Summary: Large crowds followed Jesus, coming where He was. He could've waited on them to come to Him, but often He went out, seeking them. Jesus was often found among those society rejected. We too must be willing to go where they are, seeking to reach them.
Found among Sinners
Mark 2: 13-17
Following a season of ministry around the region of Galilee, Jesus had returned to Capernaum. His return created quite a stir, as multitudes arrived at Peter’s house, hoping to see Jesus. The palsied man was miraculously healed, and Jesus made a statement that caught the attention of the scribes – Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. There could be no doubt that Jesus had power unlike any they had encountered, but the scribes and Pharisees became skeptical of Jesus. They accused Him of blasphemy, and from that moment on, closely scrutinized His every word.
In our text, Jesus remains in Capernaum, continuing to minister unto the people. Once again the scribes and Pharisees are watching, and they will find fault with Jesus. In fact, He will deal with their opposition and accusation from this moment forward.
In spite of their opposition, Jesus is committed to fulfilling the Father’s will. Let’s examine the interactions of Jesus with those in Capernaum as we consider: Found among Sinners.
I. Jesus among the People (13) – And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. Jesus is found among the people of Capernaum. Notice:
A. His Approach (13a) – And he went forth again by the sea side. Following an eventful day at Peter’s house, Jesus is found by the sea side in Capernaum. He could have easily stayed at the house, and the people would have come to Him, but He desired to get out among the people. He was not content to sit and wait; Jesus went out in pursuit of men.
This approach is so simple, and yet the modern church has lost sight of its importance. We assume everyone knows where the church building is located. We advertise our service times, and people know they are welcome. Sadly, we are content to sit and wait on them to come to us instead of going into the highways and hedges, compelling them to come in!
B. His Attention (13b) – and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. This was quickly becoming the normal routine. As people heard of Jesus being by the sea, they came to where He was. As the people gathered, Jesus immediately began to teach them. That was His purpose for being there; He desired to reach them with the Gospel. He did not neglect them, but took time to minister unto them.
We too need to seek out and maximize every opportunity to be of service to the Lord. Everywhere we go, there are people who need to hear the Gospel. We must not allow these everyday opportunities pass us by without being a witness for the Lord.
II. Jesus among the Pestilent (14) – And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him. Here we find Jesus among one despised by society. Consider:
A. His Occupation – And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom. Jesus encountered Levi, also known as Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom. Matthew was a Jewish man who was employed by the Roman authorities. He was simply a tax collector. The Romans had placed taxes on various goods and the Jews were forced to pay. Often these men would increase the taxes, taking advantage of the people for their own profit. Needless to say, most Jews had little use for one who was sympathetic to the Romans, while taking advantage of their own countrymen.
B. His Opportunity – And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. Jesus was well aware of Matthew’s employment, and yet He extended the offer to follow Him in ministry. The scribes and Pharisees were never happy with Jesus’ approach to ministry, but we continually see Him reaching out to those society rejected.
I am eternally thankful for the opportunity I received to come to Jesus. Most in modern society would have rejected me, and been unwilling to extend a hand, but Jesus graciously invited me to come to Him in salvation!
C. His Obedience (14b) – And he arose and followed him. Although he was despised by most, Matthew enjoyed a lucrative business. However, he was willing to walk away from a secure job in order to follow Jesus. Like those before, Jesus was very specific in the call, but there were no details about what would be involved. Matthew stepped out in faith to follow Christ.
The glorious opportunity to come and follow Christ is still available today, and yet many do not respond to the invitation. Many fear they will lose the stability they enjoy in life. They fear they will lose friends, and no longer enjoy life. That is what Satan wants us to believe, but nothing could be further from the truth. Following the Lord doesn’t promise wealth and riches, but it does promise peace, security, and eternal life! I am glad I responded to the offer of salvation, coming to Christ for forgiveness of sin and justification in Him!