Today David Brakke, our lead pastor at Maltby Christian Assembly, launched a new series called “Dinners with Jesus.” We are taking the next five weeks to study moments where the Messiah shared a meal with someone else.
The Bible reads, “After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance'” (Luke 5:27-32, ESV).
Jesus was approachable. There was something about him that made people want to be who they were supposed to be. A conviction. Nothing like condemnation. Something that would cause a man to leave a profitable business for an unknown path of purpose.
We also discover that discipleship often begins BEFORE conversion. Levi became a disciple before he knew exactly Who he was following. Are we willing to lead those who cannot (let alone will not) lead themselves? Will we include the worst of the worst on the “best life now?”
And where did Jesus go first? Did he take Levi to the synagogue? To the temple? To even pay back all of those he had robbed? Jesus entered into Levi’s world. He met his friends. His life was devoted to those who had been wrecked. He was the Remedy.
So shouldn’t his church be approachable as well? Shouldn’t we embrace the outcasts and outrage the legalists? Shouldn’t we go where the people are more often than we expect them to find us? Shouldn’t we be driven by the wrecked rather than diverted by the religious?