Luke 5:27-32 And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. (28) And he left all, rose up, and followed him. (29) And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. (30) But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? (31) And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. (32) I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Jesus certainly did things in an unusual way didn’t he?
If you wanted to start a new religion, who would you try and recruit for your core ambassadors? What is the best kind of person that would continue your message into the future? Would you choose the most educated, well spoken and influential citizens or the dredges of society? I for one certainly wouldn’t trust people like Tax collectors or ordinary fisherman...and I would be wrong!
In our text this morning, we find that Jesus approaches a publican or tax collector named Levi. Our distain for tax collectors today does not even begin to approach the hatred that they had for them in Jesus time. The reason is that the Roman government recruited people from respective societies to collect taxes from their own people. This made tax collectors traitors in the eyes of their peers.
Jesus had the audacity to not only approach Levi but actually asked Levi to follow him. Jesus wanted a despised Tax Collector? Yes he did. In verse 29 we get a hint of why Jesus did this.
Luke 5:29 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.
Levi was so appreciative of his being picked by Jesus that he threw a great feast and invited his friends. Levi wanted to share his new find with his those that were important to him. Are we like Levi? Are we too thrilled that Jesus is willing to pick us that we are excited to share him with our friends? If not why not?
When the religious leaders of the day saw that Jesus was ‘stooping into the gutter’ to eat and socialize with ‘such people’, they were outraged! They thought that if Jesus was trying to promote himself as a leader that he should be trying to endear himself to them instead of tax collectors and such. Jesus...why on earth would you want to eat and drink with SINNERS?
But Jesus’ response says it all!
Luke 5:31-32 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. (32) I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Because Jesus is a spiritual doctor and his mission is to heal those that are sick! It is the tax collectors and sinners of the world that will sooner acknowledge their sin than those that perceive they have no problems, like the scribes and pharisees.
I for one am SO thankful that Jesus stoops down into the gutter to try and relate to the sinners of the world. If he didn’t, I couldn’t have ever been saved. I am SO thankful that Jesus was not too good for me!