Matthew Follows Jesus

Week 33, Section 47 a,b

Summary: This week our study challenges us to consider not only what we might need to leave behind in order to follow Jesus, but also the grace of God to every person no matter how proficient or profane a sinner we might be.  It also indicates that each individual also brings a certain value to God’s eternal purpose – for Matthew was most likely more wealthy and educated than the other 11 apostles.  To those discipling others the power of Jesus’ words to the pharisees at the close of our story should cause us reason to pause, examine our own lives in humility given the purity of God’s righteousness.

Harmony Bible Radio

Matthew 9:9-13 Mark 2:13-17 Luke 5:27-32 John
9 As Jesus passed by from there, he saw a man called Matthewa sitting at the tax collection office. He said to him, “Follow me.”b He got up and followed him. 10 As he sat in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw it, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”c 12 When Jesus heard it, he said to them,“Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick do. 13  But you go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”d 13 He went out again by the seaside. All the multitude came to him, and he taught them. 14 As he passed by, he saw Levia, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the tax office, and he said to him,“Follow me.”b And he arose and followed him. 15 He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners sat down with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many, and they followed him. 16 The scribes and the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why is it that he eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?c 17 When Jesus heard it, he said to them,“Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”d 27 After these things he went out, and saw a tax collector named Levia sitting at the tax office, and said to him, “Follow me!”b 28 He left everything, and rose up and followed him. 29 Levi made a great feast for him in his house. There was a great crowd of tax collectors and others who were reclining with them. 30 Their scribes and the Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?”c 31 Jesus answered them, “Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick do. 32  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”d No Record Provided

** Our online text is from the World English Bible, rights to use this format are granted by Michael Johnson. If you would like to obtain a copy of Thomas & Gundry’s Harmony of the Gospels (NIV) in our exclusive letter-size, loose-leaf PDF, then please contact us via email or phone.    

Study Notes:

Matthew was a Galilean Jew, working for the Roman government as a tax collector, so Matthew wasn’t liked very well by his countrymen. Since during this time the Romans ruled Israel politically, most people considered it treachery for a Jew to work in such a position. Matthews Jewish name was Levi (Mk 2:14,15; Lk. 5:27-29) and he was probably given the Greek name Matthew which means after he became a disciple. After perhaps fifteen years he went out as a missionary. History makes it clear that he went into Persia, and perhaps to the Ethiopia in Africa as taught in Catholic tradition. It is said that Matthew was martyred in Egypt upon his return from Ethiopia but this is not certain. Another tradition asserts that Matthew was martyred in Parthia.
“Follow me” its a foreign concept and difficult discipline for those who want to be in control of their life. IT literally means to follow, and also means to become a disciple, learning from the master, and ascribe allegiance.  View the BLB lexicon to read several more places in scripture that use the same term <follow>.
c The pharisees strictly followed the Levitical law and expected other to do so too – especially Jesus who had recently called himself the “son of man” a title that indicated his being the Messiah.
d Hosea 6:6 (BLB)

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Song:  “Things we leave behind” by Michael Card