’t even an option for anyone else. In this account, Jesus saw Matthew. Everyone else saw Matthew as a traitor. But Jesus saw Matthew as something else.
Jesus Invited Sinners to Follow Him. “Follow me and be my disciple”. Jesus expected His followers to walk away from something and toward something. Jesus loves me this I know… Right? It’s more like Jesus loves me and away we go! Don’t miss this: Jesus loves sinners and Jesus invites sinners to a new path. There is no discipleship model that allows Matthew to stay at that Tax Table or among his old friends.
Do You Follow Jesus?
Step Away from your “Table”. If Jesus appeared in the middle of your life today, what table would be sitting before you? What provides for you? What do you lean on to get by in this life? That is your table. It was Matthew’s job and career but it was more than that. Matthews “table” guided and limited his life.
There is a lot on your table too. Your version of the American dream. Your hopes. Your needs. Your provision. It’s all right there. Your choices built that table and now Jesus shows up in the middle of your pursuit of happiness and tells you. “Follow me…”
Matthew 16:24 (NLT) Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow Me.
Start His Path. Jesus’ way is completely unique. You see He isn’t asking you to burden your already overwhelmed life with religion. Church attendance, serving, giving, ritual, liturgy, etc, and so on. That stuff isn’t a means to an end. That stuff is the evidence of drastic choice.
Invite Jesus Into Your World
Mark 2:15 (NLT) Later, Levi invited Jesus and His disciples to His home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners.
Many People Followed Jesus from the Fringe. Few connected Jesus to their friends Some would travel to hear him speak or see a miracle. Some would ask him questions. They all wanted something from Him. But Matthew invited Jesus into his world.
Bring Jesus to your World. Hide the Word of God in your heart, but shine the light of Jesus into your world. There is only one way Jesus is gonna get to your world. In your skin. You are his body. Your carry the glory and power of Jesus
2 Corinthians 4:7 (NLT) We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
Give Your Label To Jesus
Mark 2:13-17 (NLT) …“Why does He eat with such scum?”
You are no Longer Bound by that Table (or the nameplate upon it). I used to have a defining title:, Micheal Maynard, Pastor. Matthew’s was Matthew, IRS Agent. The point is that what you’ve done is no longer who you are. You are not bound by that table or that label.
You are no Longer Bound by Expectations. In this world, you are categorized and defined by class, race, status, and so on. But not anymore, you are now a son or a daughter. You are priests, kings/queens. It doesn’t matter how the world judges you or labels you.
You are no Longer Bound by Religion. Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, whatever. You are a Jesus follower. Find someone else who follows Jesus and hold each other up. Encourage each other. Give the WORD to each other. One day all the things you worry about today will seem meaningless.
Galatians 5:1 (NIV) It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
You are free. Be free. Stop waiting on slaves to sin to give you freedom. Just be free, and when you suffer for your freedom, enjoy being free while slaves of darkness endure your joy.
Conclusion: Where Would Jesus Go?
You know what Jesus did with Matthew. Where He took him. Where do you think Jesus wants to take you? If you are ready to enjoy Jesus, He will likely take you among some hurting broken people. He will likely invite them to leave their table too. Their label too.
Doesn’t that sound like fun? Today is about enjoying Jesus among those who need Him