14th October 2013

God Loves Us Because He Loves Us 

“After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.”
Luke 5:27-28 (NIV) 

Levi, better known to us as Matthew, was a calculating, shrewd and cynical tax collector, who was willing to accept deep unpopularity and disdain in his pursuit of wealth. I often wonder why he gave it all up to follow Jesus. Was it due to Jesus’ charismatic personality and he was simply sucked in? Was it because there was a new teacher and miracle worker in town and he wanted to join the bandwagon? Did he think there might be some money to be made from this religious adventure? 

I think something else is going on here. Jesus was willing to take Matthew as a friend and accept him as he was. Jesus made no accusations, no judgmental statements, and didn’t condemn him for his lifestyle. Jesus just gave Matthew a simple invitation, ‘Follow me,’ and offered it out of love and grace. 

This was something Matthew wasn’t used to. He would have grown accustomed to being disliked, rejected and despised, and yet these words of Jesus were saying to him ‘you are included, come and join me’. Jesus said these words to Matthew simply because he loved him. 

It reminds me of the reason God chose Israel: “The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you…”  (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). God chose Israel because he loved them, and Jesus chose Matthew because he loved him. 

Why does God love us? Because he loves us. We can think it’s because we’re better, or we work harder, and are more diligent than other people. But we do not have to work for God’s love; it’s not something we earn, it’s given to us freely because God is love, and we just have to accept it. Matthew deserved nothing, his lifestyle made him unacceptable and an outcast to most people. But Jesus offered him unconditional love, the same love he offers to each of us no matter what we have done in the past. Jesus welcomes us not because of who we are or what we have done, but because he loves us, so let’s follow him. 

Prayer
Father, thank you for loving me. Thank you for accepting and including me in your Son’s work. Please help me leave all my worldly ambitions and follow Him.
Amen
 

Study by Barry Robinson

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barryrobinsonAbout the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder in and pastoral worker in the Greater London area, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Camberwell
The Salvation Army Hall
105 Lomond Grove
Camberwell
LONDON
SE5 7HN

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30 am

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email:  barry_robinson@wcg.org.uk

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