Jesus Calls All Types:
“Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them. As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.”
Jesus saw Levi. In Matthew it says, ‘Jesus saw a man named Matthew.’ Luke says that He went out and saw a tax collector, Levi…
A tax collector.
Matthew (or Levi).
Let’s pause at this ‘He saw’ for a second – Jesus saw him. It’s a simple word, eido in the greek, and means to be aware and have knowledge of. Now, when Jesus sees us, He has much greater insight than we do when we see someone, are aware of them. Jesus did not just see a man, a tax collector. Remember, Jesus sees right through to the heart. He saw a future author of one of the gospels, Jesus saw a man looking for more, and ready to make a commitment.
When Jesus sees you, He really sees you. So don’t be afraid to come to Him with everything, because He already knows. He knows your hopes and fears, your strengths and weaknesses. He already sees, and he knows you better than you know yourself. For some people, it might be uncomfortable to think about that. They know the hidden thoughts, the dark side, the pride – I certainly know mine. But Jesus doesn’t just see – he changes.
Oh, one more thing before we move on to Jesus’ call, Luke does not use this word, eido – be aware of. In fact, it’s the ONLY time in the gospel of Luke he doesn’t simply say ‘saw’. Luke 5:27 uses the word ‘theomai’ – which means to look closely at, to perceive. It’s compared to another word ‘optomai’ that means to gaze, signifying an earnest inspection.
Can you picture it? The noise of the city, the multitude of people following Jesus, and as He passes by this insignificant tax collector, Jesus stops and looks intently at him. Maybe Levi wasn’t even looking up from his work, maybe he was busy with papers and money, and felt someone staring at him. But whatever the details, he looks up into the eyes of the Son of God, and hears His calling.
“So he arose and followed Him.”
Luke mentions that he left all. when Jesus peers into our souls and calls us to follow, why respond in any other way? What an example Matthew gives us: he sees Jesus, he hears, he follows. And Jesus gives this call to all people (Matthew 11:28) “Come to Me, all you who labor…” and (John 7:37) “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” I’ve heard the Spirit call me, and there is nothing I would rather do. Not all people in the Bible responded with this immediate commitment, and the same is true now. Remember the man in Matthew 8:21-22:
“Then another of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’
This sounds pretty fanatical and harsh. As I looked into what some scholars might have to say about this, I came across a great sermon (read the entire sermon HERE) from Bethany Bible church that is worth an entire read, but here is the quote I want to point out right now: “Jesus’ answer suggests that other people could have attended to the man’s father – whatever the concerns of his father might have been. But the man’s divided loyalties, and his failure to make a break from the earthly concerns that held him, brought him to another crises of following.” You mean Jesus is supposed to be more important than family even? More important than the things we have in our earthly lives? So when these different disciples that left all and followed – Matthew, Peter, John, Andrew – they made Jesus the most important of all?
Jesus calls all types, yes. God calls us, each and everyone one of us. The challenging part is that He calls for all of who you are as well. And a sincere response is to follow Him with everything.