Mark 2:13-15 The Voice (VOICE)
To some who believe wholeheartedly in God’s laws, Jesus is a troublemaker, a mere man who has a bad habit of making statements that take away from the honor due to the one true God. The “scribes” who make these kinds of accusations against Jesus are usually connected to the Pharisees (a Jewish sect popular with the people, mostly middle class, and religiously strict when it comes to following God’s laws) or the Sadducees (a smaller Jewish sect made up of priests and aristocrats from Jerusalem). While the two groups often clash with each other politically and theologically, they do find common ground—and sometimes even work together—in opposing Jesus.
13 Another time Jesus was out walking alongside the Sea of Galilee teaching the gathering crowd as He went. 14 He saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the booth where he collected taxes.
Jesus (calling out to him): Follow Me.
Levi left the booth and went along with Him.
Jesus’ invitation to follow Him, like His invitations to all the disciples, involves a lot more than joining the caravan; Jesus’ invitation is for sinners to change their ways of life. Jesus makes it clear, despite the criticisms of some observers, that this invitation is indeed open to all—especially to the sinners who need it most. Jesus grants to those who choose Him not just companionship and forgiveness but the ability to truly receive a new identity and live a new life.
15 At Levi’s house, many tax collectors and other sinners—Jews who did not keep the strict purity laws of the Jewish holy texts—were dining with Jesus and His disciples. Jesus had attracted such a large following that all kinds of people surrounded Him.