As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” So he got up and followed Him.
The account of Matthew following Jesus was mentioned in three places in the bible by Mark (2:14), Luke (5:27-32), and by Matthew himself in today’s verse. Look at how Luke recorded Matthew’s conversion:
After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi [aka Matthew], sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he left all, rose up, and followed Him.
Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them. And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, “Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Luke’s account gave more information about Matthew: who he was, and what happened after he accepted Christ. Compare that with how Matthew recorded the same event about himself: Jesus passed by his office, called out to Matthew to follow Him, and he got up and followed, just like that! The simplicity of this account and the immediacy of Matthew’s action are significant. From Luke we learn that Matthew was reviled by his own people because as a tax collector, he’s seen as a lackey of the Roman government. Maybe you can identify with Matthew here: your job pays well, but you hate what you do. Have you felt that way about your life: you can do whatever you want, but have no one to enjoy it with? Or, you’re at the end of yourself and seem stuck, you don’t know how you got yourself into a mess or how to get out of it despite your best attempts. Jesus’ invitation to follow Him must have been like a lifeline to Matthew, one that offered the hope of change, worthy to acknowledge and celebrate with a great feast.
It takes determination to want change, to make a change, to be changed. Therefore, when Matthew recounted his own conversion, he told it simply and succinctly; he has resolved to “just do it” because he’s had enough. If you need a change today, try following Jesus – no questions asked.
Thoughts for the day
- Even if you are a Christian, what might you be struggling with that is difficult to deal with or change on your own? A certain habit, a mindset, your job, relationship…etc.
- Where is Jesus in this struggle? A judge looking down on you from his bench? A silent observer? A cheerleader on the sideline? Someone throwing you a lifeline?
Father God, help me to accept Jesus as my lifeline when I have no other recourse. Give me the courage to take action rather than bearing the weight on my own. Let me celebrate the hope that I have in Jesus. Amen.