Jesus and the Motley Crew

Posted: August 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

If you were taking a multiple choice quiz, and the question was, “Jesus is, a. a Party Pooper, or b. a Party Animal” and no one but Jesus was watching, which answer would you choose. Luke 5 is a very interesting chapter in the Bible, and it sheds some insight into that question.

The second half of the chapter is devoted to Jesus, a man named Levi, and the Pharisees and religious establishment. Jesus calls Levi, a tax collector to follow him. The thing is, tax collectors were the scum of the earth. They were extortionists and hated by everyone. But Jesus says to Levi, “I want you.” He had already assembled a pretty motley crew, a mosaic of people. Fishermen, a leper, a paralytic, all in the same chapter, and now Levi (also called Matthew).

When Jesus calls, Levi gives up everything to follow Jesus. He was a wealthy man, and he left all of that behind him. When you follow Jesus, there is only one guarantee. You are not guaranteed security; you are not guaranteed safety; you are not even guaranteed shelter. All you are absolutely guaranteed is if you follow Jesus, you will get Jesus. So everyone considering becoming a believer has to decide, “Is Jesus enough?”
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Levi gave up everything to follow Jesus. For him, indeed Jesus was enough. But he doesn’t stop there. He is so excited about the new life he has discovered as a disciple that he hosts a large banquet, a huge party. And he invites Jesus to be the honored guest. He then invites all of his work associates (fellow tax collectors) and his friends.

There is only one group that isn’t really invited, and that is the religious establishment. They crash the party and complain to Jesus, “You eat with sinners.” Jesus says, ‘I am like a doctor. People who are well don’t need a doctor. I came for those who are sick.” Of course all are sinners, but not all are willing to admit it. That is why the NLT of the Bible says, “I have come to the sick, not those who don’t think they need any help.”

Still undecided about what answer on the quiz. I choose “party animal.” He was always where the party was. He was always where sinners were. Jesus says to you, “I want you”, unless of course like the Pharisees, you already think that you are good enough.

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