Scripture: Luke 5:27 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 he got up, left everything, and followed him. 29 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. 30 The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; 32 I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Observation: Jesus had touched a leper and healed him, which was a definite no-no as lepers were considered spiritually unclean. Then, in today’s passage, he called a tax collector named Levi as a disciple. Tax collectors were despised by the Jews because they were seen as traitors, taking money from fellow Jews and giving it to the Romans. People like Levi were to be avoided, not embraced; which is why the Pharisees and scribes were so surprised at Jesus’ practice of breaking bread with them.
Application: As was true of ancient Israel, modern Christians often seek to wall themselves off from unbelievers. Perhaps we’re afraid of being influenced by them? Perhaps we think their bad habits and ungodly ways will rub off on us? As a result, many of us Christians tend to live in a Christian bubble – in that our relationships are mostly with other Christians.
This is especially true with people like me who have vocations in the church. We don’t just relate primarily with fellow Christians in our personal lives, but at work too. If we’re not careful, we can get completely cut off from non-Christians. Not good. Why? Because we are called to share a life of faith with those far from faith. And we can’t do that if we only spend time with fellow Christians.
This is something the Lord has put on my heart lately because it speaks to my current situation. I have too little contact with those outside of the church, that is a fact. And, as a leader, I am called to model for others what a life of discipleship looks like. I can’t be like Jesus if I’m living in a Christian bubble, nor can you.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you didn’t call us to separate ourselves from the world, but to embrace it for the sake of others. Give us grace to connect with those you send our way, that we might introduce them to life with you. We pray this in your precious name. Amen.