Summary: “A call that changes everything brings a new direction and a new hope for the future in our service for our Lord"
A CALL THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING
Proposition: “A call that changes everything brings a new .direction and a new hope for the future in our service for our Lord"
Objective: My purpose is to challenge to seriously consider making a proper response to a call that can change everything in one’s spiritual life.
There are many things that call us. Telephone calls beckon us, doorbells solicit us, and babies cry for our attention. The alarm clock calls us to begin a new day, the boss calls us to his office, the customer calls with an order, an e-mail calls us with a question. We are called to visit our relatives, to share a dinner with our friends, and to visit our children’s school. Some feel those calls they can’t refuse – the appeal to go fishing, go to the beach, or to go skiing in the mountains. But how many of us take time to hear the spiritual call that God sends us?
In this short section of scripture we see how Christ called one of His follow-ers. The twelve apostles were not noteworthy men. They did not have special talents, training, or education. They were common people of their time. And yet Jesus selected them for the most important work ever undertaken. All those who choose to follow Christ do so because they are called. There are many changes that can happen in one’s life as a result. One old man who was among the first ever to hear the gospel in his own language told a missionary: "When you shared with me, my heart said, ’That’s it! That’s what I’ve been waiting for!’" said Bill Bullington, leader of our International Mission Board work in the West Africa region.
First a leper, then a paralytic, and now a tax collector! If Jesus were running for public office he ought to be more careful about the company he is keeping. But Jesus has a higher mission than popularity: "to proclaim freedom to the prisoners, recovery of sight to the blind, and to heal the brokenhearted" (4:18), and the needy aren’t always clean or respectable.
Wiersbe writes, “When Jesus called Levi, He accomplished three things: He saved a lost soul; He added a new disciple to His band; and He created an opportunity to explain His ministry to Levi’s friends and to the scribes and the Pharisees.” This is what Christ can do when make a proper response to our Lord Jesus Christ. Levi was a Jewish tax collector for the Roman government. Such men were hated by their fellow-Jews, not only because of this collaboration with Rome, but because of their dishonest practices. One day while Levi was at work, Jesus passed by and invited him to become His follower. With amazing promptness, Levi left all, rose up, and followed Him.
I. THE CHALLENGE (vvs. 27-28) “Follow Me”—This represents the commitment needed to become a follower of Jesus Christ, as is clear in 5:32.
1. The insight “He went out”—This was at the end of the teaching-healing event. It is not surprising that out of an uncomfortably crowded house the Master directed His steps to the refreshing breezes of the seashore where Jesus calls Levi according to Mark (2:13-14).
2. The information “a tax collector named Levi”—He encountered Levi (identical with Matthew )(Matt. 9:9). Taxes on goods transported along the caravan road were levied by Herod’s agents, of whom Matthew was one. Rome collected three principal kinds of taxes, (1) a land tax, (2) a head tax, and (3) a customs tax of 2% to 5% of value on goods being transported. A tax office or booth would be located near a city gate or port to collect the custom tax, though liability for this tax would have been primarily limited to those engaging in commercial trade to other areas. This was usually on main roads at the edge of towns. There he collects taxes from farmers, merchants & caravans. They were hated because they collected taxes for the Roman government. In social and religious life they were ranked by the ordinary Jew with prostitutes and others who rejected the Jewish Law and customs.
3. The invitation “Follow Me”—“Follow” means “to come after.” The Christian life can be summarized in these commands: “Come unto Me,” “Follow Me” & “Abide in Me.” "You are not in charge…" "You don’t set the direction… "You are subordinate in importance… "You don’t know the best way …" "You must leave what you once were…" "You must move from the spot you now occupy…" "You must pay close attention to where I’m going…" "You must imitate what you see me do…" "You must pay close attention to ME!" "You must attach yourself to me and be at my disposal!" "You are not building your own kingdom, your own private world, you are committed to my goals and directions…" "You must pay close attention to me, fix your gaze on where I am and where I go…" "You must not shrink back from reaching the place I reach…" "You will pay the cost that I pay and suffer the pain that I suffer…" "You must never substitute me for someone else or something else…" "FOLLOW ME!" Jesus never watered down his words. He spoke them with force.