Summary: From Old to New – Luke chapter 5 verses 27-39 – Sermon by Gordon Curley PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


Jesus the Leader (vs 27-30)

Jesus the Physician (vs 31-32)

Jesus the Bridegroom (vs 33-35)



• Adolf Menzel (1815-1905) was a German painter.

• In fact he is considered one of the two most prominent German artists;

• Of the 19th century, and was the most successful artist of his era in Germany.

• If you are visiting Berlin and you pop along to the Berlin art gallery,

• Look out for this painting.

• (Frederick the Great Address to His Generals Before the Battle of Leuthen.)

• Okay, it might not be the catchiest name in the gallery,

• But it describes exactly what the painting is all about!

• Menzel worked on this painting for two years (1859-1861),

• But he never finished!

• He never finished it because he died before the painting was complete.

As you study the picture:

• You will notice that Menzel painted generals and background,

• But left king until last.

• He only put in a charcoal outline of Fredrick,

• And he died before he was able to finish it.


• Menzel’s famous painting is a picture of many lives:

• The background of career, interests, pursuits and achievement is complete.

• The faces of significant people like family, friends and colleagues are included.

• But the central and most important figure for life incomplete - the king is missing!

• For many people there is no Jesus.

• Jesus needs to be central in life of every person.

• May we never foolishly allow Him to be a blank figure in our crowded lives.

• Now in these verses today we will see one man who made the king central to his life,

• While others sadly left him blank.

(1). Jesus the Leader (vs 27-30)

“After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’”

(1). An occupation (Vs 27a):

“After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi

sitting at his tax booth

• Levi (also known as Matthew),

• It was not unusual for people to use more than one name or to take another name.

• i.e. Simon other name was Peter. i.e. Thomas other name was Didymus.

• i.e. Bartholomew other name was Nathanael, i.e. Saul other name was Paul.

Levi was a ‘tax-collector’.

• The main trade route from Syria to Egypt went through Galilee,

• And Capernaum acted as a tax station;

• It was a good station to be at, besides regular taxes paid by residents;

• Travellers had to stop, present their imported products to the tax official,

• And pay their taxes,

• With taxes paid they were allowed to go on.

• Matthew was apparently one of the tax officials working at this tax station.

• And each day he went to ‘the office’ or in his case the ‘tax-booth’.

Tax officials were very unpopular with the Jews of Jesus’ day (3 reasons why):


• Often they were extortioners,

• Making themselves rich by taking too much money from their fellow Jews.

• The Roman government devised a system;

• To collect taxes as efficiently and as cheaply as possible.

• They did this by auctioning the right to collect taxes in a certain area.

• The man who bought that right;

• Was then responsible to the Roman government for an agreed sum;

• Anything he could raise over and above that;

• He was allowed to keep as commission.


• When tax-collectors asked John the baptiser, how they should live;

• His reply was basically; “be honest!”


• Tax-collectors were hated by the people;

• Because they were working for the enemy,

• Although they worked for them indirectly.

• Their employees were the Roman invaders and occupiers of Israel.


• They were disliked because they ignored the Jewish laws.

• This explains why the Pharisees called them ‘sinners’ (vs 30).


• A sinner in the gospel accounts;

• Was someone who chose to live outside of God’s laws.

• e.g. If you worked on the Sabbath – you were a ‘sinner’

• e.g. If you did not follow dietary laws (ate pork) – you were a ‘sinner’

According to Jewish law a tax-gatherer was excluded from the synagogue;

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