Mark 2:13–17 (ESV)
Jesus Calls Levi
13 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.
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.”
Jesus outrages His critics by calling Levi the tax collector to follow Him, then
eats with a houseful of equally “defiled” people. This story invites the modern hearer to reflect: am I more like the manifest sinners of this story or like those who criticize Jesus’ openness to be with the unworthy? Either way, you stand
in need of forgiveness. Thankfully, Jesus brings healing and forgiveness to all, even manifest sinners and smug hypocrites.
I pray: Lord, preserve us from both
our crass and hidden sins. Grant us a rich measure of Your grace, that others may see Your mercy and be drawn to the healing and fellowship that only You can provide. Amen.
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia
Publishing House, 2009), 1659.