After this Jesus went out, and noticing a tax collector named Levi, sitting in the tax-office, he said to him,
So Levi, leaving everything, got up and followed Jesus.
Levi gave a great feast for Jesus, and many tax collectors came to his house, and took their places at the table with the other people. Then the Pharisees and their followers complained to Jesus’ disciples,
How is it that you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?
But Jesus spoke up,
Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. I have not come to call the just, but sinners to a change of heart.
There seems to be no end to the criticisms the Pharisees were heaping upon Jesus. The issue this time is on the kind of company he was keeping, seemingly giving credence to the saying we often hear, “You can tell a person by the company one keeps.” It is evident in the Pharisees’ complaints that to be a friend of sinners was a “no-no” and something shameful. Yet, his critics totally missed the greatest miracle that happened, which gives flesh to Jesus’ conviction that he did not “come to call the just, but sinners to a change of heart”—the total turn-around of Levi, a kind of person whom we might consider today as a conspirator, a turncoat, a white-collar criminal. His sin had made him the opposite of who he was meant to be as a human person with dignity. Having been valued by Jesus as a person worthy of forgiveness and acceptance, he was freed from the dungeons of his sinfulness. Jesus sought out those in greatest need of healing. He seeks us out as he sought out Levi. Like a true physician he wants to heal our whole person—body, psyche, and spirit, if we allow him.
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