Thoughts for the Day

Saturday, 13th January 2024: The calling!

Matthew Mark 2 Jesus Called

Reading : Verses from Mark, Chapter 2

St Matthew

Jesus went out again beside the lake; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.

And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax-collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples—for there were many who followed him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax-collectors, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard this, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


For many years I used a board game that I invented to look at our lives as Christians. There were 100 squares with questions here and there, laid out in a spiral. When the dice was rolled you might miss a question. Sometimes two or three people in the group would get the same question, but that didn't matter for we heard different experiences, and also reflected on our own answers. Questions like "Who was the 'big adult' in your life as a child?" or "When did you first go to a church?" were asked, to help the group appreciate their Christian journey*. The game acknowledged the fact that as Christians certain people and situations have called us to the stage where we are today.

In Mark and Luke's Gospels Jesus calls a tax-collector by the name of Levi. Matthew's Gospel calls him him Matthew, but it's the same person - 'Levi' is the Hebrew word and 'Matthew' the Greek word for the same name. We see that having upset the Jews in the synagogue, as well as the scribes who interpret the law, Jesus has now taken to teaching as he walks. Capernaum was situated in Galilee in the northern part of the territory ruled by Herod Antipas a son of Herod the Great, and it lay on the great north-south road from Damascus to Egypt. As such, it warranted a centre for the collection of taxes. It is here that Jesus comes across Levi (Matthew) and calls him to follow him, and Levi leaves his work to join the other disciples.

The question today is, what is it that attracted us to follow Christ, and how do we play our part in calling others to join us on the journey? Take a moment to think, then start with prayer; name a person before God who might need to hear the Good News; then commit to doing something practical to draw their attention to God's love for them!

* If anyone would like this game, an early version of it appears in a book called "Reach Out: A discipleship course for growing Christian adults" written by Biddi Kings and myself. It's still available secondhand, online.


Lord Jesus Christ,
we thank You for those who
called us to follow You.
May we too learn to call others
to hear the Good News of the Gospel.
Today we especially think of
............................... (mention names)
and pray that we may be brave enough
to call them to follow You
and that they may be stirred
to respond to an overture by us.

Follow Up Thoughts

If you want to find out more about the collection of tax at this time, see my previous comments in 2021 on this when looking at Matthew's Gospel:

Listen or sing this hymn:

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