Luke 5: 27-32
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 he got up, left everything, and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Recently, in a conversation with some other faith friends, it was commented we must be careful when we say we want Jesus in our life. Because there are times the Jesus we want in our life that answers our questions, meets our needs and generally acts like a God of our own creation.
One friend said, “The truth is we need to talk about the Jesus we do not want”. That led to a much deeper conversation and will likely emerge as a sermon series in your future. But scripture for this past Sunday points to a Jesus who certainly does things in an unconventional way.
Jesus calls unlikely people, (tax collectors, sinners, you and me) to become those who will carry out his mission in the world. He called a despised person named Levi to be a disciple and in the open enjoyed being at a party with people who religious leaders of his day could only refer to as sinners.
He makes it clear his mission will do unconventional things to reach those who are perhaps more ready to accept a God not of their own making. A God who loves unconditionally and cares about what really matters was attractive to him. A God who is dismisses pretense and bias and sees people in a unique way.
As I said Sunday, Jesus sees people as they really are (Children of God) rather than the labels others put on us and we put on ourselves. He also sees people as they could become. So a Levi (tax collector) could become Matthew ( a leader of the early church).
Who do you need to see differently? How do you need to see yourself differently? What is the future before you that you cannot see but God sees?
As we share communion on Sunday, I invited people to come forward to reconfirm their faith in Jesus, or lay down the junk of life so they could begin their relationship with Jesus. I invite you to take this moment to do either now.