Episode 169: Follow Me
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. (Mark 2:13)
If you know anything about what it meant to be a Jewish tax collector like Levi. You know it was a despised profession. Tax collectors in general were despised for the oppression of the Jewish people. Being a Jewish tax collector meant you had purposely turned your back on your people. They were even considered in a class lower than sinners. Even to be associated with a Jewish tax collector was a scandal unless you were also part of that profession. These people were the lowest of the low by Jewish standards.
Yet when Jesus passed by, He didn’t condemn Levi. Jesus didn’t go over and berate Levi. There were no insults, no scripture to correct his poor choices, no harsh words, and no judgement. Jesus knew exactly who Levi was, what he did, and how despised his life choices were. He had every right and authority to shame Levi and condemn him in front of everyone. Instead, Jesus did the unimaginable and asked Levi to follow Him. Levi took a very bold step when he got up from his booth and followed Jesus. He not only walked away from his job that paid him very well, he walked away from the thing that identified him to the world an into a new life with Jesus.
The wonderful thing about Jesus is that He sees all of us the same way He saw Levi and has the same response. He doesn’t condemn and berate us for living in our own tax booth of a sinful life. Jesus simply calls us to follow Him away from our old identity and into a new life with Him. He sees all of our mistakes, all of our bad choices, all of the pain we have caused ourselves and others and reaches out a hand to us with an invitation to leave it all behind and follow Him.
I love the phrase, “He saw Levi.” I believe the passage purposely mentions Levi’s name before his profession because that’s how Jesus sees him. Jesus sees the person, not the profession. Jesus saw Levi, the individual, a human in need of a savior and spoke to him. Take comfort in knowing this is how Jesus sees us. He sees through all of the accusations and titles anyone could put on us to see the individual in need of a savior. Jesus offers us the same opportunity He offered Levi. He simply bids us to follow Him.
Levi got up out of his old life and followed Jesus. In doing so he found the redemption and even got to tell his story in the Bible in the book we know as the Gospel according to Matthew. Let us be a people who get up from the tax collector’s booth we have built in our lives in response to Jesus and follow Him. Let the redemption found in Jesus allow us to not only have a new life but write our own chapter of the good news, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Love Y’all! Be Blessed!