Jesus Calls Matthew | Matthew 9.9-17 (Mville)
June 8, 2014 Series: Mission of the King | Matthew Part II
Topic: New Testament Passage: Matthew 9:9–9:17
Good morning! If you brought your Bibles, open up with me to Matthew chapter 9, verses 9-17.
If this is your first time here, we here at Damascus Road preach through books of the Bible verse
by verse and we are continuing our series today through the book of Matthew. We’ve started at
the beginning and seen the birth of Jesus all the way through his baptism and then we spent quite
a bit of time learning about Jesus and his teachings from his first recorded sermon in the Sermon
on the Mount.
We’ve seen Jesus heal the leper, the paralytic, the centurion’s servant, the demon possessed and
many others who were sick. Now we are transitioning to passage that is absolutely extraordinary
in that we see Jesus healing souls now. He’s calling us and changing us. And now it’s time for us
So let’s begin by reading verse 9 through verse 17:
9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he
said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
10 And as Jesus[a]
and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to
his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard
it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and
learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but
14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, [a]
your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long
as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from
them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the
patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. 17 Neither is new wine put into old
wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new
wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”
This is God’s word.
I know there is quite a bit to chew on in these verses and while at first it looks like they are two
totally different passages, after we start to unpack them, we can see that they are put together for
In fact, if you look at the order of the stories about Jesus in Matthew, Mark and Luke, you will
see that these two passages, along with the healing of the paralytic that Nate preached on last
week, are all in the exact same order. They are the same in all 3 gospels and they are that way for
The gospel of Matthew was written to show that Jesus is the true Messiah as foretold by the OT
prophets. He has finally come and now it is time to rejoice at his arrival.
This section of scripture begins with Jesus calling Matthew, a tax collector, who is undoubtedly
one of the worst sinners around. Which is probably why he uses himself as an example.
reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came
The many evil and wicked things the tax collectors were responsible for are well documented,
but to say they were corrupt would be an understatement! So much so that they were actually
considered traitors of Israel because of their close cooperation with Rome.
And nothing was worse to a Jewish man in the 1st
culture, than to be considered a traitor—and a traitor to Rome nonetheless.
This was one of the most disgraceful things an individual can possibly do. Because Rome was
the tyrant, the bully. And for one of Israel’s own to switch sides and go work for the enemy was
nothing less than criminal.
Tax Collectors, and Matthew in particular, were absolutely hated.
But yet, this man, this corrupt and wicked man that Jesus saw sitting by the water in his tax
office threatening, intimidating and extorting people was the man He wanted to be one of his
disciples. One that would follow him and help spread the gospel and even write scripture.
Imagine some of those people who were following Jesus and his disciples, listening and learning
from him and his sermons, and then to see Matthew standing right there alongside Jesus. You
can be sure there were some Israelites that were more than a little confused at that sight.
Now, after Jesus called on Matthew to follow him, scripture says that he left his profession and
began to follow Jesus. From the moment he was called, he became a companion with Christ. One
of his helpers, one of his disciples and one of his best friends.
He became a changed man. He left his life of persistent sin behind and began his new life
in Christ. His call was his turning point in his life. That command from Jesus to follow him
Now, why did Matthew leave everything and follow this radical teacher?
Think about it. A man who lived a life of sin, was a traitor and seemingly satisfied where he was
at, with all his money and power and job security...all of the sudden left his entire way of life to
follow some prophet named Jesus.
The only explanation for this whole event is that it was a supernatural conversion. It was the
Holy Spirit calling because Matthew would not have just abandoned his entire life and entire
way of doing things just on a whim. Something happened, something changed inside of him for
him to leave everything he knew and follow Jesus.
Because we would never come to Jesus on our own. We don’t just wake up one day and think to
ourselves: “I’m going to follow Jesus and leave my entire life behind.” That just doesn’t happen.
And Matthew left eagerly, not under compulsion, but under the power and authority of the Holy
Spirit. He was ready to begin his new life and leave the old ways behind. He’s enthusiasm to
follow Christ and begin a new journey is something we would all do well to imitate.
So with that simple command from Jesus, Matthew got up and started following. Luke said in
his gospel that “Matthew left everything.” Which was a lot. He sacrificed greatly for the sake of
He left his wealth for poverty, he left authority for submission and he left his life of comfort for a
life of disapproval. He sacrificed his entire livelihood and everything he had ever known for his
What are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of following Jesus? Are we even sacrificing
anything right now?
Because mission is sacrifice. And the sacrifices we make sometimes will hurt. But the blessings
and gifts that comes from making that sacrifice for the sake of the gospel is rewarding beyond
We are called to a lifestyle of following Jesus and following Jesus means leaving a life behind
that might be comfortable.
