Matthew – Fulfilled
I heard an interesting perspective about who we are as the people of God yesterday on Christian radio as I drove to work. “If we read God’s Word closely we see that Jesus did not call us to be church leaders, He called us to be followers. He taught us to grow and mature as followers of Him.” This is profound and wise. It deserves our consideration and thought as we read our next passage as told by Matthew, the tax collector, a despised leader in the community because of the position he held, to simply follow. “Come along with me” says Jesus. Matthew got up from the business at hand and followed.
Matthew 9, The Message
9 Passing along, Jesus saw a man at his work collecting taxes. His name was Matthew. Jesus said, “Come along with me.” Matthew stood up and followed him.
10-11 Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?”
12-13 Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.”
Thinking a little deeper…
In my past work as a “church leader” I was sent to many seminars about being a better church leader. There was some talk of being a servant leader in seminary, but very little about being a follower in the true sense of the Word. Even when God has calls us to a building with a gathering of people to teach His Word, we have followed Him there. HE was already there. Jesus is the Head of the Gathering. We are not their leader, we are servants, in the same position as those we serve. We are all sinners, saved by grace, learning to follow Jesus. The people who meet there are in God’s Hands, not ours.
Jesus came to seek and to save lost people. Those that got in His way, criticized and ridiculed Him and later responsible for crucifying Him were…church leaders. Yikes.
Jesus followed God, His Father. He only did what the Father told him to do and said only what the Father told Him to say. Jesus taught us to follow. He also came to serve and was the perfect example of laying down all rights to position and glory…to serve us.
We have been commissioned by Jesus, not to train more leaders but to train and teach more FOLLOWERS of Jesus! (Look ahead to Matthew 28.)
Dear Heavenly Father, Matthew got up and followed. I repent as a “leader” of anything and have the same desire to simply get up, leave the world behind, and follow You. Save us from this world thinking of leadership and power. Help us to simply follow. Teach us to follow. Transform us to serve.
In Jesus Name, Amen