Ellen G. White Writings

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From Heaven With Love, Page 177

Chapter 28—Matthew: From Tax Collector to Apostle

This chapter is based on Matthew 9:9-17; Mark 2:14-22; Luke 5:27-39.

Roman officials in Palestine were hated. The fact that taxes were imposed by a foreign power was a continual irritation, a reminder to the Jews that their independence had departed. And the taxgatherers, the publicans, were not merely instruments of Roman oppression, they were extortioners on their own account, enriching themselves at the expense of the people. A Jew who accepted this office was despised and classed with the vilest of society.

To this class belonged Levi-Matthew, who was to be called to Christ's service. Matthew had listened to the Saviour's teaching, and as the Spirit of God revealed his sinfulness he longed to seek help from Christ; but accustomed to the exclusiveness of the rabbis, he had no thought that this Great Teacher would notice him.

Sitting at his toll booth one day, the publican saw Jesus approaching. Great was his astonishment to hear the words addressed to himself, “Follow Me.”

Matthew “left all, rose up, and followed Him.” There was no hesitation, no questioning, no thought of the lucrative business to be exchanged for poverty and hardship. It was enough for him to be with Jesus, to listen to His words, and unite with Him in His work.

So it was when Jesus bade Peter and his companions follow Him. Immediately they left their boats and nets. Some had friends dependent on them for support, but when they received the Saviour's invitation, they did not inquire, How shall I live, and sustain my family? When afterward Jesus asked them, “When I sent you

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