This study could be called "Jesus doesn't judge a book by the cover!" To the sight of our eyes the Lord chose twelve of the most unlikely candidates to carry on his work. The calling of Matthew is one of the greatest examples -- a Jewish tax collector working for the Romans and hated by his own countrymen. How could he ever be Christ's representative?
Perhaps you and I could say the same about ourselves. How could God every use someone like me? Why would he want to? I am full of flaws which are apparent to all. What does God see in me? We may never know what God sees in us but we know that He sees past our ordinary exterior to our hearts. He knows us from the inside out which is the opposite of how men know one another. So we can be encouraged as we study about....
(Similar verses are also in Mark 2:14 / Mark 3:13-19 / Luke 5: 27/ Luke 6:13-16
Day 1- When Jesus called Matthew to come to him, he was calling a man that everyone hated. Tax collectors were despised men by the Jews because they were fellow countrymen that had entered the employment of the Romans -- their conqueror and occupier. Tax collectors were notoriously dishonest and amassed fortunes at the expense of their fellow countrymen. So why would Jesus call such a man to follow him?
Day 2 - The calling of Matthew is one of the greatest examples of how our Lord looks past the outside to the heart of everyman.
1 Chronicles 28:9 / Jeremiah 17:10 / John 10:14
Day 3- No doubt Matthew had heard of Jesus who came with authority and a new message of hope for men. He perhaps had stood at the back of a crowd and wondered if it was too late for him to begin again and leave his life of shame. He maybe had noticed that Christ counted as his friends those that the good orthodox people shrunk from with loathing and had a glimmer of hope. So on the day that Christ came by his booth and said "Follow me", Matthew saw his chance. He did he respond?
Day 4- Matthew certainly didn't know all that he would be getting into by choosing to follow Christ, but he saw his chance for a new life and was willing to lose all to gain it. Even if we don't have all of our questions answered beforehand, in choosing to follow Christ what will we find out when we obey him?
Day 5- Following Matthew's decision to follow Jesus is a scene of Jesus going to Matthew's home and having dinner with him and his friends which of course included lots of other tax collectors. This scene is a physical picture of what happens when we choose to obey Christ. We secure the blessing of divine fellowship even before everything in our lives has had a chance to change and be put right.
John 14:20-23 / 1 John 3:24 / Revelations 3:20
Day 6- This same scene speaks volumes about tolerance. Jesus in dining with Matthew and his friends is in no way condoning their dishonesty or unethical behavior. Why then do we find Christ associating with men that almost everyone loathed?
Day 7- By actually associating with sinners Christ was fulfilling His mission for coming to earth.
Luke 19:10 / John 3:17 / John 12:47 / 1 Timothy 1:15
Day 8- If we have chosen to follow Christ then we must find ourselves also among the people of this world that need him. We are called to carry on Christ's work.
2 Corinthians 5:17-20
Day 9- We can't leave this study on the call of Matthew without seeing a very important point. When Matthew left his job as a tax collector he picked up his pen and wrote the greatest story ever told. He may never have known that he had a talent for writing if he had not followed Christ. Whatever it is that we give up to follow Jesus we receive back many fold as the Lord fulfills in us His purpose for our lives.
Psalm 57:2 / Psalm 138:8 / Matthew 19:29
Day 10- We need to look at all three of the accounts of Jesus selecting his staff to get the full picture of this important step in his ministry.
Matthew 10:1-4 / Mark 3:13-19 / Luke 6:13-16
From these three accounts we are going to notice that....
Day 11- They were very ordinary men. None of them were wealthy, or academic or in high social standing. They were just average working men -- or were they? Jesus sees each man not only as he is today but for all that he will become under his divine influence.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 / 2 Corinthians 5:17
Day 12- Everyone of us can offer ourselves to God just as we are today. The important thing is that we are teachable -- willing to grow and learn. We see that Jesus chose these 12 men out of a larger pool of disciples. A disciple is a learner. The men and women that Jesus needs today must have flexible minds and hearts that can take hold of the heart of God and transmit that to men.
Psalm 25:5 / Psalm 27:11 / Psalm 143:10
Day 13- Jesus CHOSE these men out of a larger pool of disciples. This was not a random, quick decision. It was a selection after consideration of each disciple.
Day 14- Once Christ chose the men he wanted, he CALLED them.
Jesus always invites and offers. He never forces. It is up to us to decide whether we will follow.
Day 15- When the twelve men answered the call then Jesus APPOINTED or ORDAINED them. He named them officially and equipped them for the job they would do. They didn't just drift into their positions. Christ was a careful planner.
Mark 3:14 / Ephesians 2:10
Day 16- In Mark 3:14 we must notice that these men were chosen "to be with Jesus". If we are to do Christ's work in the work we must live in his presence and this is what leaves an impression upon other men.
Acts 4:13 / John 17:40 / Galatians 2:20
Day 17- What was the work Christ was calling them to do?
An apostle is "one who is sent out like an envoy or ambassador. Each Christian is Christ's ambassador to the world.
2 Corinthian 5:18
Day 18- As ambassadors (or apostles) what were the twelve supposed to go out to do?
They were to bring to all men the message of Christ, NOT their own opinions and interpretations. That was why it was so important that they be with Christ. So too every Christian has been commissioned to bring Christ's message to the world around us.
2 Corinthians 5:19b-20
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