“As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” ~ Matthew 9:9-11
Jesus is the ultimate transformer. He takes our lives and transforms us to new individuals. He takes the weak and difficult things in our lives and uses them to display His strength, His hope, His eternity.
We who trust in Him are the Transformed. Matthew inserts his own transformation in between accounts of Jesus’ miracles. In a way, Matthew is declaring that his own calling, his own transformation from a despised tax collector to a beloved disciple of Christ, is miraculous. Jesus casts out demons, Jesus heals, Jesus forgives and Jesus transforms lives.
Levi was a tax collector. He was like the IRS of the Roman Empire. Tax collectors in those days were often wealthy, but had very little interaction with rabbis. Jesus, the Rabbi, approaches this man, and there is no reasoning, no explanation. Jesus simply says, “Follow Me.” Levi follows Jesus, and becomes ‘Matthew.’ He leaves all his wealth and stability behind to follow Jesus. Jesus can save anyone.
The name Levi can mean “joined,” but it can also mean “to take.” Matthew means “Gift of God.” Jesus transforms this man from one who takes to a gift of God.
Despite your past, Jesus wants to transform your life to be a Gift. He looks upon you as His masterpiece, His workmanship saved by grace. In Ephesians 2:10, the Apostle Paul declares, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Matthew never could have imagined that he would be transformed to a disciple of a Rabbi, the Rabbi who saved the world through the power of His blood.
Be reminded of the transforming power of Jesus. Share your testimony, as Matthew does in his Gospel record. Do your friends know your testimony? Share it with someone today. His Holy Spirit lives in you, unveiling His Word to you and making you into the image of Jesus.
“By the mercies of God, present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” ~ Romans 12:1-2