Ian Wheeler spoke on Mark 2:13-17. He spoke about Jesus calling Levi the tax collector and how Jesus did not come for the righteous, but came to save sinners.
- Have you ever been really sick but didn’t want to go to the doctor because you didn’t want any shots, or you didn’t want the doctor to draw blood from you? A couple years ago I felt really badly and knew I was really sick but didn’t want to deal with going to the doctor. I thought I could fix it myself, and thought if I just waited then I would get better, but I actually got worse. Finally I went to the doctor and found out that I actually had mono, and really needed help. It was only after I went to the doctor that I could finally get the help I needed. My sickness didn’t get any better when I just sat around.
13 – He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them.
- At this point, Jesus’ ministry is viral. If they had snapchat or Instagram Jesus would be all over it. He had power over unclean spirits, he could heal the sick, and the story we looked at last week was the story when Jesus healed and forgave the paralytic.
- What does this show us? Jesus has power over unclean spirits, the sick, and sin. Jesus was teaching and had an important message. Mark 1:15 says “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” And that was Jesus’ message.
- The people listening would have known just what Jesus meant by saying this. If we look back at Isaiah we see that this is referring to the messiah and the new Jerusalem. The people who will make it to the new Jerusalem will have a repentant heart. The Gospel is the good news.
14 – And as he passed by, he saw Levi (Matthew) the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
- The tax collectors were kind of like a school bully who would beat you up and take your lunch money. Rome ruled over the Jews and required a heavy tax. Tax collectors would tax people when they saw them for what they were carrying and would tax more than required to keep the extra. Tax collectors were the last type of people you would want to stop and chat with. But Jesus did stop. And he said “Follow me.” He didn’t say “First go to the temple and make a sacrifice”, he didn’t list off any rules, he just said “Follow me.” What is Jesus saying here? Jesus ask us to come as we are but not stay as we are.
15 – And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.
- Jesus is in Levi’s house. This shows a level of acceptance both ways. Jesus also models something for us here. We are to bring the gospel to these people. He brings his message. Jesus isn’t doing this at the tax booth or the bar, he is in his house speaking with them.
16 – And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
- The scribes of the Pharisees aren’t talking to Jesus himself, but they are actually gossiping. When we see two people talking about a problem that they can’t fix, that’s gossip. They are gossiping to the disciples, questioning why Jesus would be eating with the tax collectors and sinners. But Jesus stops the gossiping quickly. The Pharisees viewed themselves as righteous, and didn’t know why Jesus would be found with such a “Sinner”. They had an us verses them mentality.
17 – And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
- The Kingdom of God is for sinners. Self righteous people will not inherit the kingdom. Pharisees didn’t see themselves as sinners, but Jesus still preached to them. People who don’t think they need Jesus will not come to him. Jesus uses the analogy of sickness for sin. If you don’t think you are sick you won’t walk into a doctor’s office. Only people who know they are sick and admit they need help will go to the doctor’s. But the truth is we all have a disease that will kill us and that disease is sin. Romans 3:23 says we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We see sin first introduced in Genesis, and it continues throughout the Bible. None of us are untouched by sin. Let’s look back to my story at the beginning.
- I felt really sick and didn’t want to get any help. I was prideful and didn’t want to admit there was anything wrong. The same is true for me spiritually. I knew that I am bad and knew I was a sinner but didn’t want to deal with the sin. I thought I could fix it myself. I thought I could just work harder. I thought I could just wait it out and it would get all better. But just like my sickness, if sin is not dealt with it gets worse. I could read my bible more, go to church more, surround myself with Christians- but what I really needed was a doctor, someone who could truly cleanse me of my sins.
- We can’t fix sin. Sin is always there. I needed help from someone else. I needed Jesus, and finally I went and got help.
- Jesus came for the sick. He came for the sinners. We need to repent and believe! But how can we do this? Jesus is without sin, there is no “sickness” in him. But Jesus died on the cross while bearing our sins. It was a horrible death that he endured. He paid the price for ALL our sins. He rose from the grave three days later conquering sin and death forever. The Good news (the Gospel) is that if we repent and believe in Jesus’s final sacrifice we enter into the kingdom of God for eternity.
- Jesus can just say “Follow me” because he has done all the work for us. The only thing we bring to our salvation is our sin. Jesus did all the work, we just have to repent and believe.