“A Tax Collectors Faith”


Of all the jobs that a person could take, tax collector was not at the top of anyone’s list.  In the first century, to become a tax collector was to become a traitor to you own people.  You see, the Jews were forced to live under Roman rule, meaning that even though they were considered a free nation, they were still bound by Roman laws.  The most hated of all Roman law, may still be the most hated of modern-day law, taxes.  To collect their taxes on the Jews, the Romans would select a Jew to do their dirty work for them.  They would then require that Jewish man to collect a certain amount of taxes from his own people.  He was required a specific amount but was able to collect more to pay his own salary.  For instance, in today’s world he would be required to collect $100 from each person.  However, he would ask for $110 from each person clearing a profit of $10 per person.  The Jews hated tax collectors and viewed them as greedy, selfish and dishonest men.  That is why it was so strange to have Jesus select Levi (Matthew) as one of His 12 disciples.  To an average Jew, they would not consider any tax-collector to be an honest God- fearing man.  However, when Jesus comes into contact with Levi, He sees something special in him.  As soon as Jesus utters those words “Follow me” in Luke 5.27, we see this reaction.  “And leaving everything, he arose and followed Him” (Luke 5.28).  That doesn’t sound greedy to me at all.  How many of us would leave our job, our bank accounts, our homes and our families to follow Jesus.  Not near enough my friend, not near enough!                                         


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