BREAD FOR BEGGARS
Lord Jesus, as you join me at my table, with each meal, make me aware of your presence and grateful for your abundant provisions for me.
Read LUKE 5:27-39
Jesus Calls Levi and Eats With Sinners
27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Jesus Questioned About Fasting
33 They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”
34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”
36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘God is not a secret to be kept’ (Matthew 5:14, The Message). Is your faith a well-kept secret or a secret widely shared?
‘Evangelism is witness. It is one beggar telling another beggar where to get food.’* As a tax collector, Levi was probably financially well off. Socially, however, he was considered an outcast, despised as a traitor who collaborated with Rome. Spiritually, he was a ‘beggar,’ a sinner in desperate need of God’s mercy. When Levi encountered Jesus—‘the bread of life’ (John 6:35)—he left behind his tax booth to follow him (vs 27,28). This beggar had discovered the life-giving bread that would satisfy his deepest hunger.
But when Levi abandoned that tax booth, he didn’t cut ties with his buddies. His first action as a Jesus follower was to host an open house for other ‘beggars’ like himself so that they, too, could meet the bread of life (v 29). Levi didn’t argue or impose his views on his friends; he simply invited them to dinner and introduced them to Jesus.
The thought of ‘witnessing’ scares some of us witless! We may find it more comfortable and convenient to view evangelism as a task for missionaries or preachers rather than for us ‘ordinary’ Christians. But every Christian’s testimony is both as simple and as urgent as one beggar pointing another beggar to the source of life-giving bread.
‘Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God’ (Matthew 5:16, The Message). In what ways are you doing this?
All that I have, dear Jesus, belongs to you. Forgive me when I cling to things that really are not mine. For your sake, help me to be a prodigal giver.
*DT Niles, That They May Have Life (Harper & Brothers, 1951).
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