Thursday, March 31, 2016
Even though his own people shunned him he didn't much care. He had fine clothing and a fine home with many friends who bribed him to not assess the full amount they would have had to pay on their own tax accounts.
He had a lot of friends who were also tax collectors. All of them and their wealthy friends liked to hang out together drinking and sinning. They were an elite economically privileged group.
The people disliked all of them, they knew these men were morally corrupt thieves and liars. But what could they do about it because "He who has the gold makes the rules." Some had tried but failed, the Romans were all too powerful and cruel in their punishments.
One day Jesus went forth and saw the tax collector Levi (Matthew) sitting in the tax collector's office and said to him: "Follow me."
Levi was called to full attention by those two simple words. There was something in them that had an overwhelming power. There was something very compelling drawing him to the man who had just spoken the words. What was it? The man was just an ordinary Jew with no evidence of the power of wealth or nobility?
There was something about the man's eyes. He didn't look at him with seething hatred or disdain like most others. There was compassion and respect almost as if the man was his best friend.
Levi fidgeted in his seat as the two simple words borrowed deep behind the case hardened protective shield he had perfected over the years as a tax collector, a shield that had kept the pain and suffering of others from clouding his judgment in his tax assessment of those who came into his office.
He felt an incredible drawing power like he had never known before. How could they be getting through to his black heart?
What was happening to him? Many was the time that heart breaking circumstances of others could not even disturb him or cause him to budge an inch from doing his job. And now two simple words have such an incredible power over him. Levi started to break a sweat as he realized that the words were unlike any other words that his ears have ever heard. There was something about them that was more real then any other words. They were alive, they were totally active, they cut to the core of his being. He could not resist them any longer.
Levi abandoned all things and got up from his chair, he followed Jesus...
And Levi (Matthew) made a great feast for him (Jesus) in his home; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and of others who were reclining with them.
And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples saying: "why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?"
And Jesus having answered, said to them: "The (ones) being healthy do not have need of a physician but the ones having illness (those who are ill).
I have not come to call righteous (persons) but sinners to repentance."
Men love to play God.
They will step out in self will and build large organizations to do the work of God on their own.
Or they will have elaborate schemes and methods to do God's work for Him. Hiring experts in the advertising and manipulation marketing fields. And experts in the funds collecting fields. Getting endorsements from important political people and very wealthy donors etc.
None of them can do what God can do.
A man can be changed in just mere seconds by a touch from God.
A man can be changed by two simple words from God directed to him.
It has always been like that.
No one can do it like that.
Only God can do it.
A life time of Bible study at one of man's great organizations can't do what God can do in seconds with one touch of His Word!
And yet God has given to us the privilege of being the bearer of His Words to the hearts of others.
To the hearts of sinners.
Sinners rejected by the religious spirited Pharisees.
Refuse to be a man pleaser, refuse to be respectable when it comes to delivering the Word of God.
Respectability is not the power of God and can not accomplish what God's Word can accomplish.
Whole Church systems have groomed themselves into respectability from the messy Jesus People days and in the process lost that incredible anointing that they once had. And they didn't even know what they had done to themselves! They had become religious.
Being a man pleaser does not do anything.
Being a God pleaser does everything.
Jesus went to a vile sinner who was rejected by others and went to a feast at his home where there were other vile rejected sinners.
He got called on it by those with a religious spirit.
They were not very pleased with Him. He was losing respectability with them.
Be instant in season and out of season to give an answer to anyone that ask of thee...
Be sensitive to the leading of God by His Holy Spirit and go where He sends you without regard to man's acceptance or rejection.
Be willing to give up respectability to do the work of the Kingdom of God.
The man Christ Jesus went to Levi a rejected sinner.
Matthew 22:9Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
Matthew 28:19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mark 16:15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.