This week we’re covering another vital topic in the Ministry of Jesus series dealing with Matthew the Tax Collector. We’ll touch on the long-standing debate on whether Christianity is merely a set of restrictive rules to be followed by the masses. The bible, while still a series of interconnected books on various time lines, contains a variety of commands throughout its chapters. In the Sermon Tony mentioned how he viewed Christianity from a young age as merely a set of rules or conditions. A Simon Says Game.
Do you view your Christianity like a Simon says game? A list of dos and don’ts? A list of rules?
If you do then you’re in the right place to get a new perspective on things. While the bible does contain commands one of the notable aspects of Matthew the Tax collector’s introduction to Jesus in Matthew 9 is that there are no lists of commands given to him initially. The words that stand out in Matthew’s contact with Jesus are “Follow me”. This is something more of a invitation to come along with Jesus as opposed to a bullet point list of things to make sure you do and don’t do.
Our faith is not a list of rules but a relationship with the Lord...
The overarching theme of the statement is purely to “follow me”, and while that statement may carry additional things onto it, we can derive that Jesus want’s Matthew to come along with him. He wants the tax collector to do what he does, to walk in the same direction he walks. He wants us to have a relationship with him. A close connection where we do what he does, instead of something where we’re only accomplishing tasks like a field manual or set of operating procedures.
What would change in your life or thought process if you changed your perspective to a “follow Jesus” mindset as opposed to a “do these rules or steps” mindset. From your perspective what are the differences between the two?
In the sermon Tony calls the congregation ask themselves “Are you following Jesus?” Instead of asking whether you’re completing steps or rules.
Are you following Jesus? What’s that look like in your life right now? How’s that been looking in the past few days for you? What could you adjust to improve that?
Near the end of the sermon Tony mentions that we’re all sick. He quotes Matthew 9:12
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.’[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Do you realize that you are “sick?” The good news is that Jesus came for us the sick people. He’s here to help us out. Keeping yourself level with this awareness that you’re sick allows you to let Jesus help you. Give this some thought and remember that Jesus came for you. To help you.