This Sunday was my wife and my 16th anniversary. I bought her a book called Marriage to a Difficult Man. It’s not about me, but the subtitle is: The uncommon union between Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. It is always good for us to know that the heroes of the faith were not without their problems, but Jesus loved them anyway.
Famous evangelist John Wesley was married in 1751 to a woman named Mary Vazeille. It was a disaster. Wesley’s friend John Hampson described this account: “Once I went into a room and found Mrs. Wesley foaming with fury. Her husband was on the floor, where she had been trailing him by the hair of his head; and she was still holding in her hand the locks, which she had plucked out, by the roots. I felt as though I could ha knocked the soul out of her.”
In1771 there is a curious entry in Wesley’s diary. AI came to London, and was informed that my wife died on Monday. This evening she was buried, though I was not informed of it . . . A
There is something encouraging about the fact that even the great heroes of the faith had problems. They were not perfect, yet they had fellowship with Jesus. Today I want to read the story of one of my heroes, the story of the conversion of Matthew. It is the second story in the 9th chapter of his gospel. Last week we learned that Jesus brings forgiveness. Today we need to learn that Jesus brings fellowship.
JESUS BRINGS FELLOWSHIP, EVEN TO THOSE LIKE US, WHO ARE NOT WORTHY.
1. JESUS= FELLOWSHIP BRINGS FRICTION
2. Who the Pharisees were. -A group that gave special attention to matters of ritual purity. This is seen in what they do on the gospels as well as what they speak of in the Misnah.
3. What table fellowship entailed.-the article on Table fellowship in the DJG says that it would be difficult to overestimate the significance of table fellowship in the Mediterranean world. Being welcomed at a table was symbolic of friendship, intimacy and unity. The Pharisees regarded their tables as a surrogate for the Lord=s altar in the temple. Therefore they wanted to keep all areas of their house clean.
4. JESUS FELLOWHIP BRINGS FAMILIARITY.
4. Who tax collectors were.-Jeremias Jer. Time of Jesus p. 304; four levels of Jobs no Jewish boy should have.
5. Why did Matthew change his name from Levi (possibly because Matthew in Greek is very similar to disciple.
6. Note what else the Gospel of Matthew says about Tax-collectors
Jesus is a friend of Tax Collectors 11:9; 21:19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’. But wisdom is proved right by her actions.
Tax Collectors and sinners will enter the kingdom of heaven before the Chief Priests and Pharisees
Jesus said to them, >I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.
There is a sense in which the tax collectors are better off because at least they know that they are sinners. You can almost imagine Matthew writing about this statement of Jesus and thinking, Yes, I was one of them, but now, by God’s grace I have been changed. Let none of us forget what we were, maybe that will make us more patient with those who are not where we think they should be.
Letter to Santa-There are three boys at my house: There is Joey, he is 2 and he is good some of the time; there is Robert, he is 4 and he is good some of the time; there is Norman, he is 6 and he is good all of the time. Signed Norman.
Often I think that I am Norman, but I am not. I am a tax collector, and that is why Matthew is such a good friend of mine.