I was reading the story about the wedding feast. Reminded me that in April of 1994 (yes, I do know the date!), Sue and I got married and had a lovely reception. Whoever was filming took pictures exclusively of the food! Who cares about the people attending, especially that groom and his lovely bride!
Matthew, chapter 22– story of a king’s wedding feast for his son , with people making all kinds of excuses as to why they can’t attend. Even murdered some of the king’s servants, who came bearing their invitations. Can you imagine?
The king orders his remaining servants to hit the highways-and-byways inviting anyone they can find. The high-and-mighty would be replaced by the down-and-out. Now, let me step back for a moment. Matthew, who is the only Gospel writer to record this particular parable, is a tax-collector. Not an endearing occupation listed on one’s resume!
He had two names. Matthew and Levi. Lots of people had two names. I have a few. My classmates from school days always call me ‘Johnny’. Relatives say ‘John Adam’. Lots of men in my family were named John. If my two names were said together, it helped identify me as the one in trouble! No high marks for creative naming in our tribe!
Jesus has called lots of people to follow Him. But a tax-collector? That raises a few eyebrows! Can you hear the behind-the-scenes mumbling?
Now, the Bible doesn’t say so, but I can picture Matthew Levi, having godly parents, who would have agonized over this son, who had gone astray. Levi, one of Jacob’s twelve sons, founded the priesthood. They led all worship in the Tabernacle and Temple. Was not his name a wish and prayer of his parents? To grow up to be a godly, priestly man? They would have made sure he received a proper education in the Word of God. Obeyed God’s Law. Celebrating all the holy days of the Jewish calendar and the Sabbath.
I wonder if his conscience didn’t nag at him something fierce. So, when Jesus walks up to his tax-collecting table and asks him to follow Him(Matthew 9:9), there are no excuses given. Not even a second thought. Just ‘up and at ’em’ for Matthew Levi with the good possibility of being right with his God. Yes!
What about that little word mentioned in today’s title? It’s a tiny one. Easy to skim over. Here it is: ‘again’. Five letters. That’s all. But it makes a world of difference to someone like Matthew Levi. To you and me. Matthew writes that Jesus once ‘again’ tells the people a parable(Matthew 22: 1). As in second chances. Not giving up on us. Even to tax-collectors. God will find a way. Keep praying daily that everyone in your family will come to know Jesus. Keep at it. Don’t ever give up!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for all your help. In Jesus’ name. Amen.