Luke 5:27, 28
And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said to him, Follow me.…
Who can fail to be struck with -
I. THE COMMANDING AUTHORITY OF CHRIST. It will be observed that he speaks in the imperative; not "Wouldest thou," but "Do thou follow me!" He speaks, also, unconditionally, absolutely, not "Follow me if or when," but simply and without reserve, "Follow me!" Consider what large consequences would result from Matthew's choice - the complete breaking up of his old life, the forsaking of his old pursuits and of his old friends, the entering an entirely new sphere of thought and action. Yet Matthew appears to have recognized the right of Jesus Christ to make this demand of him. Must he not have acted under Divine illumination and guidance to decide so promptly and so wisely? So authoritatively and unconditionally the Saviour comes to us and summons us to his service. His claim rests on incontestable facts which prove him to be the Son of God who has a sovereign right thus to address us, to be the Son of man whose life of love and whose death of shame entitle him to ask the most and the best of us.
II. THE MEANING OF OUR SAVIOUR'S CALL, The form of service our Master desires of us when he bids us follow him is obviously different from that he asked of Matthew. What does he want of us? What is the precise thing he requires us to do? Taking, as we should take, one passage with another, we answer that he desires us to come into the closest possible union which a human spirit can sustain to the Divine; or, more specifically, he wants us cordially to accept him for all that he offers to be to our soul - to accept him as our Teacher from whom we learn all needful truth, as our Saviour in whose redeeming work we trust for God's abounding mercy, as our Lord to whom we dedicate our powers and our days, as our Divine Friend and Refuge in whom we hide.
III. THE EXCELLENCY OF AN IMMEDIATE RESPONSE. Matthew did well that he "left all, rose up, and followed him." Had he waited for another occasion, he would have been more entangled in human relationships and worldly interests; he might never have had so direct and personal an appeal made to him. As it was, by forsaking all to follow Christ, he lost a profitable calling and a company of friends; but what did he find instead?
1. The protection and friendship of Jesus Christ.
2. A new and nobler manhood, an exalted life.
3. The esteem and the gratitude of the Church of Christ for all time to come.
4. Eternal blessedness in the future. And so with us; when the Master comes and calls us, as he may do in one of a number of ways, we act most wisely when we immediately respond.
(1) We lose the least that can be lost.
(2) We make sure of the heritage which the truly wise are determined to gain. Jesus of Nazareth is "passing by;" we must avail ourselves of his offer while opportunity allows.
(3) We gain immeasurable good - peace of mind, blessed consciousness of the favour and friendship of God, spiritual rectitude, a life that is worthy of our origin and our capacities, a hope that maketh not ashamed. That was a supreme hour to Matthew, the crisis of his life: who shall say how soon we may reach the supreme and critical hour of our career? Blessed are they who recognize it when it comes, and who come forth from it having "laid hold on eternal life." - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.