When Jesus Says, “Follow Me!”
By Dell Smith Klein
After Jesus began to teach and share God’s love, he called people to follow him. He called fishermen, who left their nets. Today, in our story from the Holy Bible, we read about a man named Levi. Levi was a tax collector. He had a booth near a lake where people had to pay money so they could walk, fish or swim there.
People didn’t like Levi, because they thought he was cheating them when he made them pay taxes. They thought he was a sinner––a really bad sinner.
But when Jesus saw Levi at his booth collecting money, he said to Levi, “Follow me” (v. 14). Those are familiar words. When Jesus called the fishermen to be his disciples, he said “Follow me.” And, today, when he calls us to be a part of his family, he says, “Follow me.”
When Jesus said, “Follow me,” Levi, the tax collector, got up from his booth and he went after Jesus. He did what Jesus asked him to do. He obeyed Jesus.
Do you want to follow Jesus? (Allow children time to respond.) Yes, I do, too. We follow Jesus by being kind to others, going to church and sharing about Jesus to people who might not know about him.
Right after Levi left the tax booth by the lake, he invited some of his friends to his house. He invited Jesus, too. Soon, Jesus was sharing with a lot of people who didn’t know him very well. Do you think Jesus wanted them to follow him, too? (Give children time to respond.) Yes, he did.
In town, people saw Jesus go to Levi’s house. Keep in mind that those people didn’t like Levi, because they thought Levi was cheating them when he made them pay their taxes.
When Jesus went to Levi’s house, the people complained that he was honoring a bad man––Levi. They said Jesus ate with tax collectors and other people who did bad things.
When Jesus heard that, he reminded them that a person who is well doesn’t need a doctor. Who needs a doctor? (Allow children to answer.) A person who is sick needs a doctor.
Jesus said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (v. 17). He wanted them to know that blameless people didn’t need to apologize for anything. It is a person who does bad things that need to say they are sorry and begin to follow Jesus and let Jesus help them to do good things.
I’m glad Jesus came to earth to show all people how to live for God, so they could repent and begin to love others and share Jesus’ story with their friends and even strangers who don’t know about God.
God, once again, we are thankful for Jesus. And we’re thankful that when Jesus asked Levi to follow him, that Levi got right up and went with Jesus. We are sorry that we have said or done things that hurt people. Forgive us. We want to follow Jesus. Amen.
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2014, Richard Niell Donovan