Summary: Levi was ambushed by Jesus and then hosts a dinner party to mix his new Christians friends with his old life friends. See what happens and how you can apply it to your life
Joining days - what are our values - most says Food!
Food is important - not just for fuel but what happens as we eat together. Often a meal is as much about the people coming as it is about people who are coming
Meals are important in the life of Jesus too.
There are three ways the NT completes the phrase "The Son of Man came to..."
1) The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45);
2) The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10);
3) The Son of Man has come eating and drinking (Luke 7:34).
The first two tell us what Jesus came to do - to serve by dying for us and to seek and save the lost. The last one tells us how he did it - eating and drinking. “Son of Man” is Daniel’s label for one who comes before God to receive authority over the nations (Daniel 7). And now Jesus, the Son of Man, has come. But how does he come? Does he come with an army of angels? Does he come on the clouds of heaven? Does he come with a blaze of glory? No, he comes “eating and drinking.”
The Jews of Jesus’s day would have said the Son of Man will come to vindicate the righteous and defeat God’s enemies. They didn’t expect him to come to seek and save the lost. And they would have said the Son of Man will come in glory and power. They would never have said he would come eating and drinking.
And Luke is not talking about just subsistence eating and drinking. Jesus says: “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’” (7:34). A glutton, of course, is someone who eats too much, and a drunkard is someone who drinks too much. Jesus was seriously into eating and drinking—so much so that his enemies accused him of doing it to excess. Earlier in Luke’s Gospel the Pharisees and their scribes said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink” (5:33). Jesus spent his time eating and drinking—a lot of his time. He was a party animal. His mission strategy was a long meal, stretching into the evening. He did evangelism and discipleship round a table with some grilled fish, a loaf of bread, and a pitcher of wine.
So we are going to be looking over the next couple of months at meals with Jesus in Luke's Gospel. In Luke’s Gospel Jesus is either going to a meal, at a meal, or coming from a meal! Luke's gospel narrative is a series of journeys towards the cross and each key point a story about a meal where something happens. Jesus didn't have a home of his own he relied on hospitality! The meals climax with THE meal, the Lord's supper, or communion that expresses the gospel. But along the way each meal had something about the gospel in it./
Let's look at the first one with Levi in Luke 5:27-32
Tax was as big an issue then as it is now. And there was just as much corruption around it too.
Today we have the problem of the rich and the establishment avoiding paying their fair share of tax, so education and hospitals suffer. Then they had the problem that too much was collected and filled the pockets of the rich. Actually that's the same problem!
Two types of tax collection then
Gabbai - general tax on property and income.
Mokkhe - like a customs tax of 2-5% on goods.
Although the Roman occupiers got the taxes, they had long ago learned that Roman tax collectors would be murdered by Jewish zealots. So they sold tax collecting franchises to Jews - because no Jewish zealot would murder a Jew, even an evil collaborating one.
Great Mokkhe's, like Zaccheus would buy a franchise then employ Little Mokkhe's to set up booths wherever they could to rip people off as they passed with goods to and from market.
Levi is a Little Mokkhe in his tax booth, who probably had employed thugs to force people to stop and pay tax on whatever they had in their possession.
His name Levi, means he is from the tribe of Levi, a Levite, the tribe from where God called priests. God's go-betweens. Names were important then and were picked prophetically for their meaning (much like Amadeus Ikwuagwu's name means loved by God) Perhaps his parents hoped he'd grow up to be a priest, God's go-between. But sin had made him the opposite of his destiny. He's Rome's go-between.