I’m Josh Pacheco. If you don’t know me, I lead the UCS campus Ministry here, 21 years young, still alive, somehow, still doing it? Yeah. Is this me? Yeah. I lead the campus Ministry. And we had our first week of school, not this past week, but the week before that, and it went amazingly, it went swimmingly. I appreciate your prayers so so much.
And they were answered. They were more than answered. It was our first in person fall semester in more than two years. Which is nuts to me. We haven’t seen new people.
We haven’t really met any new people. We’ve had a couple of baptisms in the campus Ministry, but for the most part, I haven’t been on campus. And that was probably my favorite part of the entire thing, given all the things I’m about to share is being back on campus in person. So let me show you some pictures. Those pictures are really good.
I like the one in the center with me with the UCF Knights guy really doing his thing, but yeah. So I’d like to share some interesting stories, starting with on a Tuesday morning, my buddy Will and I, we were we were tabling out near Memory Mall, which is just a huge, expansive field on campus, and there wasn’t much foot traffic where we were and were like, Why is it so slow? And then we look behind us and there is an entire event going on. The Multicultural Society decided to host a banquet with all of the world’s food in one place and stretching out beyond the front of the event was a line of 400 people and growing
And Will goes to me he’s like, hey, man, we’re obviously trying to reach out to these people who are walking by, but those people can’t go anywhere unless they want to get out of line.
So I go hmm. That’s a really incredible idea you’ve come up with there. So we go to the line, to the people who are sessile not moving. And we started inviting them to literally everything that we could invite them to all week. And it was awesome.
People were so encouraging. There were so many people who were like, oh, my gosh, what are you guys doing here? Are you guys going to be our friends? And we’re like, yeah, literally. Yes.
So it was just amazing to walk the entire expanse of the line, which seemed to never end. And then when we got to the end, we just did the sequel, and everyone heard the same exact spiel all over again. And it’s not just that. But then 20 minutes later, they had a DJ booth set up with a person on the mic doing their mic thing, talking real loud, and then they go, hey, if you want to advertise your club to the event, go ahead and I really?.
And the picture with Nitro at the top center is where that happened.
There’s the tents all in the back, and you can see people getting food and stuff, but I Stroll on up to the Mic, hey, everybody, How’s it going? And I did something I never thought I would be able to do in my entire academic career while being at UCF, which was talk to 700 motile strangers and tell them about Jesus and about our club, about what to come to. Thank you. That’s worthy of applause. It’s worthy of applause because God fulfilled a dream for me, regardless of who came out.
That was probably the best time I’ve ever had on us in the four years that I’ve been there. So yeah, there’s plenty more. I mean, I’m not going to burden, will not burden, but share all of the news. But even Thursday morning, there was a bunch of rain going on, and I wasn’t there. I was in class, but Leslie was just like, you know what?
Take some Flyers and we’re going to do this. So everyone huddled up in the center of the tent and was just like screaming at people. So I think it was encouraging the amount of people that came up to us without us even prompting them. But I was also incredibly encouraged by the outgoing nature of our campus. Again, given that we haven’t been on campus in more than two years, every single person in our campus Ministry had the excuse just be like, I’m not really trained in this.
I don’t really know what to do, but I shout out to Colin, he just got here about a couple of weeks ago, and he probably did better than I did. Dude was handing out water. Dude was handing out Flyers just like being excited to meet new people was just the most encouraging thing ever. So I want you to know that your prayers were answered. Every single prayer that you gave up to God, God answered and more at the expense of my body, because I was exhausted at the end of the week.
But nonetheless, it was an amazing week, and the sermon that’s coming out today was actually from our the end of the first week of school. Tyler mentioned we had a Sunday service last Sunday. We had a lot of new faces, and that was really encouraging because again, I was able to tell a bunch of strangers about Jesus. As you’ll see that’s a running theme of mine is that I really like doing that. I should have told you a couple of minutes ago.
If you could keep your Bibles turned to Matthew Nine, I will give you the reference in a second or it’ll be up on the screen. But the title of today is, who is Jesus? Who is Jesus? And this is a really important message for me, because I think this message came out to be the totality of what I’ve come to know what kind of person Jesus is over my campus experience because I got baptized right before getting into campus. And I didn’t really know, as I was writing it at the time that it’s really the kind of culmination of a short three years of coming to be well acquainted with Jesus.
And even as I was praying this morning, I was excited for what the many years to come will divulge. But yeah, again, the best part of the week, the first week of school was talking to strangers about Jesus. And the truth is, there are more people today than ever before curious about who the man Jesus Christ is. And if you are here today curious about that.
