In Rome there is a painting by Caravaggio depicting Matthew the disciple who was a tax collector being called by Christ. In the picture there is Jesus standing in front of a window where the light shines in. He is the Light of the World and this light falls upon all of the five men at the table.
There is an older man counting his money and his face does not look up at Jesus, a younger one who appears bored with his pile but does not change his posture either and two others who look but show no change of expression.
And then there is Matthew- a look of surprise on his face, his eyebrows raised and his finger pointing at himself in a question. Who Me?
In the Bible’s description of Matthew’s calling (Matt 9:9-12), it says, ‘he gets up and follows him.’
As simple as that! But was it that simple? Had he questioned the life he was living for a while and felt there must be more than this? Had he heard about Jesus and it had made him think about things, that when Jesus called him to follow Him, he was immediately ready?
There is a search in every one of us to be all we can be. Had Matthew come to that point of his searching and welcomed this invitation? That he finally could see that money was not making him happy, but maybe this Jesus could. Jesus was calling him to give up this life and follow Him.
Would we respond to a call from Jesus? Would we follow Him? And in this following Him, have to give up stuff? Change some things? Change lots of things? Only we can answer those questions.
Will Jesus really bring me the eternal happiness that we all seek? People tell me this. The bible tells me this. Why not check it out like Matthew? What have you got to lose?
What love Jesus shows us- to come to our house? Oh wow! He leaves the healthy – the whole and comes after and seeks out the sick, the unhealthy and the those needing wholeness. I might not call myself unhealthy as such but if I am honest, I am NOT WHOLE. I want this WHOLENESS that ONLY HE CAN BRING!
So just like the rich young man was challenged by Jesus to put aside his wealth, put Christ first and come deeper and follow Him more. Matthew was also challenged to give up the money investments and tax collecting he was enjoying, the importance he put on it in his Life and follow The Saviour.
We too are challenged in Lent to come deeper, walk closer with Our Lord and so put Him first. Maybe give up our money chasing, wealth building “me world” that we often put before God. Give up having the latest and best of everything which we worship and we have replaced our time with God with time for our “media toys” and let us “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” (KJV)
PRAYER: Lord, here I am. This is me in all my imperfections and I need you today. I want to be all I can be like Matthew who was ready to stand up and follow you when called. Help me this Lent to give up the things that I replace you with and place you back in the centre of my life so that I can experience the wholeness that only you can bring. Amen.