Luke 5:27–32 (ESV)
Jesus Calls Levi
After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
29 And Levi made him
a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Before going into the
ministry, I worked in the property tax industry, representing tax payers instead of the taxing authorities (State, County/Parish, School districts, cities, water districts, etc...). When people asked me what I did for a living, they usually said
oh... and changed the subject quickly. I knew a tax assessor in Texas that moved out of the county he worked in so that his kids didn’t have to go to schools in their area and he didn’t have to go to church, the store, or where ever with
people who were out to get him. He was an honest man, but no matter how honest, that was thrown out the window with the people’s love of taxes. I find it interesting that Levi, a tax collector, was asked to follow Jesus... he went.
I wonder if he hated the job or was tired of being hated, or was it simply Jesus asked him and there was power and authority in Jesus words. I’m sure it is the latter, but being a tax collector does not rank real high on the dream job list.
Levi invited Jesus over and he invited his friends (tax collectors) over to eat and drink with the Teacher. I’m sure that the teachings and miracles of Jesus were overwhelming and Levi was happy to have him in his house and to share him with his
friends. Levi did not keep Jesus for himself, the simply was overflowing with joy and could not contain Jesus, but wanted to shout it from the mountain tops. The Pharisees and their scribes grumbled and question Jesus on why he would eat with sinners?
I guess someone might ask me a similar question and ask me why I eat with plumbers and attorneys? If they asked, it would be because they have needs and I have a message to share. To share with anybody... everyone who will listen. No
matter what color they are, whatever the occupation, whatever their wealth or social status... I have a message to share that is medicine to those who are lost. It is a message of forgiveness and eternal life. Being restored into the Kingdom of God.
To whoever is hurting. Jesus is the way. "Follow Me." Such simple words, yet so deep and life changing.
I pray: O Lord, help me to never be too proud to associate
with anybody because of race, status, or creed. Help me to reach out to all people. God created all people of all colors and God doesn’t make junk. Remove from me any pride or prejudice, and help me to reach out to all people, even
tax collectors. Amen.