Summary: This is a look at our outreach as a Church and as individuals. Its a call to relavent engagement.
Engagement or Exclusion? Mark 2.13-17
We see here the beginings of conflict with the Pharisees. It is an underlying theme set right through the gospel; Between the Pharisees and Jesus over the character of God and forgiveness.
The four stories that follow continue this theme: Eating with tax collectors and sinners 13-17, questioned about fasting 18-22, Picking wheat on the Sabbath 23-28 and healing on the Sabbath 3.1-6. Here the main emphasis is upon Jesus as the one who engages with sinners in contrast to the Pharisees who exclude sinners.
1) Jesus’s engages Levi to follow. v14
a) His call is effectual. The psalmist tells us the voice of the lord is powerful.
The voice of creation is the voice of the new creation the one who as power over all!
We have witnessed this powerful voice already through the early stages of Mark: He has called people to repent and believe the good news 1:15
He called s the fisherman to follow him V17
He called demons to come out of a man V25.
He exercised those in the crowds of demons 1v34
He granted forgiveness to a paralyzed man 2v5.
Why Levi? God’s sovereign choice Rom.8: 28 -30 Predestined call Rom.9:;12 which is an engaging call.
b) His engaging call is to the most unlikely
Loathed by others
Here we have Levi working on the shores of Capernaum in his official capacity a tax collector, loathed by his fellow countryman for working with the Romans and being unscrupulous in his dealings with fellow Jews it was common knowledge that they ripped people of in regard to the tax
It reminds me of the conservative politician Jonathan Atkin. who was busted for purgery and loathed and ostrisced by fellow politicians. Sentenced to prison but had a quiet conversion prior to going inside.
Maybe excluded by others but engaged by God.
Levi was loved by God
We can draw from this is that no matter what your background, no matter how low in sin you go. No matter how dis-liked you are by people there is …..
Rom.5: 20 where sin increased, grace increased all the more.
Grace has no bounds!
Grace can transform anybody at anytime: from the homosexual who is in a wrong relationship to the heterosexual who is deep in adultery from the corrupted politician to the drug addicted musician, from the hypocritical family member to the skeptic who has no faith.
God can save anybody, He saved you why not others?
c) His call is to service often with the gifts you have.
He also takes hold of a life and brings about a greater purpose for it, which is ultimately to bring glory to God through your life. Here we see the wonderful conversion and calling of Levi the tax collector, whom becomes known as Matthew one of the twelve apostles. He take hold of those gifts which he had of record keeping and uses them for the greater purpose of writing a Gospel.
Where has God gifted you to serve him for his great purpose.
In music, In computers, with children, in writing, practical skills, communicating with others, financial skills, encouraging, caring and so on..
2) Levi responds by engaging others.
Firstly we see that Levi has a transformed heart he leaves the past behind its history (its over) and his desire is now for the future.
Have you had this encounter with Jesus have you responded like Levi?
a) He invites his associates to hear Jesus.v15
Instead of collecting money for Caesar he is gathering in people for King Jesus. Inviting others to experience what he has experienced in meeting Jesus.
If you have had a genuine encounter with Jesus you cant help talking about Jesus to others. Maybe that’s you, cant help speaking about Jesus and at times you have probably said too much. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed of the fact. If you have been it shows how much you really love him and where your heart really is!
Remember Jonathan Atkin the consservative MP busted for purgery? Whilst he was inside prison he began to witness to the most unsavory characters. He would read and write letters for those that could not read and write and he began prayer meetings inside and a group was formed and a work of God began through him, as he engaged the most unsavory characters imaginable a number came to trust in Christ.
George Whitfield once said about true grace…. "True grace will not be content eating mere morsal but will want to bring others to feast on the delights that are ours in Christ Jesus."
Levi is also a challenge towards those of us who have never spoken about Jesus with others, spoken about the weather, sport, holidays the garden fashion but not about Jesus. When was the last time you spoke about Jesus?