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Mark 2:13-17

The Word of God

Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in Levi's house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples--for there were many who followed him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" When Jesus heard this, he said to them, "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."

Mark 2:13-17
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus is at home with the very weak and wayward side of humanity and wants us to be at home with it in ourselves. If we do not accept ourselves we tend to become preoccupied with what is inadequate, lacking and negative about our lives. •
    • In prayer, you might tell Jesus about something that you do not like about yourself. In the light of how comfortable Jesus is in relating with this side of you, see can you let him put this fault in perspective or help you to see it as a small part of the very good person he finds you to be.
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    • As Jesus preached by the lakeside his words had a different impact from person to person. For some he was just a novelty. Others, perhaps, were half-interested. But the reports reaching Levi sitting in his office-booth nearby must have stirred his heart, for when Jesus invited him to be a co-worker for the Kingdom, Levi rose immediately with not even a thought for the career he was leaving behind.
    • The job of Levi – collecting the taxes for the Roman government of occupation never endeared him to his countrymen. Yet it was he who had the more attuned ear for the whole changed relationship with God which Jesus was ushering in.
    • No matter what our circumstances, we can always have an ear open for the higher call.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • I wonder how Jesus said the words, 'Follow me.' Like an order, an invitation, a whisper, a definite challenge? However said, it provoked a response.
    • Allow Jesus to address you in your prayer. How do you hear his call to follow him - as a gentle invitation, an urgent word? No matter how it is said, it is always spoken into the space of each person's interior freedom and deepest generosity.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • In calling Matthew to be a disciple, Jesus picked an unlikely man. He was a tax collector, despised by the Jews. Just as a doctor visits the sick, Jesus seeks out those in greatest need. He renews their dignity and their hope. But the really sick are the ‘righteous’ who despise others! Is there a touch of the ‘righteous’ in me? If so I ask to be healed.
    • I have often strayed from your presence, dear Friend of my life, but the homing instinct is strong in me and I long to return to my Father’s house.
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    • Jesus cuts through the carefully constructed assumptions of the Pharisees. What a shock that must have been! Levi, a most unlikely man, despised by the righteous, is the recipient of God’s gracious mercy and forgiveness. Jesus sees his hidden potential and invites him into friendship.
    • Lord, hypocrisy, arrogance and contempt have no place in your table fellowship. Heal my arrogant, despising, and judging heart so that I can sit at table with you.
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    • In his early ministry Jesus was invited to speak in the synagogue, but quite soon the rulers of the synagogue grew uneasy with him, and he was forced out to speak wherever he could, on the roads and the lakeside. He had been marginalized by his own people, and the marginalized were drawn to him, justifiably unpopular people like tax-collectors.
    • Lord, it is when I feel on the edge that I need you, and you are there for me.
    • Tax collectors were despised bureaucrats who collected taxes on behalf of the Roman occupiers. They were looked upon as traitors. So when the scribes see Jesus eating with such people they are shocked.
    • The scribes and Pharisees regarded themselves as righteous because they carefully observed various customs that had been added to the Law of Moses, the so-called 'traditions of the elders.' When Jesus says that he has come not to call the righteous but sinners, he is referring ironically to the scribes and Pharisees who see obedience to custom as superior to love of God and neighbour.
    • The crowds who listened to Jesus were made up of different kinds of people, many of whom had little in common with each other, some of whom despised others. I pray that Christians may be tolerant of diversity in the way that Jesus was.
    • The sick and those in need usually approach Jesus boldly and directly; the seemly Pharisees approached the disciples. Much as I rely on others, I an reminded always to bring my needs and questions to Jesus, who has all the time in the world for me.