But God typically doesn’t call us to a comfortable life. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Many
times we are called out of our comfort zone and out of the way we routinely do things. This
forces us to rely on God for our strength and for our ability to do whatever it is he is guiding us
Even if that calling of seems out of the norm for us and we don’t fully understand it. But just
know that God is putting you in a place that he has already designed for you long ago, even if
you feel unqualified at the time, which we all feel.
Now, I know this may sound like a cliché, but it really is true...And that is that God equips the
called. He doesn’t always call the equipped. He will give you assistance for whatever it is he is
calling you to do.
And each and every one of us will experience this call in our life somehow, someway. He will
call on us to follow him, he will ask us to make some sacrifices...make no mistake about that.
The question becomes then, will we listen when the Holy Spirit calls?
Matthew listened. And he obeyed. He took that step of confidence and went to a place he almost
certainly didn’t know.
We know that because Matthew was one of the worst sinners around until Jesus came into
his life and put a different desire into his heart. After Jesus called Matthew, he then desired
something else. His heart changed and he started wanting the things of God instead of wanting
the things of man.
My life has been a mirror image of this story. I lived a life of sin. I ran in the opposite direction
of Jesus. I sought to please myself and nobody else.
I lived a life of drinking and partying. I had addiction problems and lust problems. I was greedy,
arrogant, prideful and not a very decent person to be around. All I ever thought about was myself
and my own sinful flesh.
But then He grabbed me and changed me. Like Matthew, He called me and simply said “follow
me.” That call that he had on my life transformed my way of thinking and my way of living—for
the better. It’s a tremendous journey I’m on now, to say the least and that’s really exciting.
But, just like Matthew, following Christ has meant a lot of changes in my life. I could not
deliberately keep on living a life of sin and still be a follower of Christ. I had to abandon certain
things and start others at the same time, with the number one thing being getting to know Jesus
and what his desire for my life was.
But this whole transformation process is not an overnight thing. It requires patience. Sometimes
when God calls us, we want to be instantly changed into our new life. We think that our old life
of sin, our old habits and all those sins are going to be removed immediately.
But it rarely, if ever, works out that way.
In fact, the conversion from our old life to our new may actually be pretty painful at times...but
we don’t have to do it alone. In fact, we don’t really do it at all. It’s God working through us to
form us into the person he wants us to be. It is God that wills and acts through us to accomplish
And that should give us hope. To know that it is God who is going to do the work and not us is
very reassuring because if it was up to me I would probably screw it all up.
Now, exactly how does Jesus change us? What is it precisely that makes us want to put off our
old life and put on a new life in Christ?
Let’s go back and look at verses 16-17 for a moment. In this passage, Jesus goes on to explain
how he will change us and what exactly that involves.
16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the
garment, and a worse tear is made. 17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the
skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh
wineskins, and so both are preserved.”
Ok, I know this is a difficult passage because it’s confused many people. So let’s go through this
First off, what this passage demonstrates is the incompatibility of the old and new. Those two
things can’t coexist. Now, when we become a new creation in Christ, like Matthew is, our old
way of doing things is not compatible with our brand new life that Christ just gave us.
Which is why Luke tells us that Matthew left everything to follow Jesus. He had to leave
everything behind because those two lives of his could not live together.
The message is also that if your old garment (which represents your old life) is damaged, you
can’t fix it by simply throwing a patch over it. If you try that, then the old garment will become
Try to imagine a brand new patch being stuck on an old pair of jeans. After a while, the new,
stiff patch would start to pull away and come free from the jeans, as a result making the tear that
is already on the jeans, even larger than it was to begin with.
The point is this...we can’t change our lives by doing one simple thing. We can’t just patch it up.
It requires an exhaustive overhaul of our life. This is how he changes us.
We need to be completely transformed by Christ. And that means our entire life, not just part of
it. We can’t keep our old sin hanging around while we are ‘supposedly’ made new.
Verse 17, as we go on, speaks of another example of how Christ will be changing us. This is also
a fairly confusing verse for some, so let’s delve into this gradually.
When brand new wine is made, the fermentation process gives off gas. So when you put the
new wine in a new wineskin, they both grow together, with the wineskin expanding as the wine
ferments inside, think of it like blowing into a balloon, with your breath being the wine and the
balloon being the wineskin.
But if new wine is put into old wineskins that are already at its limit of being stretched, the
continuous fermentation process will expand that wineskin even more, causing it to rupture.
Therefore causing both, the wine and wineskin, to be destroyed. The new wine is spilled onto the
ground when the wineskin burst. Just like blowing more air into an already blown up balloon.
