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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.

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WHY DOES HE EAT AND DRINK WITH PUBLICANS AND SINNERS?

Text: Mark 2:13 – 22

Introduction:

• 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.

I. Levi

• 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.”


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