Summary: There are 4 instances in the book of Mark where Jesus uses the phrase, “Follow Me.” Jesus will never call us to do something He hasn’t already done. We must Follow Him in faithful obedience.
Last week we started a new journey into the book of Mark. I shared with you that there are 4 instances in the book of Mark where Jesus uses the phrase, “Follow Me.” Last week we took a look at catching Jesus’ dream. Yet, not just a dream, but a reality. It was “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” We examined our responsibility in presenting the Gospel message to a world that is lost and so in need of Good News. Also, that we need to make sure of the way we are presenting it. Are we forcing it down peoples throats or are we showing them an example by the way we live our lives?
Today we are going to take the next step down the path as we follow after Jesus. Today’s passage comes from the second chapter of Mark starting at the 13th verse. Let’s see what it says.
Mk 2:13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd
came to him, and he began to teach them.
Mk 2:14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
Here we find Jesus, walking beside the lake.
But this time, instead of coming across some fishermen, Jesus encounters a tax collector. Levi (AKA Matthew).
à What’s so special about this? Well let’s take a look at who Levi is. He is a tax collector. What does that mean?
He is employed by the Roman Government
He is hated by the Jews for being a traitor
He’s a cheat
Considered dirt by most people
Yet, now Jesus comes into the picture. He approaches this man who is hated by most people, and doesn’t treat him the way he is used to being treated.
He approaches Levi openly
He comes with a positive, friendly attitude
He invites Levi to follow Him
And just like Andrew, Peter, James & John:
Levi leaves his table to follow the Lord. This could be a very risky decision for Levi, because the position of tax collector was sought after by greedy people looking to get rich fast.
He risked this get rich quick job.
We don’t know where they went immediately… but the passage goes onto say:
Mk 2:15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.
Here we have some dinner party happening. Levi has invited his closest associates:
other tax collectors
Great crowd of friends he hangs out with. Yet it seems that he wants his associates & friends to meet this guy who treated him differently than any other person has ever treated him. He wants to share the kindness and the compassion of his newly found friend and teacher, Jesus. As I said last week,
there is something special about Jesus.
That is why Levi wants his friends to meet the man:
Who didn’t curse at him
Didn’t threaten him
Didn’t avoid him
But treated him as a person
A tiger met a lion as they drank beside the pool
Tell me said the tiger, why you’re always roaring like a fool
It’s not so foolish said the lion with a twinkle in his eyes
They call me King of Beasts, it pays to advertise.
A little rabbit overheard and ran home like a streak
He thought he’d try the lion’s plan but his roar was just a squeak
And a hungry fox that morning had his breakfast in the woods.
The moral of the story: it does not pay to advertise unless you have the goods.
Levi had found the goods in Jesus and he wanted to advertise. He wanted these scrub friends of his to know that there is someone who is different and stands out from the others. Someone who doesn’t judge them, by their occupation, but looks straight to the heart.
Now if we look at the rest of this passage we find some unfriendly visitors hanging around.
Mk 2:16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
Mk 2:17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The holy rollers come upon this little get together, and it doesn’t sit well with them. They see Jesus & His disciples sitting and eating with tax collectors, and “sinners”. They are perplexed. They’re stunned and they ask WHY? Why in the world is He allowing Himself to be seen with these kind of people. They’re despicable. Bottom of the heap kind of guys. So they approach a couple of the disciples, and ask WHY?