Matthew, the apostle, was chosen by Christ. According to the religious leaders in Jerusalem, Matthew did not possess the credentials that would qualify him as befitting a “righteous” man. After all, he had personally chosen to abandon any commitment to the elementary principles of Judaism when he began to apply his educational skills as an agent of Rome. Tax collectors were viewed with contempt and scorn. They were viewed as individuals who were looking to get rich by means of vexing their countrymen.
The call of Levi (Matthew) is recorded in Luke’s Gospel. Christ came directly to him and said, “follow Me.” We read that Matthew (Levi) left everything, rose up and followed Him. Matthew showed no indication of an ounce of hesitancy, reluctancy, or regard of turning back.
Levi’s immediate response was to introduce his friends, his former comrades (tax gatherers), to Christ.
Meanwhile as this scenario is being played out, the pious, religious folk were in the audience looking upon such behavior with considerable indignation and scorn. After all, for a religious person to even come near and then join such a group of outcasts as these was repulsive to the Pharisees.
When we consider all the other men who were apostles, they didn’t seem too qualified either. They had obviously already been judged unworthy to be students of the rabbinical schools. In fact, in Acts 4 we read that the religious establishment viewed them as “unschooled and unlearned men”. One thing stood out about them though that even they could not deny…… “they realized that they had been with Jesus.”
Sputtering with indignation, the Scribes and the Pharisees were unable to see their true spiritual condition. But the contrite in spirit and humble sinner could. Men like Matthew, Zacheus, Peter, and John would follow Him, serve Him and proclaim the wonderful news: “God has chosen to reveal Himself to mankind and ransom them unto Himself.” Being sought, they too would leave all and follow Him.