Jesus Chooses Matthew as a Disciple

A condemned prisoner awaiting execution was granted the usual privilege of choosing the dishes he wanted to eat for his last meal. He ordered a large mess of mushrooms. “Why all the mushrooms and nothing else?” inquired the guard. “Well,” replied the prisoner, … More

Choice

The scene now shifts to the seaside (v. 13). Jesus chooses one man, Matthew to join Him as a disciple (v. 14). He was employed by the Roman government as a tax-gatherer which was a lucrative position. Tax collectors were renowned for dishonesty and extortion. They were detested throughout the Greco-Roman world. When Jesus said, “Follow me,” Matthew did not hesitate but immediately rose and followed. This new disciple must have been “well-to-do” for he was able to entertain a large crowd (v. 15).  It seems that Matthew had planned a big meal to honor his Master and to say farewell to his old friends and to bring them into contact with Christ. The religious leaders regarded the tax collectors as sinners and untouchable. In fact he would have been as much of an outcast from orthodox Jewish society as the leper in Chapter 1 was.

A common complaint of the Pharisees was that the Lord was not particular enough in choosing His friends (v. 16). When Jesus heard this criticism He declared that it was the sick and not the well who needed a physician (v. 17). The one person who Jesus can’t help is the person who thinks himself so good that he doesn’t need anything done for him. The one person who Jesus can help is the person who knows he is a sinner and longs in his heart for a cure.

There are three callings that Levi received that could also be true for everyone else:

  1. Everyone is called to repentance (v. 17). (Luke 5:32)
  2. After repentance comes a call to relationship. (v. 16)
  3. We are called to recovery (v. 17)

The word of God is a spiritual prescription that, when applied will bring about healing to our minds.

Application

What contacts do my family and I have with non-Christians? How could this improve? How can I more effectively use these contacts to bring people to Jesus?

Mark 2:13-17 (English Standard Version)

He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him. And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »