And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said to him, Follow me.…
Matthew is of the number of those saints who, once living in sin, gained heaven by perfect repentance. As a true penitent he deserves our veneration, which we shall best exhibit by learning from his life what we should do, and what avoid, in order to gain heaven.
I. THE OCCUPATION OF MATTHEW BEFORE HIS CONVERSION.
1. The occupation of a money-changer, which is perilous.
2. The trade of a usurer, which is vicious.
3. The office of a toll-collector, which was odious.
II. THE SUPPER PREPARED BY MATTHEW FOR THE LORD.
1. The reasons for which he prepared it.
(1) To show his true joy, and to give an evidence of his willingness to forsake all things and to follow Jesus.
(2) He would do the little He could, in order to gain the love of Jesus.
(3) To give other publicans an opportunity of becoming acquainted with Jesus.
2. The reasons for which Jesus accepted the invitation to the supper.
(1) To afford pleasure to Matthew, to encourage and reward him.
(2) To exhort also other publicans, and to give them grace.
3. The reasons for which the Pharisees grumbled, and reprimanded the disciples.
(1) To deceive the disciples, by making them distrust their Master, and to turn them from Jesus.
(2) Because they envied Jesus.
III. THE HONOURS OF ST. MATTHEW AFTER HIS CONVERSION.
1. He became an apostle.
2. An evangelist.
3. A martyr.LESSONS.
1. Let sinners learn from St. Matthew conversion without delay.
2. Let the converted learn from him zeal.
3. Let the zealous learn from him perseverence.
(Laselve.)Great honour was put upon the simple work of the fisherman, and the keen pursuits of the custom-house, when Christ chose of fishermen and publicans to become His first disciples and His apostles. His parables, also, cast the same reflection of honour on all honest work. Let us then ask how our common business in warehouses and shops may bring glory to Christ.
I. IN BUSINESS MAY BE FOUND A SERVICE FOR CHRIST. May be found; but, alas! sometimes it is lost; often it is not even sought.
II. WE MUST NOT THINE TOO MUCH OF DAILY WORK, and set too great a price on it.
III. WE SHALL SEEK TO GIVE OF THE FRUITS OF OUR TRADING TO CHRIST. All we spend may be spent with express thought of Him; but to make full proof of our ministry, we shall seek for special expenditure in works of Christian philanthropy.
IV. WE SHALL BE WILLING TO GIVE UP, NOT ONLY THE FRUITS OF DAILY WORK, BUT DAILY WORE ITSELF, FOR CHRIST. It is not only to ministers that Christ says "Follow Me." Others also are called to self-sacrifice. To say that business keeps me from Sunday-school teaching, or that business keeps me from visiting the sorrowful, and taking help to the needy, may not be a plea that ever covers neglect in the sight of our great Master, Christ. His word may be, "Then have less business. Follow Me." It is possible that God calls one and another to make some sacrifice of apparent opportunities of making money, in order that there may be more time for spiritual service. Willingness to make sacrifice for Christ is essential to true discipleship.
(T. Gascoigne, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.