Jesus Rents a U-Haul

Matthew was just another average guy grinding it out, a beancounter eking out a living as a tax collector when he looked up from his cramped tax booth and locked eyes with a little-known itinerant preacher from Nazareth named Jesus. “Follow me,” the preacher said, and Matthew tells us flatly that “he got up and followed him.”

Jesus Rents a U-Haul

We can’t say exactly what happened to Matthew in that moment. How was it that Jesus could say, “Follow me,” and ordinary men would suddenly leave their homes and careers and friends and family to lay down their lives for an itinerant preacher they had never known? What we can say is that this was the real beginning of Matthew’s Gospel, a moment that literally changed the course of history.

We must pay attention not only to the content of the Gospel writers’ writings, but also why they emphasized some things over others.

We tend to think of the four Gospels, especially Matthew’s, as mini catalogs of pithy teachings and saying, of sporadic healings and miracles and even exorcisms that Jesus did in a roundabout way on the road to crucifixion. And we lose out by reading them this way. Peter tells us that these men wrote their Gospels, these holy scriptures, as they were “moved by the Holy Spirit.” When we look at the Gospels closely, we see how the Spirit infused their idiosyncratic personalities with different shadows and echoes of a mystery that Paul tells us had been hidden throughout the ages. . . .

An excerpt from Jesus Rents a U-Haul in Breath No. 1.