"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.” Matthew 9:9-13
When Jesus called Matthew, the tax-collector, to be one of His followers he bent the minds of his other followers and blew the minds of the religious establishment.
What message was Jesus sending by His choice of Matthew as a disciple?
I want to offer four insights into becoming a follower of Jesus. I will share the first one this morning.
BEING A SINNER DOES NOT DISQUALIFY YOU FROM FOLLOWING JESUS IT IS A PREREQUISITE!
One of the most insidious lies perpetrated by the Evil One is the notion you be "good enough" to come to Jesus.
Jesus, Himself, twice in this portion of Scripture dispels that notion:
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick."
Have you ever thought to yourself when you are ill, "I need to get healthy so I can go and see the doctor?"
Of course not!
You go to the doctor BECAUSE you are ill and you want him to help you get well again.
That's exactly the point Jesus was making when He was rebuked for calling an evil tax-collector to be His follower.
"For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
If you had to be righteous in order to become a follower of Christ there would be no followers of Christ!
Those in this story who THOUGHT they were righteous were the ones who failed to become followers of Christ. The Pharisees and the Sadducees and other religious leaders stalked Jesus and shadowed Jesus but they never became followers of Christ. They became critics but not followers because they not only saw themselves as righteous they saw themselves as MORE righteous than Jesus!
Think of a person in Scripture who became a follower of Christ who wasn't a sinner at the moment they began following Him. Good luck on that project!
I was a sinner when I heard the call of Jesus to follow. So were you!
Aren't you glad that being a sinner doesn't disqualify you from become a follower of Jesus?
Aren't you glad you can bring your spiritual illnesses to the Great Physician?
Aren't you glad Jesus came to call you into His fellowship and out of your sin?