Mark 2:13–17 (ESV)
Jesus Calls Levi
He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he
was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I
came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Mark begins with the calling of Levi. Levi is better known as Matthew. He was a tax collector which put him down on the bottom of the list
for the Jews. They did not want to associate with gentiles, tax collectors, or other low life. As a tax collector, he dealt with the Roman government which the Jews detested.
What was even worse
is that Jesus sat down and ate with these outcasts. It is one thing to associate with undesirables, but to recline and eat with them was going to far for the Pharisees. Eating is considered more personal, more intimate... something you do with
friends. The Pharisees see Jesus eating with them and they take notice. Jesus response to the Pharisees can be confusing. Jesus says: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous,
but sinners.” What Jesus is basically saying is that I came to save the lost, so I hang out with sinners and social outcasts. When it comes down to it, the Pharisees were sinners too, but they just didn’t know it. Jesus would
have been in the same company if he ate with them.
I pray: O Lord, help me to not think of my self higher than I ought too, but to realize I was conceived sinful and am in need of your forgiveness
and restoration. Help me to deal with all people in love and to share the Gospel with all. Help me to put others before my self. Thank you for your grace and mercy. Amen.