And then trust me, this lesson for you. But some of you are longtime Christians. Some of you have been Christians for a short while. Some of you may have grown up in the Church and feel a bit disenfranchised. And some of you again don’t even know who the guy Jesus is, but you’re like man, it would be cool to know him. Whoever you are this is for you. So the point of today is to answer the one question, who is Jesus? You’ll hear what he means to me. And I hope that you walk out today just with a little better understanding of who he is. But why you should make a decision to know him more, but without further Ado, let’s get right into it.
So we’re going to be reading versus nine through 13. And I’ll read those for you. As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collectors booth. Follow me and be my disciple, jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisee saw this, they asked the disciples, Why does your teacher eat with such scum? When Jesus heard this, he said, Healthy people don’t need a doctor. Sick people do. Then he added, now go and learn the meaning of this scripture.
I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices for I’ve come to call not those who think they’re righteous, but those who know that they’re sinners. Amen. Thank you, Jesus. So let’s start in verse nine. Real quick, right out of the gate. Let me give you some context.
It may look here like Jesus is just calling the tax collector from out of nowhere and just being like, hey, follow me and they have dinner and some guys are mad about it. Jesus says some things and moves on. That’s a gross over simplification. But I’ll give you what’s going on here. Tax collectors in Jesus’s Day were the most popularly despised people group ever. Not too unlike today.
People hate taxes in general. But tax collectors were disreputable most of all here because they liked to extort money from people. You have a scale you put how much you owe on here to the state. And this is where you put your money. But usually tax collectors would weight the other side so that you you would have to pay more money and then they chop money off the top, take it for themselves, which was just extortion.
So it was easy for people for the general public to hate tax collectors. Matthew had the market privilege, the displeasure of being a Jewish tax collector. And this was really important because he wasn’t just reviled by the general public. He was mostly hated by Jews, too. His own kinsmen hated him because they thought you betrayed us.
Not only are you working for the enemy Rome, but you’re also working in a line of work that’s sinful and disreputable. So obviously there are a lot of opinions here about what kind of person a tax collector is. Most people have made up their mind about what kind of person Matthew is, and he has no say in that. Regardless of whether Matthew did or didn’t engage in these practices, he was hated and he didn’t get a stay in the making of his reputation. So I’ll ask you, have you felt written off?
Have you felt tired of being seen a particular way? Are you tired of feeling like someone’s made up their mind about you without you even getting a word in edgewise? Because if you are, these are the kinds of people that Jesus’s heart ached for. Jesus was in pain for these people who didn’t get a say in their reputation or in the opinions that people had of them. He loved people like that.
And this means an incredible amount to me because this was Jesus view of everybody. Everyone’s got someone who doesn’t like him. But Matthew, most of all, no one liked him. Jesus chose to see the best in people in whom no one saw a sliver of good. He emulated God’s heart of goodness and made an intentional decision to look past the ways people got categorized and to bring out the good, even in the most unloved.
I myself figured I was written off. Most of you may or may not know my past, but I don’t know. Before I came into the Church, I was caught up in a big mess as anybody who became a disciple. But I don’t know. I went through a lot of rejection growing up. I went through a lot of bullying funny enough, and it felt like I would go to school, to a place where I couldn’t really fit in with anybody, to come back home to parents who never really talked to me about my life. And then I would go to Church every Wednesday and Sunday, and I would be told that I was a sinner and that I was evil and that I needed to repent. So just a really sterling line of criticisms all around. But I thought I was beyond redemption.
So the better way to do it is to just fake it. I could fake being a Christian. I could fake being outgoing, and I could fake being a good person. But I couldn’t fake feeling loved.
And that’s why I’m in love with Jesus is because he chose to see the best in me. Sorry. He chose to see the best in me when nobody else would.
Hit different that time. So, yeah, my question is, do you feel that way? Do you feel like, oh, man, I just don’t feel like anyone sees me as a good person. I don’t feel like anyone sees the good that I have inside of me because Jesus says Jesus does see it.
And if you’re a disciple and you’ve forgotten that, remember it because you were once there, but nonetheless, moving on to verses ten and eleven, Matthew invites Jesus to his place for dinner, and Jesus says yes, which has everybody really uncomfortable, including the people who follow Jesus, including the people who believe in every single word that has come out of Jesus mouth. Even they are like, Yo, this is kind of weird. This is strange. It was one thing for you to ask the tax collector to follow you.
It’s a completely different thing to go with him and his friends to dinner at his house of all places.
It was incredibly strange, and it rocked even the disciples off of their feet. But that didn’t matter to Jesus, because regardless of everyone else’s opinions, Jesus chose to meet this man where he was at. Maybe Matthew couldn’t offer much, but he could offer dinner in a place to stay, and that’s good enough for Jesus. So, yeah, think about that. Just ponder it for a second.
Jesus didn’t just hang out in Church with his Church friends or in synagogue with his synagogue friends, or however you want to see it. Jesus didn’t just hang out with the people that he liked, and he’d come out here every once in a while and say, You’re a sinner. You’re a sinner. You’re a sinner. Goodbye.
