Now it happened as He was dining in Levi’s house that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him (Mark 2:15).
I love this verse for these reasons:
- Jesus went to the house of a tax collector
- Jesus dined with Levi (Matthew) and his friends
- These outcasts–people whom society looked down on because they were tax collectors and sinners–these are the same people who sat together with Jesus and His disciples.
- They followed Him
Jesus broke down walls when He dined at Matthew’s house. He demonstrated that God’s love and grace were for everyone. When the Pharisees criticized Him, Jesus quoted Hosea 6:6 which says, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” He told them to go and learn what that meant.
The religious offered the required sacrifices but failed to show mercy to those who were lost. They treated them with contempt, showing them none of the love and mercy God had for them. Jesus wanted to show that God loved the tax collectors and the sinners and had sent His Son to call them to repentance so that they, like the righteous can have eternal life.