There are two prerequisites for anyone who becomes a disciple of Jesus. They receive a call from Jesus and then respond to the call from Jesus. We cannot do the second without the first, although many may hear the first without doing the second.
The call of Levi was surprising, given his background. No doubt it was very surprising also for Levi himself. Such a possibility would not have entered his mind as he had his breakfast that morning. No doubt, when he commenced work for the day, he assumed it would be a usual day. So the call of Jesus to him would have been unexpected.
A second detail is that the invitation he received from Jesus was very short. All Levi heard was a very brief statement, ‘Follow me!’ There is no indication that Levi had ever heard Jesus before, although he would have heard about Jesus because of his popularity. Levi’s experience is a reminder that a person does not have to hear a great amount before commencing life as a disciple.
A third aspect of the call is that it was very specific. Although it was only two words, they were very demanding. Levi recognised that they were the words of a sovereign, and much more authoritative than the demands he would have received from his political masters. He recognised that he had reached a moment of decision in his life, where his response to the call would decide his entire future. Would he be Levi the tax collector working for the Romans or would he be Levi the apostle working for Jesus?
We can see in the words of Jesus a sense of sureness as well. Where was Levi going in life? What did his chosen path have to offer him? Where did his daily actions take him on his journey of life? Did he have a sure destination? As he looked at Jesus, it seems that Levi realised that the path to fulfilment lay in following Jesus.
The response of Levi was immediate. He did not wait long before taking Jesus at his word. His response was also indicative, because it was as public as the invitation he had received. He made it very clear that he wanted to follow Jesus. And his response was also inclusive, because he omitted nothing when he decided to leave all and follow Jesus.