Matthew, The Tax Collector
As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. Matthew 9.9
Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them. 14 As He passed by, He saw Levi [also known as Matthew] the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. Mark 2.13
After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi [also known as Matthew], sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.”28 So he left all, rose up, and followed Him. Luke 5.27-32
Two Sunday’s ago I listened to the sermon at Praise Cathedral here in Greer SC and got rather excited. The head pastor’s son, Bo, who happens to be the minister to teens was standing in for his dad with a powerful message. I just want to clarify here that the title of this post and several talking points come from his sermon. Thank you, Pastor Bo, for speaking truth and getting me motivated once again.
Back To Matthew and Capernaum
To get the correct perspective on this story one must realize that tax collectors were the scourge of the Jews in Israel. The country was being ruled by the ruthless Romans and they collected and kept the taxes. Does anyone love the I.R.S.? Doubtful – I do not to be perfectly clear!
For those of you who have seen the series, The Chosen, probably remember the scene where Jesus is passing by the tax collector’s booth, He stops and looks at young Matthew and says, “Follow Me.” To the shock of His already-chosen men who vehemently say, “No, Lord, You don’t want him to be one of us – no! no! no!”
To which Jesus says, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” And, not only yes but He invites Himself and His friends to dinner at Matthew’s home. You can read all about it in the highlighted passages above.
Matthew’s Reaction To The Invitation
Jesus walks by and says, “Follow Me.” Dr. Luke tells us that Matthew “left all, rose up and followed Him.”
Matthew dropped the keys and left the ring!
The booth most likely had a Roman guard on duty – just in case any tax payers got out of line. And, Matthew wore a signet ring to dip in wax and mark the debts as collected and paid. Can you imagine the shock and surprise the Roman guard showed when Matthew closed the door of his booth, dropped the keys and left that ring?
The Word, in so many words and between the lines, tells us Matthew never looked back.
What Does This Have To Do With Today?
For us, followers of Jesus Christ, He is still giving the invitation, “Follow Me.” It’s different for all of us. For some, it’s homeschooling children. For some, it’s going to the mission field. For some, it’s leaving a job for another job. For some, it’s telling us to write that book or tell that story. For some, it’s teach that class. You get my drift.
He extends the invitation every single day. And, every day we must make a conscious decision to follow Him.
We have to decide for ourselves…
Are we going to drop the keys and leave the ring?
P.S. Thirty years ago, in 1992, Jesus met me at an altar and whispered, “Follow Me.” I was a born-again 42-year old woman who had one foot in the world and one foot in the Kingdom. I dropped the keys and left the ring and I have never once regretted that decision.
Barb Hegreberg says
Isn’t it amazing how God speaks to us through others.
Yes it is. God has His encouragers all around us!
Bev Rihtarchik says
I love the scene in “The Chosen” where Matthew drops the keys and leaves the ring to follow Jesus. There have been times in my life when I’ve squirmed and tried to wiggle out of what God was calling me to do, but I’ve never ever regretted my decision to follow Him and let Him be the Lord of my life. Lately, He’s been calling me to get back into writing…so here I am 🙂
And, I’m glad you are!
Matthew is one of my favorite disciples to watch in The Chosen. Your words about Matthew remind me of the song, ”Today” by New World Son. “Maybe this time you can take the lead, and I won’t try to pull you by the sleeve. Because every time I think that I know better I lose my way. So God, what You wanna do today?”
I love that and have never heard that song. We should wake up every morning asking that question!!!
Love the series, The Chosen, it has really Open my eyes honey. Thank you for writing this, I miss your writing as I miss you. Love ya honey, forever!
We love it too. Can’t wait for season 3.
Lauren Renee Sparks says
I loved The Chosen. And I love this story so much.
Lauren, I loved it too! Glad you visited today.
Susan, I’m so glad Jesus is still calling us to follow Him into unknown areas of spiritual growth and service for Him!
He continues to invite us to follow Him!
Joanne Viola says
Susan, I enjoyed this post. I have not seen any of The Chosen but the story of Matthew always challenges me, and so did this post. I pray that I am willing to drop what I am doing when the Lord compels me to do something else. I am grateful I made the decision to follow Him years ago, and yet, we are faced with choices every day which beckon us to serve Him. Challenging post, Susan!
You must see The Chosen. The best portrayal of the Gospels…ever!
Jeanne Takenaka says
Susan, I loved this reminder that God speaks to each of us—He calls each of us—in unique ways. But the point is, He calls us, He invites us to follow Him and to have relationship with Him. I’m in awe of how much He loves us!
Every. Single. Day.
Yes, I sure do remember the scene. I can picture it now. Follow Me, yes Lord, bye everyone else. Wow. I remember dropping the keys and and leaving the world behind., when he called me to Follow Him.
Donna B Reidland says
It’s the same call to us all, isn’t it, in one way or another.
It certainly is, Donna – it might sound differently but in the end – do we follow or not?
Merry Geary says
Jesus calls us every day to follow him n we must listen n obey. I have not seen The Chosen as yet. I am so glad you are mending. What a horrible experience. Take it slow n get back on that bike around your wider paths to get the feel again n the fear outta the way. God Bless you had no broken bones. Hope they stopped to assist you n apologized. ❤️
Thanks, friend. God bless you & Mike.