Between Bad Men & Sinners
We also know from this passage that he was a tax collector. Tax collectors in that day were seen as unclean people. Many of them around there were Jews, and to get the job, they bid the amount of tax revenue they could take in to the Roman government. The open jobs went to the highest bidder. Tax collectors would take advantage, collecting their quota and pocketing the excess. They were traitors to the Jewish people they extorted. The Pharisees would have nothing to do with such men. They avoided fellowshipping with such people to maintain their ritual purity. Apparently, they were the ones for whom he came.
They are the bad guys in this story, no doubt. But is there not a Pharisee in us all?
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Somewhere, deep in our heart, there is a prejudice against others. They were of separate worlds, and that was fine with each. I wonder what they thought about Levi when Jesus called him? I wonder what they thought about entering his house with all those tax collectors?
Remember, the first disciples of Jesus were fishermen. They worked hard to make a living. Remember, too, that it was beside the sea working in his booth that Jesus called Levi. That must have taken the disciples back to their fishing days when they would come to shore, and a man like Levi—maybe even Levi himself—sat in his booth, taxing the fish they caught.
And now here is this man among them—one who, if he had not extorted them, his certainly friends had. What would they do with this? What kind of rabbi is this Jesus? Levi was not a man any other rabbi would have wanted. But Jesus did! So he went and got him. In response, Levi invited Jesus home for dinner. This acceptable year of the Lord, a day of such great favor to some, will doubtless be a day of as remarkable vengeance to others. Now undoubtedly it is, as it was in the days of John the Baptist, the axe is in an extraordinary manner laid at the root of the trees, that every tree which brings not forth good fruit, may be hewn down and cast into the fire.
Therefore, let every one that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the wrath to come. The wrath of Almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging over a great part of this congregation. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.
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