Hall of Fame football player from the Baltimore Raves, Ray Lewis, had ups and downs both on and off the field. He won Super Bowls and awards but was also indicted on charges of murder and aggravated assault. Through it all, Lewis realized that He needed Jesus. “It’s simple,” Lewis says, “if God is for you, who can be against you?” The transformation in Lewis’s life was surprising to those around him. I imagine that at several times in our text today people were shocked at those who turned and followed Jesus.
For starters, Jesus invited a tax collector named Levi to follow Him (v. 14). Thus far, the people who followed Him were fishermen, farmers, and others who worked with their hands. Yes, they were sinners, but at least they could lay their heads down at night and say, “God, I know I am a sinner, but at least I am not a tax collector.”
Imagine their surprise when Levi, whose profession gave him a horrible reputation, not only followed Jesus but also decided to throw a dinner party with “many tax collectors and sinners” (vv. 14–15). The uninvited Pharisees were conveniently passing by Levi’s house and saw Jesus. They were appalled (v. 16)! Jesus’ response tells the Pharisees that these are the very people who need a second chance. These people, whom many considered social outcasts, were the reason He had come (v. 17).
Jesus came for the unexpected and He wanted them to do the unexpected. The Pharisees found it difficult to imagine that God loved tax collectors and sinners, people like you and me. But He does! As a response, we also are to do the unexpected, leave our sinful past, and follow Him.
>> If you have not already, join me on the journey of following Jesus. It is perhaps the last thing you, or others, ever expect you to do. Jesus came for you and He wants you follow Him. Do something unexpected today and accept His invitation. Learn more about knowing Christ!
“The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine; but God, who call’d me here below, will be forever mine” (John Newton). Dear God, forgive me for my sins and let me be forever Yours.