Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mark 2:13-17

13 Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them. 14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. 15 Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

Having taught the multitudes by the Sea of Galilee and passing by Levi at the tax office Jesus gave a personal invitation to Levi to follow Him just as He does to everyone. So Levi arose and followed Jesus. Now what we read next is that Jesus and His disciples were dining at Levi’s house. And there were many tax collectors and sinners also dinning there with Jesus and His disciples. Now usually I think about how Jesus was willingly dinning with ostracized people (tax collectors and sinners) that the religious leaders would not even be seen with. Never mind go to into one of their homes and dine with them. Yet it is not just Jesus, but His disciples as well. For clearly wherever Jesus went so they went, because as Jesus said “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:40 And that is what Jesus’ is doing He is training them as He is likewise training us to be His followers by exposing them and us to people we would not have encountered on our own volition. For some this maybe our cultures own version of tax collectors and sinners, for others it maybe an encounter with our own version of the Pharisees and the rigid legalism that so defines them. Whatever the personality or person type Jesus Christ came to save people’s lives not to destroy them (Luke 9:56) and that is why Jesus not only dinned with tax collectors and sinners but also Pharisee’s as well. Non partiality I guess is what I’m trying to say for that is what the Word of God conveys in the gospel. For the Lord Jesus Christ invites all to follow Him and dines with all who likewise receive Him to the exclusion of no one, for Jesus says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Rev. 3:20

Now the passage concludes by saying that there were many sinners who dined with Jesus, who sat together with Jesus and His disciples, and they followed Him. Jesus wasn’t just a teacher of the people; Jesus was a friend of everyone He discipled and taught. And they in turn invited those people in their lives to meet Him and Jesus likewise received them. For that was Jesus’ call to Simon and Andrew when He called them away from their fishing nets and boats. “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Mark 1:17 Therefore don’t ever underestimate the power of friendship evangelism. For clearly that was what Jesus did often. Though He often preached to and taught large crowds He was not a Man who isolated Himself from the people He taught and all of their friends in all of their lives infirmities, sicknesses and problems. Jesus threw out societal and religious taboos for that very reason so that He might make disciples not according to the traditions and doctrines of men, but according to the gospel of God.

Scripture Quotations:
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

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