Summary: In the short story of Levi’s call, we find that no one is too sinful to be beyond the grace and love of Jesus.
WHY DOES HE EAT AND DRINK WITH PUBLICANS AND SINNERS?
Text: Mark 2:13 – 22
• How would you feel if we put a sign outside of our church that said “Homosexuals welcome”?
• What about if Jim took the bus and brought back 5 drunks next Sunday morning?
• What if we announced that we were going to have a special service and dinner for drug addicts?
• In some congregations, the majority of the members would stop going.
• We sometimes feel that church is only for people just like us, and everyone else should stay away.
• In this short story about the conversion of Levi, we find a group of people that felt that way.
• Let’s look at what happened with each of the characters in this story.
• Changed his name to Matthew after his conversion (means “gift of God”).
• Was a publican, or tax collector.
• Capernaum was on a major trade route, Levi was collecting import and export taxes for Herod.
• Levi was a hated man – tax collectors extracted as much money as they could get and lined their pockets with the surplus.
• We are not told if Levi was guilty of this, but he was guilty by association according to the Jews.
• Tax collectors were considered extortionists and traitors because they worked for the Roman government.
A. Levi had probably heard Jesus teach and preach many times. (v. 13)
• Notice “again”.
• Maybe had heard the message given when Simon, Andrew, James, and John had been called.
• Maybe in the crowds that came to Jesus in Capernaum for healing and expelling of demons.
• Maybe in the crowd when the man sick of the palsy had been healed.
• Rabbis in Jesus’ day had a habit of teaching while they walked from place to place; their disciples would walk along and listen.
B. Levi left everything to follow Jesus. (v. 14)
• Levi gave up the most out of all the apostles.
• Simon, Andrew, James, and John could always go back to fishing.
• Once Levi walked away from his office, he could never get his job back.
• Levi decided right then and there that he was going to follow Jesus. (Find out why in a few minutes.)
• What are you asked to leave behind in order to follow Jesus?
• Friends, a job, a habit?
C. Levi created an opportunity to introduce his friends to Jesus. (v. 15)
• Thomas Long, Shepherd and Bathrobes – staying in a motel in a large city, found a note posted on elevator door: “Party tonight! Room 210. 8:00 pm. Everyone invited!”
• He imagined odd assortment of people who might show up – tired salesmen, bored vacationers, weary travelers, curious people; all looking for a break in their day and a little festivity, not wanting to be left out of something exciting. The sign was a hoax – no party.
• “For a brief moment, those of us staying at the motel were tantalized by the possibility that there just might be a party going on somewhere to which we were all invited – a party where it didn’t make much difference who we were when we walked in the door, or what motivated us to come; a party we could come to out of boredom, loneliness, curiosity, responsibility, eagerness to be in fellowship, or simply out of a desire to come and see what was happening; a party where it didn’t matter nearly as much what got us in the door, as what would happen to us after we arrived.”