Follow Me: Matthew 9:9-13

‘ Follow me’, Jesus says to Matthew. Matthew immediately follows him without excuse or delay, and with no indications of regret. It is likely Matthew already knew of Jesus by reputation. Jesus knew his heart, and knew he was ready to give up the life he had known. Unlike fishing, tax collecting was not a profession to which he could return.

Matthew introduces Jesus to his acquaintances and friends at dinner and it is likely this event made a great impression on them as not only had their friend left his profitable profession, but a famous teacher was dining with them as well, something unheard of, teachers didn’t spend time with their sort. They were probably well acquainted with the sneers, poor eye contact, and lack of respect from the Pharisees. Jesus clearly was different, no ordinary teacher. He cared for them, the tax collectors and sinners.

The Pharisees, elevating their reputations and the opinion of others above God, could not understand this. They could not understand why Jesus would spend time with sinners instead of courting their favor. Their own sinful pride blocked them from understanding Jesus when he said, ‘ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’

For one of the Pharisees to have said, ‘ follow me,’ to someone would have demanded that that person work very hard to imitate them and obsequiously grovel to please them, they would have had to ‘get their life right’ before a Pharisee would say, ‘ follow me.’ Jesus in sharp contrast calls Matthew when he is in the midst of his sin.

When Jesus says ‘ follow me,’ he does not expect me to have my life in order. He just expects me to follow him, and he will transform me as I follow. As I follow him there will be a sense of peace. If worry, tension, and anxiety are present, I have followed someone else.

Read Matthew 9:9-13

  1. Can I hear ‘ follow me’, and do I know Jesus from reading his word, reflecting on his character, and praying to him?
  2. Can I recognize his ‘ follow me?’ Is there enough quiet time in my life that I am able to hear him?
  3. When Jesus says, ‘ follow me,’ what do I worry about giving up? Why?
  4. Is the ‘ follow me’ coming from him or from someone else, or some other movement, or some group, or some trend?
  5. Are there some professions that I consider unclean or lowly or think those people are less important or valuable than me? Why?
  6. From where does true righteousness come?
  7. What groups favor have I tried to court or wished they would say ‘ follow me?’ Have I placed their opinion above that of God?
  8. How has pride blinded me to truth in the past? What is the cure for this?

Passage for Meditation

For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. Matthew 9:13b

Prayer

As I hear you say to me, ‘ follow me,’ help me to unhesitatingly follow and not look back. As others say ‘ follow me,’ help me to remember who I follow and protect me from those who seek to use and manipulate me. Forgive me when I have thoughts that exclude others or cause me to view them as less valuable. Transform me to see them as you see them. Drive me to prayer whenever I begin to think too highly of myself.

 

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