Follow me

Do you ever wonder how Levi (Matthew) could leave his secure and well paying government job to follow Jesus?  Was it the tenor of Jesus’ call, was it His warm and inviting non-verbal communication or did Jesus’ “sell” the idea that is just not recorded in any of the gospels? What we do know is that the call was simple and poignant, clear and blunt and unapologetically pressing – either Levi watched Jesus walk away or he had to get up and go. The call to adventure had to be measured against risk and the hope against fear – but somehow he knew that the significance of his entire existence hinged on , follow me.

Jesus is looking for sinners, there are no righteous ones among us, and he is looking for them to repent.  His purpose was to seek and save those who had lost their way and this give all of us great hope as we all carry a burden of guilt from our sin.

I think Levi did have a chance to hear Jesus preach with authority and a new message of hope for people.  Maybe he was one at the back of the crowd and wondered if it was too late for him to begin again and leave his life of shame.  Maybe he saw Jesus with people the orthodox leaders rejected and had a glimmer of hope that he could be a friend of Jesus.  What we do know is that on the day Jesus passed by his booth and said, “Follow me”, Levi saw and took his chance to do just that.

As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. – Mark 2:14

You Are Mine – David Haas

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Where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?

Job’s friends had pretended to comfort him with the hope of his return to a prosperous estate; he here shows that those do not go wisely about the work of comforting the afflicted, who fetch their comforts from the possibility of recovery in this world. It is our wisdom to comfort ourselves, and others, in distress, with that which will not fail; the promise of God, his love and grace, and a well-grounded hope of eternal life. See how Job reconciles himself to the grave. Let this make believers willing to die; it is but going to bed; they are weary, and it is time that they were in their beds. Why should not they go willingly when their Father calls them? Let us remember our bodies are allied to corruption, the worm and the dust; and let us seek for that lively hope which shall be fulfilled, when the hope of the wicked shall be put out in darkness; that when our bodies are in the grave, our souls may enjoy the rest reserved for the people of God. – Matthew Henry

The grace of hope which is in the follower’s heart, even though sometimes it may not be noticeable at any moment in time and maybe not even exercised at the appropriate times, can never be lost.  It is an anchor, keeps us sure and strong, always abiding, never disappointing and does not make us ashamed.  Our object of this hope is in eternal glory and happiness in another world – heaven – whom we are all looking forward to.  So what in this world, what comfort or hope in this world could match such a gift?  Why would I go to someone and encourage them in this way – hope of an outward happiness or having prosperity, family, friends – there is no place for these things in sustaining us and keeping us.  Cherishing the things of this world has no foundation to eternal life – one cannot build such a hope.

I was reading a new blog today that I started to follow.  It will be a story of someone who has suffered a stroke and has a lot of difficulty moving forward.  He talks about the support of his family and friends, but he wonders that it would have been better if he had just died and there would be none of this pain he is going through.  He is trying not to be consumed by his helpless situation or frustrated or impatient in his healing process.  He has some friends though that are better than Job’s friends.  They come and bring him hope that comes from God.  They come to tell him that God has a plan, that he is growing as a follower of Christ, and changing every day.  He is reminded to be appreciative of every single thing that he usually has ignored.  He ends up praising God and acknowledges that when the moments come when he momentarily lays aside his hope that God will hold him. So he is beginning to trust Him more. A great testimony indeed.

If I look for Sheol as my house, if I spread my couch in darkness,  if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’  where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?  Will it go down to the bars of Sheol? Shall we descend together into the dust?” – Job 17:13-16

My Hope – Hillsong (with Lyrics/Subtitles) (Worship Song)