Jesus went out there. You know, the popular opinion is that Jesus only went to Holy places and hung out with Holy people. But what I see here is a Holy man bringing his Holy love to unholy places. Anybody in Jesus’s day would have seen a tax collectors home as unholy. And you can make the equivalent of that to your modern day as whatever you’d like.
I’m not going to spout out examples, but what’s an unholy place to you?
Have you been hanging out in only Holy places and with only Holy people? Because there are people out there who need the Kingdom of God. There are people out there who need you to go get dinner with them, who need you to go get dinner with them and their friends? Because Matthew didn’t just invite Jesus to dinner with him. He invited his buddies, his work colleagues, his coworkers, his supervisor.
Jesus ate dinner with not just with a tax collector. But with multiple tax collectors and Romans. Jesus went to the mission field. If all you could offer was dinner in a place to say that was more than enough for Jesus to work with. And if you’re on the opposite side of the fence where you just really only have dinner and a place to say, I’ll tell you that again, all that Jesus needs are you burned out with religion? Are you tired of expectations and rules that you just feel you can’t live up to?
Are you tired of trying out Church or Christianity and not really feeling like you fit in? Because I’ve got good news for you, the Jesus that I see here is for you. The Jesus that I see here wants to spend time with you, and he wants to help you understand what the real expectations are. Expectations are an incredibly huge part of this because you see in verses twelve through 13 that the Pharisees aren’t super happy about Jesus’s position here. You know, they go up to his disciples, not to Jesus.
They go to his followers and they say, hey, why is this guy eat with such scum? Why does he eat with trash the worst that the world has to offer. And Jesus responds with healthy people don’t need a doctor. Sick people do. That’s a bone chilling line. Now get this.
The Pharisees responsibility, as Jewish teachers was to teach the scriptures to people who desperately needed them. But even the Pharisees in Jesus’s worldviews, their goals weren’t too far off. Both the Pharisees and Jesus wanted the Kingdom of God here now amongst us. But the Pharisees, in their well intentioned but misguided actions, made the expectations and the goal of their faith incredibly difficult to attain to. To the point where it shut the door to the Kingdom of Heaven, to people who desperately needed to get in. So this is why Jesus was angry.
Jesus was angry, not at sinners because they don’t know any better. He’s not angry at the person who’s just here’s a meal. Help me understand this. He’s angry at the people who know better but aren’t doing the right thing. He’s angry at the people who know better who have the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven right here, and they’re just dangling them in front of people saying you can’t get in now.
Jesus came to call, not those who think that they’re righteous, but those who know that they’re sinners.
Now, this might be a little pointed. But if you think you are righteous, if you’re convinced I’m beyond all of this, I’m going to need you to check yourself, man. I’m going to need you to rethink your stance because that kind of thinking is what leads people like Matthew or the Matthews of our day to think I’ve got no place in there.
I don’t know why Matthew followed Jesus, given he had every excuse to say, everyone else hates me. Why are you any different? Matthew took a chance. He had faith and good for him because we have an entire gospel because of him, because he decided to follow Jesus. But some other people haven’t gotten that lucky.
Some other people see the Church and they’re just like, well, those people are too good for me. I’m not good enough for that. I encourage you to extend Jesus welcoming hand.
Jesus has thrown the doors to the Kingdom of heaven wide open for any kind of person. And he wants those of you who don’t think you can get in to come on. Get on it. I said earlier, Jesus wants you to know the true expectations of discipleship.
None of us are going to be sinless. None of us are going to be perfect. But that’s not what he was asking for. Jesus gave perfection. Perfection already been given. We’re good.
He just wants you. If this kind of Jesus is appealing to you, if anything about what I said about Jesus today excited you or even relieved you, I encourage you to talk to someone after this. Get in a Bible study, crack open the Bible with a disciple and say, Help me to know him better. And for those of you who already know Jesus, you’re already in the now you’re like man, I know all this already.
Please don’t forget. That’s why we get Pharisees. It’s people who forgot. People who have all their podcasts and all of their Bible trivia knowledge and all of the things that they know about scripture. And they just get to sit in their lofty place and look down at other people. Don’t forget this because you were here once. You were at the doors of the Kingdom of Heaven, trying to get in.
And God showed you the distinct Grace of showing someone along the way to teach you the way of Jesus. I was that kind of person. I needed that. If one person didn’t decide to reach out to me in high school, I wouldn’t be here talking to you right now. People have so much potential to do good.
And Jesus saw that. And I pray that you see that. Show your friends. Show your neighbors, show your loved ones. Show your co workers the fact that the Kingdom of heaven is wide open for everyone in your speech, your way of life, and your gratitude for the kind of life that you get to live now because of one man, Jesus Christ.