“After this he went out and saw a man named Levi at his work collecting taxes. Jesus said, ‘Come along with me.’ And he did—walked away from everything and went with him.


Levi gave a large dinner at his home for Jesus. Everybody was there, tax men and other disreputable characters as guests at the dinner. The Pharisees and their religion scholars came to his disciples greatly offended. ‘What is he doing eating and drinking with crooks and ‘sinners’?’


Jesus heard about it and spoke up, ‘Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out’.” Luke 5:27-32 (MSG)


When Levi, also known as Matthew, woke up that morning, he didn’t know how one conversation would change the trajectory of his life. His job was to collect taxes, and the people despised the tax collectors, because they were known to practice extortion and steal from the people. He was no exception. While tax collectors were generally well off, it came as a result of dishonesty. Jesus, walking along, saw this man whom the Jews despised, and extended him an unusual invitation. In the moment of decision, he left everything to follow Jesus. The people standing around were probably wide eyed and stunned that this tax collector would leave his wealth, prominence, authority, and position to follow a religious leader. Even more, how could Jesus ask him? This moment was followed by a dinner party with Jesus as one of Levi’s guests. The religious leaders couldn’t believe that Jesus, a religious man, would ask a tax collector to be a follower then stoop to that level and associate with “those” people. Jesus saw “those” people as what they were: people in need of a Savior. Instead of labeling people by their past, Jesus was offering them a new future.


We all can identify with Levi when we first came to Jesus. While we may not have been extorting people, we were a sinner in need of a Savior. However, as we walk with God, it can frankly become easy to forget when Jesus saved us, and we start moving closer to the legalism of the Pharisees instead of faith in Jesus. Instead of reaching out to people who are where we once were, we can start judging, and the church then becomes a hospital full of healthy people trying to keep everything else out. Jesus has not called us to group together in Christian circles where we miss the people who need Him. He has called us to be his hands and feet to a broken and lost world. How can we love someone if we never go? It may just be a walk across the street or a conversation over coffee that could radically change someone’s life. We have to be willing to put our pride and position aside to share the hope we have: Jesus.


Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.  Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. 

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About Hona Amer

I help people live life to the fullest. Check out my book, Smart Work U. Follow me on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram. In order to receive updates, subscribe below.

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