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In Lk. 5:27-32, Jesus was calling another disciple, who later became one of His twelve apostles. It appears that when our Lord call Levi (Matthew) that he was willing to demonstrate his conviction by leaving all and following Jesus. Luke records that Levi then had a large "dinner party" for Jesus in his house, where there attended a great crowd of tax-gathers and others. The Pharisees, being separatists, noted Jesus' presence and grumbled and criticized Jesus' actions. The Lord's answer to them was that a physician is for sick people not healthy ones and repentance (which was the message He preached) was for sinners, not the righteous. In this short account I believe we find some valuable lessons to meditate upon and learn from.
First of all, we see an example of a sincere heart that has the spiritual stamina to last a lifetime. No matter how he appears to us at first meeting as a tax collector, Levi's proper attitude of heart and desire is shown clearly by his actions. Please note, when Jesus called, Levi "left everything." He didn't ask to bury his father, say good-bye, or anything else. And considering his profession when he left everything he left some degree of power and potential wealth. Nevertheless he left it all.
Secondly, he did not stop with walking away from carnal pursuits, he "began to follow Him." That is, he spent time with Jesus, listened to His teaching and began to lay down his path toward an eternal home in heaven. He was not like some who try to change their lives by turning away from sinful activities, but then, never put anything positive into their lives to take the place of those activities. Levi began to follow Jesus so that he could fill his heart and life with the teachings of the Master.
The last thing that we will mention that illustrates Levi's most excellent mind-set is the fact that not only did he set himself to follow Jesus, but he immediately invited a crowd of co-workers and acquaintances to come and meet Jesus also. He didn't just wish his friends and co-workers well, he launched into action. He invited his friends to come and meet Jesus and he arranged the situation so they could do so. Many today are also learning the value and pleasure of inviting others into their home to meet Jesus in individual studies or group studies. In doing this they are imitating the sincerity of Levi.
Getting our attitude set for spiritual growth, going into action to accomplish that goal, and then actively sharing with friends and co-workers -- this has been the way to make disciples from the earliest days and continues until now.
By Carl McMurray via. Gospel Power, Vol. 13, No. 15, April 9, 2006.
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