2/13/22 Christ Came to call the Sinners (Mark 2:13-17)
1.The significance of calling of Levi
Levi’s calling is quite ironic. Because Levi was a tax collector, he had to get rid of their Israel citizenship and serve the Roman empire. As a result, he was considered a traitor and was shunned by society. Therefore, Jesus calling Levi was considered scandalous. We, too, were sinners like Levi, outcasted from God. Levi’s state represents our spiritual state and in the same way Levi was called, we were called by Christ to be saved and have a new identity and purpose. The bible says we were enemies of God, yet he loved us so much he sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross and finish all of our sins on the cross. We sing “Amazing grace” because God loved us so much that he saved us. In the same way Jesus personally calls Levi, he calls each of us personally to follow him. Jesus called tax collectors and fishers, the lowest in education and in society, because none of the qualifications we think we need matters in God’s eyes. Just like Peter, we make so many mistakes but God will carry us. Let’s stand as the disciples God called us to be.
2. Pharisees and legalism
Levi celebrates meeting Christ and invites his fellow tax collectors to celebrate his salvation. The Pharisees see Jesus joining them and criticize him, “How can Jesus eat with sinners?” The Pharisees were zealous for God and followed God’s commandments stringently, thinking that was how they could please God, but they missed the gospel. When we receive salvation, we move under God’s reign and rule and our lives completely change. Without understanding the gospel, we have no choice but to act according to our thoughts and standards. However, when we truly love the lord, it will reflect in our actions. There is no need for us to force ourselves to change, but when we have the answer of Christ, our lives have no choice but to change. God asks not for our action but for our faith. Jesus reminds us that keeping the law cannot save us but our faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The Pharisees refused to associate themselves with Levi and the other tax collectors because they thought they were unclean. We might think we’re better than others, and that for some people salvation is impossible but everyone has hope in Jesus Christ. We need to discard our own standards and see people through God’s eyes and his desire.
Matthew 9:37-38 “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
3. Jesus came not to call the righteous but the sinners
In verse 17, when Jesus hears what the Pharisees have to say, he tells them “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” As we look out into the world, we need to open our eyes to the spiritual reality that God sees. There are so many people who are waiting to hear Jesus, for us to witness. There are also so many Christians without assurance, who don’t understand the value and worth of Christ. The field is dying because there is no one going out to proclaim. As disciples, let’s receive the greatest grace through worship. Don’t get distracted but prioritize receiving God’s grace. Then, God will open up the doors. In order for the field to be revived, we need to revive the church and worship first. Let’s change our attitude. Instead of thinking we come here to worship because there’s nowhere else to go but instead because this is the church God called me to save. Whenever you feel stuck in yourself, turn your attention to God and seek out his desire, and he will restore everything in your life. In the bible, whenever idols arose, disasters resulted and the world was saved by the remnants God called.
Let’s not be deceived by reality. The 10 spies saw Jericho and and the Israelites saw Goliath and immediately thought the situation was impossible. Instead, like Joshua and David, we need to know the spiritual reality: the Holy Spirit is working, the forces of darkness are bound and broken and God is mobilizing his heavenly angels. As we give worship, our souls need to be revived and refreshed with his Holy Spirit. Then, when we face problems in our lives, we can have a different attitude. The Early Church took persecution as an opportunity from God. Wherever God sends us, God has his hidden plan for us to discover. Let’s receive God’s historical answers. We’re not working to live comfortably but to stand as witnesses before kings and queens and change history.