Read Mark 2:13–17

[13] Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. [14] As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. [15] While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. [16] When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” [17] On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

ReflectWhat is Jesus call to the tax collector? To us?

We’re not told here why Jesus goes to Levi’s house for dinner (though see Luke 5:29), and we’re not told whether Levi invited him or whether he invited himself, as he did when he met Zacchaeus, another tax collector in the employ of the hated Romans (Luke 19:5). But we do know that Jesus risked his reputation to eat with Levi and Zacchaeus (16; Luke 19:7), and that he participated without hesitation in their hospitality (Luke 5:30). When challenged about his behavior, Jesus uses the grumbling questions of his Pharisee critics to clearly enunciate the nature of his mission. His “target group”, if you like, is the despised and outcast; his mission is to those who need healing (17). A friend of mine once challenged me, on the basis of Matthew 25:45, to measure the quality of my love for God by the way I treated the people I found it hardest to love. I think he had a point; I wonder how prepared I am to face and overcome my own prejudices, or to disregard social disapproval when that’s what travelling with Jesus entails. Let us purpose to love the least of these even as Jesus did.

Apply

Who is Jesus calling you and me to befriend today? Make some plans to invite them for a meal or to spend some time with them.