The Call of Levi
1. Jesus’ principle for discipleship
27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. Luke 5:27-28 (ESV)
Discipleship means that Jesus must be the number one priority in an individual’s life.
2. Jesus’ principle for fellowship
29 And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. Luke 5:29 (ESV)
Jesus accepted all individuals as people of worth, understanding that isolation from sinners is not a call of discipleship.
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 (ESV)
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 1 Corinthians 5:9-10 (ESV)
3. Jesus’ principle for sonship
30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:30-32 (ESV)
31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, Romans 9:31-32 (ESV)
The “healthy” are the self-righteous, alluding to the Pharisees who cannot see their condition, while the “sick” are the sinners who perceive their condition and need for help.
Jesus’ point is that we are all sinners; some recognize it while others do not.
12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13 (ESV)
6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6 (ESV)
7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:7 (ESV)