Follow Me (2)

Continuing with our initial meditation on the invitation of Jesus to ‘FOLLOW ME’, let us consider two other occasions, when this invitation was given to those who became disciples.

If you were given the opportunity to choose a band of people to become your followers, I suspect, like me, you would probably be drawn to the best of men and women. You would want them to be responsible, honest, trustworthy and popular. You would also hope that your needs would be of the utmost importance to them. On one occasion, a man said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, I will FOLLOW You wherever You go’. Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man (Himself) has nowhere to lay His head’. Another of His followers said, ‘Let me first go and bury my father’. But Jesus said to him, ‘FOLLOW ME, and let the dead bury their own dead’, Matthew chapter 8 verses 18-22. Jesus was making it clear to these two men that sacrifices had to be made if they were to be true followers of Him. We are not told whether they were prepared to make these sacrifices; however, we go on to meet a most unlikely man, who did.

Matthew (or Levi) was one of the most unpopular men of the day. He collected taxes from the people on behalf of the occupying Roman Empire. He was everything that you would not want in a FOLLOWER. Like most tax collectors, in all probability he was unpopular, ruthless, dishonest and a thief; yet, Jesus said to him, ‘FOLLOW ME’. His response would have astounded us, had we been there: ‘So he arose and FOLLOWED HIM’, Matthew chapter 9 verse 9! Soon after, Jesus was sitting in his house, surrounded by tax collectors and sinners. In the face of fierce criticism from religious leaders for doing so, He replied, ‘For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’, Matthew chapter 9 verse 13. It was repentant sinners, who became His followers and the same holds true today.