Jesus Calls Matthew

Jesus’ call to Matthew followed by his instant and swift response gives us much to learn on following Jesus. He was ready to leave everything immediately and follow. He seals his choice with a celebration feast to introduce all his friends to Jesus.


Matt 9:9-13 ; Mark 2:13-17; Luke 5:27-32


Jesus Calls

Matthew Celebrates

Pharisees Criticize



To understand:

  • The meaning and implication of being chosen and called by Jesus
  • The changes in our life that should result
  • The dangers of not embracing those changes


  • Chooses sinners
  • Calls us friends
  • Commissions us to be fruitful (John 15:14-17)

Bible Passage

Matt 9:9 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.

10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Bible Passage (Luke's version)

Luke 5:27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Jesus calls - His choice

“You have not chosen me! I have chosen you” (John 15:16)

On what basis does Christ choose?

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Matthew celebrates

His response is:

  • Instant
  • Irreversible
  • Inclusive (Luke 5)

He was at his work station. He doesn’t wait. Almost as if he was waiting for this all his life, he jumps up and changes course. He then calls his friends (considered sinners by the righteous Jews) to introduce them to his best friend and master, Jesus.

Pharisees Criticize


  • Changed their Lifestyle without the Lord
  • Offered Libations without Love

(hosea 6:6)

  • Set Limitations without Liberty

Why did the Pharisees choose sacrifice as opposed to mercy?

Mercy, not sacrifice

Mercy is compassion for souls. It is an attribute of God and can only originate from connect with God. Connecting people with Jesus. Not a demand for external piety with harsh penalties on smallest deviations.

Jesus says “I desire mercy not sacrifice” – compassion not ceremony. The jews stretched the law to inflict punishment rather than relaxing it to give opportunity for compassion.


1.What challenges us about Christ’s call and choice?

2.How can we be:

  • More like Matthew
  • Less like the pharisees?

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