“On Your Mark”
Follow me! (Chapter 2 Verses 13-17)
Again we see Jesus in the teaching mode (v13), can you see the importance of it, how we need to be taught, and to learn Christian truth? How thrilling to see a people who want Christian teaching? I do not think this was Levi’s (we’ll call him Matthew), first encounter with Jesus (v14), the almighty grace of God had been drawing this man (John 6.44), when the invitation, or command came there was no hesitancy. ‘Follow me’, that is all, not once, not twice, but continuously, be following me. It is God’s appointed time for this man, by the word and Spirit he is called out of his sin nature and i’s resultant death. “All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by his word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ,…..and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ”. (Westminster Confession Chapter 10 Section 1). We must ever be making every effort to understand this salvation we have been caught up into. With God’s call there is always a cost involved, Jesus tells us over and over again this is so, he warns people to count the cost (Luke 14.25-35). Matthew renounces his work as a tax man, but really we are all called to renounce everything we have in and of ourselves in coming to the Saviour (Luke 14.33). To a salvation which will cost you everything. But here is a man who had everything but had nothing. Lonely, depressed, despised by all, rejected even by family and friends because of his position. In Israel Matthew would be classed as a no-hoper, but Jesus takes great delight in rescuing no- hopers (Luke 19.10). It was for the lost, for sinners he came (1Timothy 1.15; Luke 5.32). Can we say anyone is too hard, too wicked, too hardened, too worldly to ever be a Christian? With God nothing shall be impossible.
Matthew’s concern for others becomes evident very early (v15). He invites some of his former colleagues, and a preacher named Jesus to give the epilogue. But the meal was held in Jesus’ honour (Luke 5.29). He is not full of self-pity because he has to leave a well paid job behind, he is delighted, he has found life, and salvation, and wants to celebrate the one who gave it all to him. Further he wants others to know about Christ too. Surely concern for others is a mark of a true Christian? When did you last pray? When was the last time you told someone Christ died for their sin according to the Bible (1Corinthians 15.1- 3)?
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)