Draw in Nearer, Part 2
Does God truly want to be near someone like ME?
Mark 2:13-17 (NKJV)
13 Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them. 14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.
15 Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Read these verses again paying particular attention to the words below:
Follow: (verb) to walk or proceed along <follow a path or person>
Arose: (verb) to get up
Dining: (verb) to eat a meal
Call: (verb) to command or request to come or be present
Before Matthew (Levi) became a disciple of Christ, he was a tax collector. Matthew aka Levi (in the above verses) are the same person.
Tax collectors, like Levi, were hated by the Jews because they not only worked for the Roman government, but were oftentimes very dishonest individuals who demanded “tax” money than what was owed in an attempt to cheat their neighbors.
Since Matthew (Levi) was a tax collector, he was looked upon as being one of the worst of the worst by his community. A “good” Jewish person would have never been seen dining with a tax collector.
The fact that Jesus invited Levi (a sinful tax collector) to draw nearer to Him is so amazing. God loved Levi. He loves each one of us with that same mighty passion. Even though we sin and fall short on a daily basis, God truly does want each of us to come closer!
Our sins do not keep God from longing to be near to us.
The fact that Jesus dined with sinners is extremely important! When people dined together in Biblical times, it was a meaningful event. It was a way of showing love and acceptance. When Jesus chose to dine with this group of people, He was announcing to everyone in that town that He LOVED and accepted these people. He was not saying that He agreed with their lifestyles, but that He LOVED them in spite of their lifestyles!
Jesus did not worry Himself as to what people thought about Him. He LOVED these “sinful” people and He DEEPLY desired to spend time with them. He feels the same towards each one of us today!