Levi had accepted an invitation to follow Jesus. Later on, Levi invited Jesus to his house as a dinner quest, along with many other tax collectors and disreputable sinners. (By the way, it’s a principle that still holds true to this day: the most recent converts will have access to largest unreached friend group!)
Mark tells us this (2:15) was a group who would be questionable at best, and at the end of verse 16 added this high impact, parenthetical phrase: “There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.”
“There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.”Mark 2:16b
This whole scene riled up the pharisees and teachers of the law. Why would Jesus “eat with such scum?” Their words exactly, more less. Jesus does answer the naysayers and explains it well in the next verse.
But I want to think again about this one small comment Mark makes… there were many “scum” among Jesus’ followers. Many people of this kind in his group.
And the more I think about it, the more grateful I become. I would classify myself among the group of people who aren’t worthy to sit with Jesus. I’ve spent so much time thinking about myself and my issues. I fail in some way every day. I’m often short with those I love. I get muddled pet sins that can’t seem to break away. And I could go on and on.
But I’m a child of God. I’m learning and growing. I want to keep trusting. And I want my faith to grow. And in desperation, I want to reach out to Jesus every day.
Jesus says, he’s not here for the healthy but for the sick, the ones who know they need him.
You may find yourself in the same boat. You can think back to dark times in life, failures, mistakes and major issues, some of which you’re still trying to overcome. Other’s may see you and think, how can he be in church? How can she claim to follow Jesus?
But according to scripture, “there were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.”
Me and and you included.
Thankfully, God uses us in spite of ourselves.
In fact our greatest strength is just getting near Jesus. It’s one of the reasons “devotions” are so important. Daily time in scripture and prayer is bedrock to getting close to Jesus. And as we do, no matter what we’re dealing with, we grow closer to him and he to us.
The good news is the only response needed to draw near to Jesus is a willing heart, to say yes, to seek him.
Thankfully and by God’s grace, Jesus wants to spend time with you.