“9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.” ~ Matthew 9:9
~ I have often had the impression that Jesus went walking around the beaches of Galilee asking practically random people that He saw to follow Him. Eventually I learned that this was not so. Jesus did not just walk up to strangers and ask them to follow Him. No, Jesus actually either knew them or they knew Him decently well enough.
I think that the above verse might give us the impression that Jesus walked up to Matthew randomly and asked him to follow Him if we do not take a look at the context. What the preceding context shows us is that at this point many things have transpired. Jesus has given the Sermon on the Mount to untold thousands. He has healed numerous people. He has stilled a storm. He has exorcised two demon possessed men and done many other things. The people had a decent idea that He was more than just another person on the street.
So when Jesus walked up to Matthew, Matthew in all likelihood knew a good bit about Jesus and vice versa. So why did Jesus ask him to follow Him? Well, I think it was because Matthew was a FAT person. Huh? Its as my old seminary professor used to say. My prof said in so many words that FAT people are the best people to disciple. Why FAT people? Because FAT people are:
So why did Jesus say to Matthew, “Follow me”?
He was basically a fat guy. The fact that Matthew did not say something like “Sure, but first let me…” suggests faithfulness and the fact that he threw a party later on that day suggests that he was available. The fact that he wrote the longest of the Gospel accounts and one which has much by way of teaching, shows that he was teachable.
~ That said, there is something to be said that when you are going to be discipling someone, make sure that the person is a fat someone. Don’t just disciple anyone.
*Note: At seminary I came across this phrase “theological obesity”. It referred to people who had acquired a ton of theological knowledge but did not do anything with it. The solution to theological obesity is of course doing some kind on ministry. Anyway, FAT people are not theologically obese.