He was an unlikely prospect to be one of a few handpicked representatives of the Lord. His resume was rather sketchy at best. His background was not one that included rabbinical school nor had he been a loyal religious participant. He had collected taxes, and his friends were as shady as he was. It was from his tax booth that Jesus invited him on an improbable journey, “Follow Me (Luke 5:27).” As shocking as the invitation may have been, his acceptance was just as surprising. Up and off he went.
There is no indication that he hesitated in his response. He didn’t ask for a week or two to think about it. Why he didn’t remains a mystery, but he left it all behind and began the adventure of a lifetime. Obviously, he knew something of this one called the Christ. His first impulse was to throw a dinner party. That was surely an eye-opener. The room wasn’t exactly filled with the town’s elite, and the critics were vocal. They always are. Religious circles seem to attract them.
Interesting, isn’t it? The Savior of sinners came and was surrounded by…sinners, and the ones who were supposed to be God’s people complained and criticized. The Son of God made one of the most obvious statements imaginable to explain, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick (Luke 5:31).” Seems pretty logical, does it not?
To complain about Jesus being surrounded by sinners is somewhat like patients complaining because a doctor is in the middle of sick people. We don’t expect a hospital to be filled with healthy people, and we sure want doctors to be there to help the ailing. The Savior came searching for those who were terminally ill with the most horrible of spiritual diseases. Satan deceives, damages and destroys God’s most treasured possession. The Son of God came with the cure.
People today are scrambling to get the COVID-19 vaccine. They fear getting the disease which can be deadly and are willing to wait in long lines to get their shots. Sin is always, 100% of the time, fatal if left untreated and we are all afflicted. How urgent is the need for what Jesus offers? Yet, the establishment criticized the Great Physician for mixing with the sin-sick. They were the very ones who needed Him. We still do.
“I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32).” Medicine. Turn to the Lord. The diseased cannot keep feeding their illness. The Son of Man did not indulge their sin or justify their actions. He summoned them to change. Levi (Better known as Matthew) left his past behind and followed Jesus. We do not know much more about him, but he was one of a select dozen. Some become famous like Peter. Others don’t. The Lord invites them all.