- Jesus is the King
- We are part of Jesus’ new kingdom
- Jesus teaches us how to live in this kingdom
Matthew is writing for people who are
- Geographically removed from Jesus
- Chronologically removed from Jesus
- Interested in the life of Jesus
Tax Collectors (A First Century Motely Crew)
- Knew the language/culture/location
- Contracted with the Roman government to collect taxes
- The more money they extorted, the more they could keep for themselves
- Were considered ceremonially unclean and unfit for religious service
Jesus shows us how to treat people who are on the outside of a faith relationship with him. Also, Jesus had the greatest right to be condescending yet consistently offered the greatest compassion.
- Jesus sees potential in the most unexpected places – Matthew 9:9-12
- Jesus connects with people in unexpected ways – Matthew 9:10, Luke 5:29
- Jesus remained deeply committed to his mission—to call sinners.
Jesus was comfortable with all kinds of people but never condoned any kind of sin.
Jesus contrasted the difference between mercy and sacrifice.
The Hebrew term kindness (חֶסֶד)
kindness of men towards men, in doing favors and benefits
The Greek term mercy/kindness (ἔλεος)
kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them
How can you show compassion towards sinners?
- You need to be able to take some small risks.
- You need to do engage them on their turf and terms.
Let’s review our Neighboring Toolkit
TALK IT OUT
- Tax collectors knew how to game the system for their own personal gain. Pastor
Rusty observed that they were widely considered ceremonially unclean and unfit for religious service. How do you tend to respond to people who get ahead by misusing the system? How did Jesus respond to tax collectors? Why was Jesus’ response so radically different than ours tends to be?
- This passage demonstrates this point which Pastor Rusty makes, “Jesus had the
greatest right to be condescending, yet consistently offered the greatest compassion.” We don’t have the right to be condescending, yet we often are. Why do we find it so easy to look down on others while at the same time ignoring our own sin?
- Who might be considered the present day equivalent of a tax collector? How do you
think Jesus would want us to treat them?
- While Jesus never condoned sin, He also refused to write off people who were known for their sin. Jesus challenges us to show “mercy,” which can be defined as, “kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them.” Why do you think Jesus said that when it comes to dealing with those who are spiritually sick He “desires mercy, not sacrifice”?
- Why do you think Jesus focused on the sick instead of the healthy; those who were sinners instead of those who are righteous?
LIVE IT OUT
- Jesus focused on sinners and those who are sick spiritually. List at least three practical ways you can do that.
- Jesus challenges us to show compassion to those we tend to look down on and whom we tend to write off. What practical ways might you show kindness to those who need compassion but neither deserve it nor typically receive it?
- How can you engage wounded people on their turf and on their terms?
- Ask God to help you connect with hurting people in practical ways that will reveal God’s love and compassion for those who are being tempted to give up on themselves.