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"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 (Matthew 9:9)."

Matthew was a tax collector. He lived in Galilee but worked for Rome. His people considered him a traitor as he worked for the enemy. They looked upon him as a thief who stole from the people by charging them more in taxes than was required. The Jewish people would shun such an individual. They looked down upon him, avoided him, and dare I say at times even hated him. But when Jesus saw Matthew he saw a sinner in need of redemption. He saw someone who would become a follower. Jesus saw an individual who would listen to His teachings, marvel over His miracles, and gladly announce the Gospel to the world. Matthew was lost in His sin and his greed, but Jesus would forever change his life. Jesus called Matthew, "Follow me. And he (Matthew) rose and followed Jesus." Following Jesus is a crucial thing that a disciple does.   It is what a Christian does.

Like Matthew God in His grace has called you. He has called you to faith through the sacrament of baptism and the power of His Word. Jesus has spoken His word and called you to follow Him. Now as people who have been forgiven our sins, granted the gift of faith, and have been promised a place in the kingdom of heaven on account of Jesus, for us to follow Him is only natural. It is important that like Matthew we too rise up and follow Jesus. It is important we hear His teachings. Matthew recorded many teachings of Jesus in his Gospel. As a follower of Jesus let Him teach you His word. Ponder His parables. Be mesmerized by His miracles. See the complete sacrifice for sin upon the cross. Rejoice in the Resurrection. Confidently confess Christ to one another and to the world. Be familiar with His forgiveness as you confess your sin and receive forgiveness not only for greed but every sin you commit. Believe with great certainty that Jesus has died for your sin and has risen from the dead to bring you life eternal. Ponder His promises, cling to them, trust in them and follow Jesus.

You may be tempted to think that you know the stories of the four gospels and you need not spend a lot of time studying them. But the truth of the matter is we can spend a life time studying one of the gospels and never fully master it. A disciple of Jesus, a Christian, responds to the call of Christ the way Matthew did. He rose up and followed Jesus. So also let each one of us rise and follow Jesus. This is important for the young children in Sunday school, it is important for youth and young adults, as well as older adults. Following Jesus, listening to His teachings is something that has no age restriction. So bring your children to Sunday school, gather your youth to study the Bible together with us, and follow Jesus.

Trust in Jesus for your forgiveness and salvation. Rise and follow Him as you join us in our Sunday morning Bible study where we will be exploring the depths of the words of the Gospel of Matthew. These are the teachings, the words, and the events of Jesus' life. The Bible Study will begin on Sunday, September 15 at 10:30 a.m. Whether you are a beginner just starting to grasp the surface level of the gospel or whether you are very familiar with these words and are looking for a deeper understanding and appreciation of this gospel, join us as together we follow Jesus and listen to His teachings. See Jesus through Matthew's eyes and experience Him for yourself, as together we too respond to the call of Jesus, rise, and follow Him.

Pastor Schoenfeld