Luke 5:27-32 (ESV)
27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
29 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. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
If you decided to have dinner with a loan shark, how would your friends and family react?
In Jesus’ time, tax collectors were viewed in the same way our present-day society disdains businesses that prey on the poor. Tax collectors were Jews who were taking advantage of their own people by collecting Rome’s taxes plus a surcharge to line their own pockets (Luke 19:8). They were considered outsiders—enemies on the same level as the Romans.
Levi was a tax collector. And yet Jesus sought him with one purpose in mind: to join his table.
“Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector's booth. ‘Follow me and be my disciple,’ Jesus said to him” (Luke 5:27). Jesus wanted this man—this enemy of the people—to be saved. By accepting the invitation, Levi became one of Jesus’ disciples. You know him as Matthew, who wrote the first Gospel of the New Testament.
Before we came to Christ, each of us was an enemy of God (Rom. 5:10). But God loved us so much that He not only wanted to make us friends—He also wanted to make us family (Eph. 1:5). Look around you for those who’ve never known or have become estranged from their Creator, especially those who’ve been vilified as enemies. Look at their potential in Jesus and invite them to come home.
Do you know any “enemies” that need to hear about Jesus through you?
Ask God to give you the courage to reach out to someone that society has rejected.
Dear Lord, help us to love our enemies. Help us to reach out to someone today that needs Your love. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.