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)

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