Unlikely Disciples

“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.”

Matthew 9:9 NLT

Matthew was the seventh disciple to receive a direct invitation from Jesus to “Follow Me,” at least as far as we know. 

First, Andrew and John.  Then Peter.  Then Philip and Nathanael.  Somewhere along the way, James as well.  And now Matthew. 

Because Luke tells us in Acts 1 that a requirement for being an Apostle was to have been with Jesus from the time of His baptism, we can assume that Matthew was a curious onlooker in the crowd, there when John the Baptist preached and baptized. 

It’s interesting reading this account in all three synoptic Gospels.  Matthew is the only one who calls himself Matthew.  Both Mark and Luke identify him as Levi, son of Alphaeus.  I wonder if, as He had done with Peter, Jesus gave Matthew a new name?  “Levi, son of Alphaeus, from now on I will call you Matthew.”  If so, it’s a powerful message that Matthew chose to identify himself by his new name, his new identity “in Christ.”

“So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.”

Luke 5:28 NLT

It’s a simple statement, but it speaks volumes.  “Left everything.”  Andrew, Peter, James, and John had also “left everything” to become “fishers of people.”  I think at this point, Matthew already believed Jesus was the Messiah.  He believed the testimony of John the Baptist.  With his tax territory being Capernaum, on a trade route, Levi would have collected a lot of taxes and amassed a lot of wealth.  But being in Capernaum, he would have also seen or at least heard of the message and the miracles of Jesus the Messiah.  He would have never imagined he’d be invited to be a disciple, but he certainly could have already been a believer.  

Matthew saw the other “unlikely” followers of Jesus and jumped at the opportunity to be His disciple. 

Matthew wanted his friends to join him as “unlikely” followers of Jesus. 

“Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.)”

Mark 2:15 NLT

What an amazing picture!!!  There were many people “of this kind” among Jesus’ followers.  I’m so glad that Jesus still invites people “of this kind” to be His followers!

He has invited me.  

Like hiss original followers, I’m glad to be numbered among the “ordinary idiots” that Jesus calls and uses.

NOTE:Today’s blogpost is based upon Sonlife’s study, Knowing Him / A 50 Day Study in the Life of Christ / Day 25

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