Matthew was Called to Follow Jesus

A monk joined a monastery and took a vow of silence. After the first 10 years his superior called him in and asked, “Do you have anything to say?” The monk replied, “Food bad.” After another 10 years the monk again had opportunity to voice his thoughts. He … More


Departing from Capernaum Jesus passes by Levi (called Matthew in the Gospel he wrote), who sat at the toll booth and collected taxes on the merchandise that was brought through (v. 27). However he was not a chief tax collector, as Zaccheus was (19:2), nor does the text say that he was rich, though he appears to have been. Nevertheless the Pharisees and most of the ordinary Jews despised him because of his profession. Any tax collector was despised by the Jews. He was seen as one who betrayed his nation for material gain. He gathered money from the Jews to give to the Romans who were Gentiles, who then did not have to work.

To the Jews Levi was a sinner, and Jesus was condemned for having anything to do with him. However, Jesus says, “Follow me” (v. 27), and he instantly obeyed the Lord’s call, left everything and followed Jesus (v. 28). Shortly afterward Matthew prepares a great feast at his house for Jesus and invites his friends to introduce them to the Lord (v. 29). Though not invited to the feast, the scribes and Pharisees intruded, complaining that the Lord and His disciples were defiling themselves by eating with such people (v. 30). Jesus answered their objections (vv. 31-37) with four illustrations:

  1. The physician (vv. 31-32) - He compares them with those “that are sick” spiritually.
  2. The bridegroom (vv. 33-35) - He declares that it is time for rejoicing, not fasting.
  3. The garment (v.36) - He says He has come not to patch up man’s moral failures but to make him totally new.
  4. The wineskins (vv. 37-39) - If you put new wine in old wine skins they will burst. When we trust in Christ He gives us new life.


I should never go around criticizing others and not allow myself to think that I am better than them. I must realize that God loves other people the same that He loves me, regardless of their social status.

Luke 5:27-39 (English Standard Version)

After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, "Follow me." And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" And Jesus answered 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." And they said to him, "The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink." And Jesus said to them, "Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days." He also told them a parable: "No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, 'The old is good.'"

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