“As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.” Matthew 9:9
Just like that. Got up and followed him. Left everything and followed Jesus. Wow. Today is the Feast Day of St Matthew. When I think about the apostles and how they just up and left everything, their jobs, their livelihood and their families, I always wonder, what did they see exactly? To just go off and follow someone like that. What did they see in Jesus to react in such a way? I think it would have been amazing to have been there, to have heard Him, to have seen the miracles, to have lived with Him for three years. But what amazes me the most is their initial reaction… how they just saw Him, left everything and followed him. That just blows my mind.
This makes me think of my own conversion. How I started to follow Jesus back in 2004 ‘just like that.’ Sure, there were things that were catalysts to my conversion (the movie The Passion of the Christ for one) but I am still amazed that I am even on this journey. I am baffled that I am a follower of Christ. I was so far from God back then… a big time sinner, indifferent to Christianity, an obnoxious, selfish foul-mouthed party girl …. but by His grace I was set on fire with a desire to know him. A total Holy Spirit doing. I became a follower… just like that.
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus was eating with tax collectors and sinners and the Pharisees asked why he eats with such people. Jesus’ response, “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners” (Matt 9:13). I was (am) a sinner and Jesus called me (and continues to call) … and I responded. I am still blown away that I responded. That I am here. That I am on fire … and desire to know Him better. It’s crazy. It’s bizarre. It’s so out of character for (the old) me. And yet…. It’s wonderful. Praise be to God.
On this Feast day of St Matthew let us thank God for his grace and mercy. If he can call St Matthew, a man who all despised to be one of Christ’s followers, we know that we too can be called to follow Him. I am just grateful and thankful that somehow I heard (deep down inside my heart) and I followed.
Christ calls everyone. Are you listening? Will you follow?
Maybe it was easier that they saw Him … but “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29