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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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Matthew 9:9. Jesus saw a man sitting at the customhouse. The custom-house has usually been a place noted for plundering and for unjust exactions, and was at that time particularly infamous. In the choice of Matthew out of that place, not only to be admitted into the family of Christ, but even to be called to the office of Apostle, we have a striking instance of the grace of God. It was the intention of Christ to choose simple and ignorant persons to that rank, in order to cast down the wisdom of the world, (1 Corinthians 2:6.) But this publican, who followed an occupation little esteemed and involved in many abuses, was selected for additional reasons, that he might be an example of Christ’s undeserved goodness, and might show in his person that the calling of all of us depends, not on the merits of our own righteousness, but on his pure kindness. Matthew, therefore, was not only a witness and preacher, but was also a proof and illustration of the grace exhibited in Christ. he gives evidence of his gratitude in not being ashamed to hand down for perpetual remembrance the record of what he formerly was, and whence he was taken, that he might more fully illustrate in his person the grace of Christ. In the same manner Paul says:

This is a faithful saying, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief, (1 Timothy 1:15.)

As to Mark and Luke calling him Levi, it appears that this was his ordinary name:517517     “Il est aise a voir que c'estoit son droit nom par lequel les gens du pays l’appeloyent;” — “it is easy to see that it was his right name, by which the people of the country called him.” but that his being a publican was the reason why he took a foreign name.

Follow me There is no reason to doubt that Christ explained in many words why he was called, and on what conditions. This is more fully ascertained from Luke, who says, that he left all, rose up, and followed Christ: for it would not have been necessary for him to leave all, if he had not been a private disciple of Christ, and called in expectation of the Apostleship. In the great readiness and eagerness of Matthew to obey, we see the Divine power of the word of Christ. Not that all in whose ears he utters his voice are equally affected in their hearts: but in this man Christ intended to give a remarkable example, that we might know that his calling was not from man.518518     “Qu’il n’a pas este appele par un moyen procedant de l’homme;” — “that he was not called by a method proceeding from man.”




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