Much in the same way, our old self, if kept around, would ultimately destroy our new life in
Christ. So because of that Jesus has to put off our old self—for good...and makes us totally and
completely new, otherwise we would just go back to our old way of life and our new life would
be ruined then.
So the whole point of this slightly confusing metaphor, is that it shows that Jesus doesn’t keep
us the way we are. He molds us, changes us to our new life, in Christ. Our old life is corrupt and
needs to be discarded and not kept around. So the new life that Christ gives us, he puts into our
new selves so both our new life and our new self are both preserved.
This was a concept that the Apostle Paul understood well. He speaks of it from experience.
As we all know Paul was, by his own words, the worst sinner of them all. Which is why he
understands this concept pretty good when he wrote in Ephesians 4:22-24, that says this: 22
off your old self,[a]
desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created
after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
It is Jesus who does the transforming in our life. To make us righteous and holy. It is not us, it’s
nothing we did or can do to make us in the likeness of Christ. But the Holy Spirit, putting on our
new self to make us more like Christ.
This is why we are celebrating Jesus. Because he makes us new. Because he takes us in our
present, sinful state and shapes us into someone righteous and holy, someone whose heart starts
longing for things of God and stops wishing for things of this world.
Because that old life of ours...is now history. All those sins we committed, all the rebellious
things we once did are now a thing of the past, to be brought to mind no more.
Now, our new life doesn’t mean we automatically stop sinning. That will never happen. If you
are waiting for that to occur you are going to be waiting a while. But when you start living in
your new life that Christ has given you, you will hopefully start sinning a little less while starting
to learn how to bring glory to God a little more.
Our whole thought process will start changing when we are made new and we will then live a
life for someone else, rather than for ourselves.
But I will admit, it’s not easy to do. Just that simple thought of the word “change” makes most of
us cringe. Sure we may acknowledge God is the one doing the work in us, but it still requires a
bit of effort on our part and that’s where we struggle.
So if we truly desire to change from our old sinful self to become more Christ-like, we must trust
in God and take that step of faith, even though it seems hard because we ultimately know that his
will is much better than our own.
which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful
Solomon wrote about trust in God and what that looks like when we take that step of faith in
our lives. He writes in Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean
on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your
So when we do trust in him and acknowledge him in all our ways, he will guide us down a path
to a place that he has designed for us long ago. But just as a disclaimer, most of the time it’s to a
place where we never thought we would be or wanted to ever go before.
Matthew didn’t know where he was going to go...but he followed. He trusted Jesus so much that
he left everything behind for the sake of following him.
Abraham didn’t know exactly what was going to happen on that mountain when God told him to
sacrifice his only son, but he listened, trusted and followed God anyway.
I did not know where I was going when God called me. I never thought I would ever, in a million
years, be up here talking to all of you. But when you take a step of faith and say to God, “I will
follow you,” what you are saying is that you put all your dependence on God to take you down a
road that he is leading you to, even if you don’t understand where that road will end up one day.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now? Do you see yourself in the same spot that you are
in now? Will your goals be different? Do you even desire for them to be different?
If we are indeed listening and walking with Christ our goals ought to be shifting. And when I say
shifting, I mean our goals should be moving from our own desire to his desire. And this can only
come from spending some thoughtful time with God in prayer.
Because there is no way we can presume to know what God’s desire for us is if we are not
willing to put in the effort in getting to know him more.
The effort I’m talking about in all this is prayer and meditation on scripture. This is how God
speaks to us and it’s kind of hard to expect him to do something in our lives if we are not
constantly in communication with him.
Matthew was actively following Christ and listening to his calling. So much so that he ended up
throwing what could be called a celebration banquet for Jesus.
Now, if you remember, the Pharisees, they see what is going on at this celebration banquet that
Matthew is throwing them and instantly become outraged. They don’t understand how Jesus
would want to associate himself with these “sinners.” They become critical of Jesus and his
disciples and start to question them on their activities regarding their lack of fasting.
Therefore, Jesus responds to them by saying in essence: “This is a time to rejoice, not mourn.
The bridegroom is here and it’s time for a wedding celebration.”
Jesus compares himself here to the bridegroom. The one who is being celebrated at a wedding
And in a 1st
means sacrifice and this is not the appropriate time for it. Fasting signifies distress, grief and
repentance. Jesus says there will be a time to sacrifice, very soon—but not right now.
We are celebrating, not mourning. What are we celebrating exactly?
We are celebrating the fact that we are saved and forgiven. Celebrating that Jesus has done all
the work. Celebrating that Christ is changing us, molding us into the person he wants us to be so
we can go on mission for him.
And this is exactly what Matthew had in mind when he ended up inviting Jesus and his disciples
and all his friends over to his house. He ends up throwing a celebration banquet. Scripture
doesn’t say how long it was after Matthew accepted Jesus’ call that he had this meal, but we can
be fairly certain it was very shortly thereafter.
