And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him. Mark 2:13-14
Here we see Jesus calling one of his disciples, Levi, wait who is Levi? Matthew is the greek translation of the name Levi. Its interesting because the name Levi actually derived from the priesthood name of Leviticus. It is possible Matthew came from the Levitical priest line , we don’t really know , but oh how the mighty have fallen
As you know Matthew (Levi) was a tax collector, the most disgraceful occupation an orthodox Jew could possess. Not only did Matthew work for the Roman Empire, but extorted taxes from his own persecuted people. Matthew was viewed as wicked as Caesar himself
But notice what Jesus did, he called this wretched tax collector, and not only provided him salvation, but made him an Apostle! This is the power of the gospel, this is what the blood of Christ can do, bring us alive from our trespasses and give us a new heart and new name!
And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? Mark 2: 15-16
Jesus came to set the captives free! This is a central message of the gospel story, notice it says “many followed him” Jesus took the people society threw away and made them born again! The religious people wouldn’t even associate with these people, but the power of the gospel can transform anyone!
One thing we want to point out, even though Jesus associated with sinners to save them, he never sinned with them! Alot of people like to justify their sinful lifestyle by pointing out Jesus associated with him. Jesus came to call for repentance (Mark 1:15)
When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Mark 2:17
Jesus is the Great Physician, there is no other way to be made well except through Jesus Christ, why? Because we are dead in our sins (Ephesians 1), Jesus is the only one who can make us Born Again (John 3)
If Jesus can save and use a wretched sinner like Matthew, he can save and use you also! Answer your calling and follow Jesus! Amen!