September 10, 2020
As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector's booth; and He said to him, "Follow Me!" And he got up and followed Him (Matthew 9:9).
The call of Matthew to discipleship is consistent with the call of every person to follow Jesus. Those not called by Jesus (i.e. the Scribe - Matthew 8:19; a learner - Matthew 8:21) usually turn back. Those called by Jesus (except for Judas Iscariot) are saved and enter into His Kingdom.
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you (John 15:16). My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand (John 10:27-29).
Matthew (‘Gift of God’) is the same person as Levi (‘Joined’; Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27). He was a tax (toll) collector (also known as a ‘publican’), and was despised by everyone except fellow tax collectors. They were known as thieves and extortioners and were often placed in the same category as prostitutes.
The call of Matthew, like all whom Jesus calls to be His disciples, was an act of grace. You will note there was no accompanying miracle, no extended discourse, not even an explanation as to what would be required of Matthew. Jesus simply said, “Follow Me” and Matthew immediately got up and followed Jesus. Grace met faith in the heart of the tax collector and made him a disciple of the Son of God.
Luke 5:28 states, So he left all, rose up, and followed Him. This is the mark of true conversion and discipleship, unlike the rich young ruler who did not follow Jesus because he was wealthy (Matthew 19:21-22; Mark 10:21-22). “When Jesus calls a man, He bids him come and die,” observed Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Lutheran pastor and scholar who was executed in a Nazi prison for his Christian faith.
Matthew completely abandoned his office and every thing connected with it. Those who desire to minister the Gospel must have no earthly entanglements, otherwise his work will be hindered by it. The concerns of his own soul, and those to whom he ministers, are enough to command his attention and employ all his efforts.
“Thank You, Lord Jesus, for calling me to salvation and then to ministry in Your Kingdom. I could not have accomplished anything worthy of note without Your claim upon my life and Your Spirit in my life. I pray my continue service will be a blessing to the ongoing work of Your Kingdom. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”