Let’s Follow the Master, Entry # 21

Luca Giordano
Naples; 1634-1705
The Calling of St. Matthew, c. 1685
oil on canvas; 78.5 x 100.5 inches

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, 

“Follow me.” 

And he rose and followed him.”

Matthew 9:9

Another “tax collector.” (Why won’t Jesus ever learn?) It really does seem that He has a definite preference for the scum and the outcast. For some very odd reason that’s the sort of person He likes. But really, do we dare question His wisdom in this? Do we think we have a right to pass judgement on Jesus’ choices?

I have to think that Jesus is showing us His deep fondness for the ‘ungodly.’ Tax-collectors, egads!!!! I don’t really understand, until I consider my own ‘wretched’ life. Until Jesus comes to me, calling me, I will continue to set in my dreary booth, taking money from other dreary people.

So what does it really mean to really follow Jesus?

I think of Matthew, a wicked man who has no qualms about betraying his people for money. It’s always been odd to me, that Matthew’s name meant “pure.” (What were his parents thinking? Maybe they grasped his future destiny as an apostle? IDK.) But I am certain that Matthew’s call to follow meant he had to leave something ‘behind.’

We follow Jesus. We’ve accepted the call that we must turn away from our past life. We’ve left behind all the money and just walked away from our table. We understand that we can’t bring it along; we have renounced its claim on us.

Following Him means taking up our “cross,” and everything that it might entail. We really do need to leave it all behind. What a deal, huh?

“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Mark 8:34


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