Luke 5:26-30

Luke 5:26 (KJB)
And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

The crowd was amazed at what was happening and even those Scribes which were in attendance and were saying that they never saw anything like what just happened. Nevertheless, they were all glorifying God for the healing which had taken place because not even the Scribes could deny that a remarkable miracle had taken place.

Luke 5:27 (KJB)
And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.

There was a main trade route called “The Way of The Sea” which passed by Capernaum. All goods which entered the port were subject to a tax at the tax booth in Capernaum. This would be considered an import tax. The tax collectors were normally Jews who became agents of the Roman Empire and were responsible for collecting taxes for Rome. There were four basic taxes that Rome collected: 1) a land tax; 2) a poll or personal property tax; 3) an import or export tax; 4) in Jerusalem, a tax on houses. The tax collectors were despised by the people because they would not only collect the required amount of taxes for Rome, but they would collect extra to keep for themselves which was permitted by the Romans as along as they received their required amount. Matthew was a tax collector who collected import taxes. His Jewish name was Levi. Jesus saw him collecting taxes and went up to him and said two words, “Follow me.” The words “Follow me” are in the Imperative Mood making it a command. So much for free will which is only a myth in the area of salvation.

Luke 5:28 (KJB)
And he left all, rose up, and followed him.

Levi did not waste any time in obeying the Lord. He immediately obeyed by leaving his post and quitting that job. I am sure there were many who would apply for that job since the “fringe benefits” were many. The word “followed” in the Greek carries with it the idea of “cleaving steadfastly to one.” Just as a man cleaves to his wife and they are one flesh, the believer cleaves to Christ in that same arrangement. (Eph 5:31-32 KJV) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. {32} This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Luke 5:29 (KJB)
And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.

Here we have a great feast in the house of Matthew. If he was a tax collector and was collecting for himself too then he would have been able to buy a large home where he could have many people attend. Here we see that Matthew had probably invited all his fellow tax collectors along with other nefarious characters that the Bible calls sinners. No doubt he wanted to share the Gospel message with them and how he was now a follower of Jesus. Since he invited Jesus to this gathering, all the other publicans would now hear the Gospel direct from the mouth of Jesus. The Scribes and Pharisees had considered themselves above other people and here Jesus broke the tradition that they would hold in never fellowshipping with anyone but their own.

Luke 5:30 (KJB)
But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?

No doubt the Pharisees had seen this group enter the house of Matthew and it would have seemed normal to them since all the guests were publicans and sinners but then they saw Jesus eating with them and the disciples were questioned by them. They wanted to know why Jesus was associating, and even worse, being seen in public with this crowd. They wanted to know why He was eating with them? They did not know that Matthew had just become a disciple and wanted to tell all his friends and co-workers the good news. (Mat 21:31 KJV) Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. The Pharisees because of their arrogance and pride had sentenced themselves to eternal damnation.

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