"Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious."
Text: 1 Peter 2:4
A FAREWELL FUNCTION
It would be perfectly normal for Levi to hold a farewell function for all his colleagues and friends. It would be a wonderful opportunity for him to explain why he was leaving a lucrative business to follow Jesus. That Jesus approved of such a function may be seen in the following text.
“Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house,
that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together
with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many,
and they followed Him.”
1. The invited guests
It should come as no surprise that the guests were listed as:
a) Tax collectors
These would be colleagues. The tax collectors would naturally form a kind of a guild among themselves.
Mark’s use of this word “sinners” reflect the common way in which certain people were “classified”. Society in the first century could be cruel and vindictive. The people who were called “sinners” would include tax collectors, prostitutes, thieves, and vagabonds.
2. The presence of Jesus in such company
Mark described Jesus as dining with “many tax collectors and sinners”.
a) What it does not mean
It does not mean that Jesus condoned their wrong-doings. Being in company with tax collectors and sinners does not mean that Jesus was tainted by them in any way.
b) What it does mean
A number of things may be brought up.
i) Jesus was consistent in practicing what He preached
He had called Levi to follow Him. As much as He wanted Levi to follow, He must also express a special sense of identification with this new disciple.
ii) The offer to follow Him was extended to others
Anyone could turn to Jesus in faith, and follow Him as Levi did.
iii) A vital lesson for the growing number of disciples of Jesus
They had to cultivate a large heart of compassion as their Master.