TEACHER: Ken Hicks
SCRIPTURES: Matthew 9:9-10; Luke 18:10-14; John 11:2-16
BOTTOM LINE: Matthew & Thomas were an essential Part of Jesus’ Team. Matthew gives us all HOPE! A lowly Tax Collector hand-picked by Jesus! Thomas, always seeing the glass 1/2 full, but his passion and love of Jesus was inspiring.
QUESTION: Are we so passionately in love w/ Jesus that we’d rather die than imagine living w/o Him?
TODAY, we’re wrapping up the 2ndTIER of the 12 guys Jesus called to be The Apostles. What we’ve been discovering is that they were really just Ordinary People, and every single one of them had their own struggles and Flesh that they battled.
What I HOPE we can glean from this series is not only learning more about some of these really important people w/in the development of the Early Church and the Movement of God, but also … that God can use US:
- … w/ all our quirks and struggles and uphill climbs at times …
- … w/ all our Flesh that has this tendency to get in the way at times …
These guys were just like us!
Thomas was ALWAYS questioning everything! He struggled w/ Pessimism, much like (and worse at times) than Phillip. And Matthew, he was a Tax Collector. He was hated by his own Jewish people for being a traitor and collecting taxes (plus his fees) for the Roman Government.
Let’s start w/ MATTHEW… Matthew may have been the Ultimate Sinner of the Apostles, if there were such a thing! His Jewish Name was Levi [according to Mark 2:14] and we know his writing bears his own name in the book of Matthew [but it doesn’t tell us much at all about himself].
He only puts himself in his own writing twice when he shares about his own calling from Christ, and then we he list the Calling of the 12. We know Matthew is one of those guys who was always in the background … always behind the scenes so to speak.
4 Things We Knew About Matthew:
- He knew the Old Testament.
- He believed in God.
- He was looking and waiting for the Messiah.
- He dropped everything to follow Jesus!
Now … let’s check out THOMAS …
We may all know Thomas by his nickname Doubting Thomas. I’m not sure that it was that he Doubted as much as that he always saw the NEGATIVE side of things. We talked last week about Phillip’s Spiritual Gift of Pessimism … Thomas may have INVENTED Pessimism.
John 11:2-16 gives us some insight to Thomas’character:
John is describing the scene as Jesus and His Disciples are together, somewhere in the region of Jordan, and they had left Jerusalem because it was getting pretty intense in terms of the pressure to capture/kill Jesus.
They were preaching the Word, and it was 1 of the most fruitful times in Jesus’ ministry in terms of the numbers of people who were coming to know the Living God and begin a relationship w/ Him.
Thomas … although a bit pessimistic … definitely had some serious courage and was willing to lay it ALL on the line too. Thomas didn’t want to even LIVE w/o Jesus! If He’s out … I’m out! He’d rather die, than be left behind w/o Jesus!
Ultimately … the rest followed Thomas’ lead … and they ALL went to Bethany.
Maybe it’s a Little surprising in some ways that Matthew & Thomas got drafted?
Calling Matthew does give me some HOPE that we mentioned at the very beginning. Maybe, just Maybe God’s got some use for me too! I mean … if God can use a Donkey … and God can use a Tax Collector … surely, God can use you and me right?
We don’t have to be a Some-Body!
And in Thomas… it’s ok to have a spirit that is so in love w/ Jesus that we can’t imagine living without Him in any way!
Can you imagine … 1stof all … if Jesus were to be here? Who would we invite to the banquet tonight? I know many times, I’d want to get my Christian friends and celebrate the Creator of this Playground we call Earth.
In fact, how many un-churched people do we even know? Could we even host a banquet w/ Jesus and fill my house w/ those who need to know Him?
For that matter, how often to I tend to even look down on the down-trodden? Jesus said, I didn’t come to heal the healthy … but the SICK!
I am challenged to be so passionately in love w/ Jesus … that I couldn’t imagine my life w/o Him every single day!