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
The hereafter to which the end of life is the narrow portal shall more than fulfil all thy expectations. Take Christ for your Saviour, and Master, and then swift-footed time may work His will; when this wide earth and all its fleeting scenes will change, you will be brought to the fulfilment of all your hopes, receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (A. Maclaren, D.D.)
You can be confident in the authority of God’s Word that there is an end to every problem and every challenge that confronts you. You can also be confident that your hope will not be in vain. There will be an end to affliction, failure, worry, anxiety, disappointment, poverty, debt, and insufficiency and their will be a fulfillment of your hope in God.
When we are concerned about tomorrow, we lose our hope in life and are terrified. Hope begins when we answer the question – where are we going?
Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always continue in the fear of the Lord. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.– Proverbs 23:17-18
I remember the story of the Ethiopian evangelist very well. This farmer received Christ after a SIM missionary shared the gospel with his village. This farmer decided to take the gospel to other unreached villages that SIM would have no access too. He gave his life, soul, and blood with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. One day he became very ill. He found his way to the SIM hospital and was healed. My emotions were running so high – I felt the incredible need for a healing and there was a hospital that could heal.
Now I feel the same when Jesus declared that the sick are the ones that need to be healed and that He came to do exactly that.
What love Jesus has for us sinners. Remember Levi, the tax collector that caused Jesus to make this statement in the first place. He was of a hated corporate class of people – yet Jesus called him to follow. He suffered the scorn of the Pharisees – yet Jesus accepted the invitation to sit down with him for dinner. He was excluded from all religious fellowship – yet Jesus called him a child of God, healed.
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 he got up, left everything, and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.” – Luke 5:27-32
What to Do When Hope Deferred Makes Your Heart Sick