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Will You Follow Jesus?

June 12, 2023

Will You Follow Jesus?

Will You Follow Jesus?

By Brooke Holt

“As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.” Matthew 9:9

Think about someone in your life who you simply can’t imagine following Jesus. Maybe this person is an adamant atheist or a devout Muslim. Now picture that person as the one Jesus calls to follow him in this passage. In the mind of a Jewish person of that day, no one was less likely to be picked to follow Jesus than a tax collector. Once again, you see Jesus’ plans and agendas often do not match the plans of people.

You probably dislike paying your taxes. You could put that money to better use elsewhere. The people in Jesus’ day felt even more loathsome about taxes and especially tax collectors. Taxes were paid to Rome, and the amounts were ambiguous. One always incurred taxes on property and animals, but one also could incur taxes on simple belongings such as carts and even additional fees based on the number of wheels on the cart. Tax collectors had the authority to determine all of the details.

While often robbing common people of their hard-earned money, the tax collectors became quite wealthy! These men paid a certain share of their collections to Rome and then pocketed the rest. The more devious their taxation policies, the more money they took home each day. No wonder the Jews under Roman rule despised this occupation! The Jews so hated the occupation that tax collectors were not allowed to attend synagogue or any other Jewish function. If a Jewish person became a tax collector, their family and their community disowned them.

Matthew sits in his tax booth disowned by family and forbidden in the synagogue. Matthew, a Jewish tax collector, is equally corrupt as any other tax collector and thus just as despised. Ironically, the name Matthew means “gift from God”. The Jews do not consider Matthew a gift of any kind. But Jesus knew exactly who Matthew was and who he was to become.

As he walked by the tax booth, Jesus called Matthew to follow him. Can you imagine the shock of Matthew and anyone else listening? Why would Jesus, a Jewish teacher, call a wretched tax collector to follow him? Call that amazing grace! Jesus saw people fully immersed in sin but did not leave them there. Instead, he saw beyond the sin.

Matthew was chosen and set apart to follow Jesus, and it is just what he did. Matthew didn’t question or hesitate: “And he rose and followed him” (verse 9). In doing so, Matthew discovered his true calling, a much better career path, riches not of this world, and a restored relationship with the Lord.

Jesus would do the same for you today. No matter what you are doing or not doing, he sees you and knows you. He sees who you are today and more importantly he knows who you are to become. Simply you can find no greater joy than leaving everything behind to follow your Lord and Savior!


Imagine Jesus walking by you today and speaking these same words, “Follow me”. How do you respond? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Recommended Resource:

Pilgrim's Path

Follow the ancient way of the Psalms and find the life God has for you. A model for vibrant worship, the Psalms provide practical wisdom to traverse the circuitous path of life with trust and hope. Pilgrim’s Path: A Study of the Psalms traces our spiritual walk with God—from discovery and delight, through doubt and disappointment, into joyful confidence. Whether used for individual or group study, Pilgrim’s Path is for everyone who seeks to know and love God more and find life in him.


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