Mark 2:15-16 (NLT)
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?�
Levi was a tax collector for the Roman government. When I think about those who were Roman tax collectors, I think about the more modern day crime syndicates who extort money for so called �protection� of a business. Most tax collections were greedy and often use their authority to take more than required as profit for themselves. Tax collectors were considered some of the most despised people because of the burdens they placed financially on people. Their wealth obtained them some of the most disreputable sinners as friends. In the verses above a dinner party gathered with Levi�s friends and tax collectors. Levi invited Jesus to attend dinner and Jesus accepted. The Pharisees, the religious leaders, could not believe Jesus, who intimately knew the law, would gather himself with such sinful scum.
How comfortable would you find yourself sitting with disreputable sinners? Would it be easy for you or difficult to sit down and have a conversation with those who might repulse most people because of their morals? Jesus came to heal the sick, not the healthy. Not just sick physically, but those who were sick due to sin in their lives. Jesus knew His purpose. Jesus knew he was God�s son. Jesus was not worried about what others thought, but instead cared about what His Father thought. Jesus determined to heal the sick reached out to them and was inclusive of them. May we be able to find in our own lives the strength and purpose to fulfill God�s will of ministering to others? Pray God will let you see people the way He sees them, broken, hurt, and in need of someone who cares. Be ready to share the good news of Christ and respond to others in love. Pray too you also know who you are as a child of God.