Skip to content

The Competing Calls – Matthew 9:9-13


Matthew Follows Jesus

Text: Hosea 6:6, Matthew 9:9-13.
When Matthew heard the voice of Christ calling him, there was not just one call – by necessity there must have been a competing call, an urge to put himself first, and to remain in his well paid job, with the comfort and security that brought him every day. Let’s take the time to analyse those two competing calls.

1. The Call of Selfish Comfort! And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom:
It was the call of money and power and position. Now, to be fair, we don’t know how strong that earthly call upon Matthew actually was, but there certainly was a great cost in following Christ, and that is a cost which is common to all those who hear the call of Christ to follow him. Luke 14:27-33. Let’s see what Matthew would have to leave behind to follow Jesus:

  1. His money. Matthew was…
    1. A Tax Collector. Matthew was a tax collector, and would have been a wealthy man. He worked on a commission basis. The Roman authorities wanted to lift their taxes from the people as easily, and as accurately as possible, and the easiest way to do that was to use locals as agents. And there were plenty of taxes for Matthew to lift. And then there were the bribes… Some wealthy businessmen might just decide to pay a little back-hander, so that Matthew would turn a blind eye to how many carts he owned, or how much corn was growing in his field… Lots of cash to be made there.
    2. A Hardened Traitor! This gives us further insight into Matthew’s character. To enforce the Roman decrees, would require a man who was hardened to the cries of the poor, a man who was pitiless and merciless. Matthew was also someone who was aiding the oppressors of the people, and who was making money off the backs of the ordinary people. And religiously, he was totally unacceptable to the Jews, for to a Jew, only God was Sovereign, and Caesar had no right whatsoever to be living taxes upon God’s people. To a Jew, a traitorous tax collector was among the worst of sinners, no better than a robber or a murderer.
  2. His security. Despite his unpopularity Matthew had a job, had a home, had food and friends, and in ancient Judaism, that was a very good lifestyle indeed and he would have had ordinary, legitimate tugs upon his life too, the need to provide for his family, and his need to work.

These were the calls on Matthew’s life that would have competed with the call of Christ. Some of them legitimate some of them just plain selfish human lust for money and power. Compare those calls with…

2. The Call of the Saving Christ!
Jesus came to where Matthew was sitting at the tax booth and said, ‘follow me.’ It was a simple enough call. I wonder though had Matthew’s heart already been softened and prepared for that call by the work of the Holy Spirit? See:-

  1. The pattern of the call. and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
    1. How he calls us. We hear the voice of God in the WORD of God. It is through the Bible that Christ calls sinners and speaks to His people. So he speaks to Matthew.
    2. How he claims us! He has claims over us, he created us, and he gave his life for us and he calls us to lay down our lives, and take up our cross and to follow him. Follow me!
    3. How he converts us! His remark and his challenge was to Matthew and Matthew alone. There is a specific saving call to those who are his, and it is a call to which they alone will respond, on hearing that call, that saving call, specifically to him, Matthew responds immediately, and he leaves everything he has and arises and follows Jesus, there is no hesitation, and no delay.
  2. The people of the call. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
    1. The people Jesus calls. SINNERS. It seems that after Matthew’s call, he organised a meal for Jesus at his own home. Luke 5:28 That meal was attended by many others too, most of them tax collectors and sinners!
    2. The people Jesus does not call. SELF-RELIANT PEOPLE WHO RELY ON THEIR OWN PERCEIVED GOODNESS. The so-called ‘righteous;’ among whom were the Pharisees. Who were these ‘Pharisees?’ They were part of a false cult who believed that they could be right with God and be in heaven through their own good works, through keeping the law. Jesus did not come to save people who thought they were ok without him!
  3. The purpose of the call. 12But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Sinners need:-
    1. Healing! Jesus likens his relationship with sinners as like a doctor and his patients. What use would a hospital be if it only for people who didn’t think they were sick! It is sick people who call for a doctor, it is sinners who cry out for a saviour!
    2. Mercy! The Pharisees claimed to be the teachers of the law! They should have known what the Lord requires of those who claim to be his. So Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6. Sinners do not need our condemnation as much as they need our pity and our prayers. In fact Jesus was telling the Pharisees that for all their religious ‘perfections’ – to have all their self righteous religion and to have no love for sinners is not to please God in any way. He tells them to ‘Go and learn’.
    3. Repentant hearts! Jesus had come to call sinners to repentance. That is their greatest need of all. To turn from their sins and to turn to Christ.© Bob McEvoy


At Ballymacashon we treasure our Covenant Children, and rather than send them off to be entertained somewhere, we try to INCLUDE them in the service, and to give parents starter ideas for family worship and instruction throughout the week.  Here’s a link to this weeks children’s page KIDS’ INK!

Kids Ink – 011815

From → Matthew

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: