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The Call of Matthew

9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.

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Mt 9:9-13. Matthew's Call and Feast. ( = Mr 2:14-17; Lu 5:27-32).

The Call of Matthew (Mt 9:9).

9. And as Jesus passed forth from thence—that is, from the scene of the paralytic's cure in Capernaum, towards the shore of the Sea of Galilee, on which that town lay. Mark, as usual, pictures the scene more in detail, thus (Mr 2:13): "And He went forth again by the seaside; and all the multitude resorted unto Him, and He taught them"—or, "kept teaching them." "And as He passed by"

he saw a man, named Matthew—the writer of this precious Gospel, who here, with singular modesty and brevity, relates the story of his own calling. In Mark and Luke he is called Levi, which seems to have been his family name. In their lists of the twelve apostles, however, Mark and Luke give him the name of Matthew, which seems to have been the name by which he was known as a disciple. While he himself sinks his family name, he is careful not to sink his occupation, the obnoxious associations with which he would place over against the grace that called him from it, and made him an apostle. (See on Mt 10:3). Mark alone tells us (Mr 2:14) that he was "the son of Alphæus"—the same, probably, with the father of James the Less. From this and other considerations it is pretty certain that he must at least have heard of our Lord before this meeting. Unnecessary doubts, even from an early period, have been raised about the identity of Levi and Matthew. No capable jury, with the evidence before them which we have in the Gospels, would hesitate in giving a unanimous verdict of identity.

sitting at the receipt of custom—as a publican, which Luke (Lu 5:27) calls him. It means the place of receipt, the toll house or booth in which the collector sat. Being in this case by the seaside, it might be the ferry tax for the transit of persons and goods across the lake, which he collected. (See on Mt 5:46).

and he saith unto him, Follow me—Witching words these, from the lips of Him who never employed them without giving them resistless efficacy in the hearts of those they were spoken to.

And he—"left all" (Lu 5:28), "arose and followed him."