My Grace-Full Life

3.24.18 Praise Prompt: Faith to Follow Jesus

PRAISE PROMPT ••• “Hindsight is 20/20.”
We see events in the past with greater clarity than we do at the moment.
Even with that in mind, I still want to facepalm when I read Gospel stories of Jesus’ interactions with His disciples.
How could they be so clueless?!
Don’t get me wrong.
These 12 men were the ones Jesus chose.
Yet, you can’t help but wonder, how on earth they could 1) spend time with Jesus, 2) hear Him teach, 3) watch Him cast out demons, 4) watch Him heal people, 5) watch Him perform miracles, including (but not limited to) walking on water, feeding 5000, and raising people from the dead—and after all that, STILL ask questions about who He was.
In fairness to them, we have the benefit of a full Bible, while they were in the moment as prophecies unfolded and history was made.
Some disciples are more well-known than others, but they are all listed in Luke 6:14-16:

  1. Simon (aka Peter)
  2. Andrew
  3. James (1 of 2)
  4. John
  5. Philip
  6. Bartholomew
  7. Matthew (also referred to as Levi)
  8. Thomas
  9. James (2 of 2)
  10. Simon the Zealot
  11. Judas (not that one)
  12. Judas Iscariot (the one who betrayed Him)

Despite the moments where I want to pull out the popular Southern colloquialism, “Bless their hearts,” I have to admire the disciples’ willingness to follow Jesus…
Let’s look at how Matthew (aka Levi) was recruited.
In Luke 5:27-28, we’re told, “Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me and be my disciple,’ Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.”
That’s it.
We’ve got two very shocking perspectives to look at.
The first is that Jesus chose a tax collector, who was among the leaches of society in the day.
Jewish tax collectors were considered traitors who were helping support an oppressive Roman government and were notorious for overcharging and pocketing the difference.
On the other hand, from Matthew’s (aka Levi) perspective, while despised in his own country, he was wealthy.
Based on history, he more than likely had a social circle of other ostracized tax collector friends.
And seriously?
How often do you accept the invitation of a total stranger?
Those are the stories out of Dateline!
People don’t just go off with people they don’t know!
The Bible doesn’t mention Jesus and Matthew having interaction before this moment, but it’s more than probable that Matthew knew OF Jesus.
And of course, Jesus knew Matthew’s heart before a word was spoken.
Even though the disciples sometimes questioned what should have been obvious (which we are guilty of too), they left homes and family to follow the One who matters most.
May we all be so bold.
When Jesus tells us to do something, is our trust in Him strong enough to say, “On it! Where do You want me to go? What do You want me to do?”
Today, let’s praise God for the examples of bold faith by the disciples.
Let us thank Him for their stories and lives that model sacrificial obedience to Jesus.
Let us pray we have the same trust and willingness when Jesus calls.

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