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July 9, 2006

Matthew Levi the Disciple

Filed under: Bible Studies,Old & New Testament — Adam Osborne @ 4:19 pm

 

 

 

 

Matthew Levi – Finding What’s Valuable*

Central bible truth: Following Christ changes everything.

Focal passage: Matt 9:9-13 (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. 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.”

The bible warns of the dangers of loving money. We often turn on the news and see that a CEO has stolen from his company or a greedy person has been caught in a scandal. Truett Cathy is different. It seems that he has made himself and his company, <Chick-Fil-A>, values something else. Sure, he understands business and money, but keeps it in perspective to his relationships to God, family, and others.

The bible warns of the dangers of loving money. We often turn on the news and see that a CEO has stolen from his company or a greedy person has been caught in a scandal. Truett Cathy is different. It seems that he has made himself and his company, <Chick-Fil-A>, values something else. Sure, he understands business and money, but keeps it in perspective to his relationships to God, family, and others.1 Tim 6:10 (NIV) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Truett Cathy is the founder and chairman of Chick-Fil-A, Inc. His company is one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. having 1000+ locations in 35+ states. You would think that Mr. Cathy is your average rich CEO but he is not.

Aside from refusing to open his stores on Sunday, he is an extremely generous Christian man. He has given away millions in scholorships, runs 11 foster care homes in the U.S and Brazil, runs Camp WinShape for boys and girls, and has taught a Sunday school class to 13-year olds for over 40 years.

Truett Cathy knows what is of value. It is not money or power, it is relationships with God and others. Matthew Levi, a tax collector that would become one of the disciples, did not understand what was valuable. To understand Matthew, you must first understand tax collectors in the days of Jesus.

Tax collectors: 

     

     

  • Worked for the Roman government even though they were Jews. Rome preferred to have local people working, so they could know who had money. They betrayed the Jews for the Romans.
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  • They made money by getting to keep a percentage of what they took in. Most however, cheated people by taxing them more than they should and keeping the difference.
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  • Most tax collectors were intelligent to be able to keep up with money and wealthy from their lifestyle of cheating. (See Luke 19:8 below)
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  • In scripture they are mentioned along with drunkards, robbers, prostitutes and sinners, showing how they were viewed.

 

So….in summary…..Matthew did NOT understand value. He thought that money was valuable and sacrificed many things to get it. However, Jesus taught Matthew what was truly valuable.

POINT: Matthew was giving up a good lifestyle to follow a man with no home. He willingly gave up a comfortable life for a life of hard work, little earthly reward, and possible martyrdom.

POINT: Actually, Matthew gave up more than most of the other disciples did. He gave up riches. But, if you think about it, he gave up a lot of earthly things that would not last forever and replaced them with things that would last forever.

QUESTION to ponder: When Jesus “chose” Matthew, was their a “motive” behind his appointment to become a disciple? If so, in what way?

(possible answers: Jesus was making a statement that even the most sinful person can find eternal salvation through Christ….and also on the same side the pride and arrogance of the elite Jews, Scribes and Pharisees, they could not get in to heaven by obeying the Law…it still takes Jesus.)

 


 

Matthew found the value of a relationship

 

v9. 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.a) He counted the cost.

b) He left his booth.

b) He left his booth.After examining what Christ had to offer, he counted the cost. He determined that Christ was more valuable than a wealthy lifestyle.

Something to think about…. Matthew “got up and followed him”…. a verb, an “action” statement. Following Christ sometimes requires that we have to “get up” and take action.

QUESTION:

 

     

     

  • Have any of you ever had the opportunity to have great financial gain but chose a different “path” instead? Please explain….discuss…..
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  • What do you think, was this was a hard decision for Matthew?
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  • OR…do you maybe think that Matthew was relieved? After all, don’t you think it was “hard” to be a tax collector? They were traitors, Jewish people working for the Romans, taxing other Jews!

 

v10. Matthew found the value of relationships with others.

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.Matthew threw a party so others could meet Jesus. He stopped caring only about himself and began caring about others.

Also, notice that Matthew immediately started sharing his faith. He was no longer ashamed, he had good news and wanted to share it with other “sinners.”

Also, notice that Matthew immediately started sharing his faith. He was no longer ashamed, he had good news and wanted to share it with other “sinners.”What do you think of this quote by Andy Low: “Unless you are prepared to give up something valuable, you will never be able to truly change at all; because you’ll be forever in the control of things you can’t give up.” (discuss)

Why is it that so many people chose things that are “here and now” rather things that are “eternal”? (discuss)

More Matthew Trivia

 

     

     

  • After Christ’s ascension, Matthew spent several years in Palestine. It was during this time that he wrote the Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew.
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  • It is INTERESTING that God used a tax collector and former Jewish traitor to write this Gospel for the Jews.
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  • After this he went south to Egypt and Ethiopia to teach and preach.
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  • He was later killed from a spear by King Hircanus.

 

Verse 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.“Cheating” by tax collectors, this was common:

Luke 19:8 (NIV) But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Verse 10: Tax collectors used oppressive methods to collect their money. So much so, that the people hated them. For this reason, the Pharisees thought it was out of the ordinary that Jesus would go to a feast with tax collectors. Notice that not only Jesus went to this feast, but other disciples that were already following him.Verse 11: 10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.The Pharisees were a religious group of professional teachers that believed that righteousness came from following the letter of the law. They fasted every two of five days. They even sewed Old Testament passages into the hem of their garments. When they saw Jesus at this feast with tax collectors and sinners, they wanted to call attention to Jesus’ wrongdoings.

Verses 12-13: 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.”

Jesus answered them with a profound thought: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor.” Christ never lost focus of his mission: to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10 (NIV) For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”)Jesus further challenged these teachers to go and learn what Hosea 6:6 meant (‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’) The bible teaches that God loves to show us mercy and forgiveness:

Jesus further challenged these teachers to go and learn what Hosea 6:6 meant The bible teaches that God loves to show us mercy and forgiveness: 

     

  • Micah 7:18 (NIV) Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. 

     

       

       

         

         

           

           

        • 1 John 1:9 (NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 

           

           

          Another lesson is that we see an example of Christ treating different people in different ways. He showed mercy to the “sinners” at the party, while scolding the self-righteous, prideful Pharisees. The Pharisees thought they were blameless and therefore did not need mercy from God. Jesus taught that we all need His mercy and grace.

    *Original text by The Dirty Dozen – A character study on the twelve disciples. Other comments added by the author.

     

     

    The bible warns of the dangers of loving money. We often turn on the news and see that a CEO has stolen from his company or a greedy person has been caught in a scandal. Truett Cathy is different. It seems that he has made himself and his company, <Chick-Fil-A>, values something else. Sure, he understands business and money, but keeps it in perspective to his relationships to God, family, and others. b) He left his booth. Also, notice that Matthew immediately started sharing his faith. He was no longer ashamed, he had good news and wanted to share it with other “sinners.” Jesus answered them with a profound thought: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor.” Christ never lost focus of his mission: to seek and save the lostJesus further challenged these teachers to go and learn what Hosea 6:6 meant The bible teaches that God loves to show us mercy and forgiveness:

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