As Jesus was passing by 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.
Here is one man's story of how he became a Christian. It was as if we said to him, "Matthew, tell us how you became a follower of Jesus." He began in a very relaxed way: "Jesus was passing by and he said to me, 'Follow me.'"
How would you react if Jesus said that to you? I don't know if Jesus and Matthew had ever spoken to one another before, or if Matthew had listened to Jesus when he was preaching to the people. Anyway, Matthew was challenged by what Jesus said to him, and he said to himself, "Yes, I will follow him." That decision cost Matthew a lot, as Luke tells us plainly that Matthew left everything and followed Jesus as one of his 12 apostles. We don't know exactly what happened to Matthew in later life; the Bible does not tell us. However, there are many stories from the early years of the church to give us a picture of Matthew as a great evangelist for the Christian Gospel. For Matthew the cost of following Jesus was truly worthwhile, and at the end he had endless life with his Saviour in heaven. And all of this happened as Jesus was 'passing by'.
Jesus challenges us today. He is passing by as you read this. Have you followed him as your Saviour and Lord? Matthew shows us the way!
Lord Jesus, help me to follow you as Matthew did, and be my Saviour and Lord and Friend. Amen.