6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: What was Jesus’ first and only stipulation for those He called? Follow Me!

True Religion Mark 2:13-17NLT

Back in the 1980’s, the Minnesota Twins had this description of the game of baseball in their program:

“You have two sides, one out in the field, and one in.

Each man that's on the side that's in, goes out and when he's OUT he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When 3 men are out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in, goes out and tries to get those coming in… out. When both sides have been in and out 9 times including the not outs, that's the end of the game.” Baseball can be a confusing game. There are so many rules to understand that it can be hard on new players. Finally the program stated, “If children only see baseball as a bunch of rules that everyone knows but them, it is easy for them to get discouraged and just quit. And then the program stated, “It’s better just to play the game, you’ll soon pick up all the right rules. (Steve Ridgell)

Mark 2:13-17NLT Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him. 15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) 16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?

17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

What was Jesus’ first and only stipulation for those He called? Follow Me!

The Pharisees of Jesus' day of course died long ago, but their spirit lives on in congregations across the land within the 21st century. How can we recognize if we have become like the Pharisees, and what did Jesus teach us about what we need to know to avoid becoming like those men?

One scholar noted: “The Pharisees’ attitude (was) derived from… the false assumption that true religion was a solemn, joyless affair…”

Verse 13 say’s, Jesus taught the crowds.

What did He teach? As you read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John you quickly find out what Jesus taught and what He was about.

He taught, Pureness, Simplicity, Love, Giving, Living- without partiality, Touching the broken, Forgiveness, Hope, Miracles, Prayer, Faith, Jesus taught living in God’s Kingdom now~Experiencing Jesus’ way of life now.

Verse 14TM Strolling along, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, at his work collecting taxes. Jesus said, “Come along with me.” He came.

Levi, also called Matthew was Jewish, but he collected taxes for Rome. The Jews hated tax collectors. They had a reputation for taking more than they needed in order to add to their own wealth. Sometimes true religion will call you to leave the old and go with the new, that's exactly what Matthew did.

If you had to describe the Bible with one word, what would you say? I would say, Love~ Yes, it’s a book of love.

Erma Bombeck, tells about a little boy at church with his mother. He was a good little boy, quiet and well behaved. He didn’t cause any problems. But every once in a while he would stand up in the pew, turn around look at the people behind him and smile at them. His smile was infectious, and soon everybody behind him was starting to smile back at him, too.

It was all going fine until the mother realized what the little boy was doing. When she did, she grabbed him by his ear and twisted it a bit told him to sit down and remember that he was in church.

Then he started sniffling and crying, and she turned to him and said, "That’s better.”

Is that the perception you have of church, and maybe the body of Christ? Sad, boring, and joyless?

Mark 2:15LB That night Levi invited his fellow tax collectors and many other notorious sinners to be his dinner guests so that they could meet Jesus and his disciples. (There were many men of this type among the crowds that followed him.)

In our text this morning, this Pharisaical attitude was that religion should be solemn and joyless. It showed up in at least 4 rules they tried to impose on Jesus and His disciples. Those 4 rules were:

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