Matthew invited all his friends and companions over to his house because he found something in
Jesus that was so life changing, so impacting that he had to share him with others. This banquet
demonstrates Matthew’s enthusiasm towards Jesus.
To be honest, our excitement regarding Jesus stinks. And I’m saying this from experience here.
Where’s the excitement? Where’s the enthusiasm? If we truthfully believe that Jesus is the savior
why aren’t we acting like it as Matthew is?
Matthew recognized his need for a Savior and wanted to share him with everyone else.
ATHEIST WHO SAID I WOULD SHOUT OUT LOUD ABOUT JESUS AND MAKE SURE
WE ALL HEARD IT.
Now, at this celebration banquet, there were many tax collectors and sinners that were there with
Jesus and his disciples. Sinners, here in this context, is a general term for all sorts of wicked and
corrupt people. There were probably some thieves, prostitutes, liars and drunkards there along
with the prominent tax collectors. It was a meeting of the immoral.
Now, to eat dinner with someone of a higher social class in that culture was seen as a very
honorable thing to do. It would enhance your own social status. But to eat dinner with someone
inferior to you was seen as shameful, especially those at the very bottom of the social class like
tax collectors and sinners...who are now Jesus’ friends, the ones he is sharing a meal with.
century wedding ceremony (which lasts 7 days) there is no fasting because fasting
That was one of the most significant things you could do with people in the 1st
them over for dinner. Doesn’t the same ring true today as well?
There’s something about sharing dinner with someone that is very special. Sharing in a meal and
fellowship with others shows that you care about them. That you want to have a relationship with
someone. That’s why when people go out on dates they usually go for dinner. It’s a great place to
talk and really get to know someone else on a more personal level.
Think back to the last few meals you had. Did you feel like family? Was it relational? Or was it
something that was rushed and in a drive thru just so you could hurry up and move onto the next
routine in your life.
Sometimes we need to slow down and appreciate what God has given us. Matthew stops
everything and is now appreciating Jesus, in fact he is celebrating him, celebrating a new
relationship with our Savior.
While we are far from a perfect family in this area, we do have a thing at our house that anything
can and should be said at the dinner table. It’s a free and open place to be able to say whatever is
on your mind and what you are feeling, without any real fear of repercussion.
Meals are when we know we are family.
We discuss our day our thoughts or concerns, we read about Jesus and talk with our kids about
God. Sometimes we stay there 5 or 10 minutes after we’re done eating to just talk. It’s a very
special time for us.
But to share that kind of relationship, that kind of fellowship with tax collectors and “sinners”
was a profound statement being made by Jesus. And that statement was that he is a friend of
sinners. Which is a terrible title to have in an honor and shame culture. But as we can see, Jesus
doesn’t care about titles...
Jesus tells us exactly what he cares about when he is talking to the Pharisees back in verses 12-
13, and we’ll close it out with this....
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what
this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
We are sick. Sick with sin. There is a reason Jesus is called the “Great Physician.” Because he
came to heal. Heal the sick, the poor, the downtrodden, the outcast and the underprivileged.
Jesus came to call us. To love us and pour out his mercy on all of us sinners. He says he came
not for the good people, but the bad ones, which is all of us.
Jesus tells the Pharisees that they need to go and learn what desiring mercy means. And we need
to know what that means as well.
His desire is that we show others mercy as he has shown us. Mercy is a little different from grace
in the fact that mercy is when you know that someone is guilty yet you don’t give them what
This is what we have already received from Jesus because of his death on the cross. His death is
the ultimate fulfillment of God’s mercy on us. We all stand before a righteous God, guilty of our
sin and deserving nothing less than punishment for our sins, yet that’s not what we are going to
Jesus took our penalty and our punishment and took it all on himself. This is mercy beyond
understanding. Because we did nothing on our own to earn this mercy.
What did Matthew do to endorse himself to Jesus? What have we done to endorse ourselves to
him? Nothing. It is only an act of mercy that Jesus calls us.
That’s why Jesus came into this world. To call all sinners to himself. To reconcile us back to
God so that we can have a relationship with our Father in Heaven. Because without Jesus we all
stand guilty and shameful before God.
But that guilt is cleared, it is wiped away forever because of the immense loved showed to us by
And that is something to be celebrating. Celebrate that Jesus died for you.
More in Mission of the King | Matthew Part II
September 14, 2014Rejecting Jesus | Matthew 13:53-58 (Mville)
September 7, 2014Parables of Kingdom Power and Price | Matthew 13 (Mville)
August 31, 2014Parables of the Kingdom | Matthew 13 (Mville)