Mark 2:14-17: “As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." So he arose and followed Him.15 Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi's house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him.16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, "How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?"17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
Jesus looked at this world differently then the religious people of the day. The people Jesus saw were souls, precious and special to Him. He wanted to spend eternity with everyone He saw. Jesus did not see the clothes people wore, or the career they pursued. He saw their heart and wanted to reach people right where they were. He came upon Levi (Matthew) who was a tax collector, a despised job among the Jews. Tax collectors were given to role of collecting taxes from Jews and giving to the government. The issue was that they were allowed to collect anything above what the government required. So in turn they were robbing from their own people, which made them hated and considered traitors.
Jesus was walking along and saw Levi performing His job. Then Jesus said, “Follow me” and he did. There was no discussion and no argument, Levi just left his job and followed. This is the heart that Jesus is looking for today; people who will forsake everything in order to follow Him. After this incident, Jesus was invited to Levi’s home, and he went. Present at that get-together were all of Levi’s friends who no doubt had heard from their friend about this awesome preacher and how He had asked him to join His ministry. The stir came when the “religious” folks thought it was wrong that Jesus would associate with sinners and tax collectors. Jesus has an uncanny ability to collect the unsavory of the world. His ministry was to reach out to those who need God the most.
As Christ-followers, we need to model this attitude of Jesus. No one is off limits from the Love of Christ. He died for even the most wretched of persons. When we meet people where they are at, we begin to bridge the gap between God and the sinner. We reach out to the sinner and love them with a Jesus sized love, and that is when we portray our savior to a needy world. Jesus looked past the clothes, the career, and the crass behavior and saw people for who they were. Seeing people for who they really are, and who they really need, means seeing them through the eyes of Jesus.
Old Testament: num 1-2 New Testament Mark 3:1-21