Tag Archives: pharisees

Follow me

  • Leviticus 4:1-5:19
  • Mark 2:13-3:6
  • Psalm 36:1-12
  • Proverb 10:1-2

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.

Mark 2:14

Levi son of Alphaeus is referred to in Matthew’s gospel as “Matthew”. Levi is a tax collector under Herod Antipa. Taxes were collected for the Roman government by Jewish agents, who were especially detested for helping the pagan conqueror. They were hated by most Jews as traitors because of their collusion They were notorious for cheating taxpayers. They were being used as pawns by their employers, and hated by their community. They didn’t fit in anywhere.

But Jesus called Levi to come follow him….and his band of Jewish friends. He likely didn’t fit in there either because who wants a bill collector around? Especially one who has the authority to take everything they own if their tab isn’t paid in full? So what does Jesus do?

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.

Mark 2:15

So in today’s terms, who was there? Commercial fishermen, prostitutes and bill collectors. Who are the most outcast people in your community? The ones you avoid? The guy on the corner holding up a sign begging? The tweeker that everyone talks about in town? The prostitute on main street? The repo driver coming to collect your car? Yea them, that’s who’s there.

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 the tax collectors and sinners?”

Mark 2:16

Part of today’s readings are three chapters from the Book of Leviticus. Did you read them? Or did you try to read them, but just couldn’t get through them? Many exhaustive regulations for hommage are written in this book, right? If you do this, then you have to do that….guilt offerings, sin offerings, if you are aware of your sin, or not aware of your sin, if they’re committed by a priest, or member of community, blood on this blood on that. Exhausting! These Pharisees, these teachers of the law were the enforcers of the book of Leviticus. They were good at instructing and requiring the sin offerings that are prescribed in these brutal chapters.

I’ll be honest with you, I am guilty of passing judgement on the girl with green hair or the tweeker down the road. My kids have called me on that numerous times. I repent for being judgement and prideful more often than I do just about any other sin because here’s what Jesus says about that….

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

Mark 2:17

To be included at the table with Jesus, I have to admit to being a sinner. I have to swallow my pride and look in the mirror at my own issues and not out in self-righteousness at others in judgement. I have to admit to my own unhealthiness in order to enjoy the healing nourishment offered at the banquet of Jesus.

Lord, forgive me when I look in judgement on others. I pray to be included at the table of your mercy. Search me and show me the area of which needs healing within myself. I pray for the person reading this that they will drop everything and follow you. May we be willing to leave behind any baggage that would hold us down from getting up and following you.

Is there anything holding you back from following Jesus?

Is there any area of your life where you are being a judge of others?

Jesus is the Great Physician. What needs to be healed within you?

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