February 12, 2005

Mark 2:13-17 Sermon Notes

Category: Bible - NT - Mark :: Permalink

Mark 2:13-17
(November 28, 2005 Sermon Notes)

In the Bible, forgiveness goes hand in hand with food. God promised to return to His people and feast with them (Isa. 25:6-8; 55:1-7) and that return is happening in Jesus Christ .


Jesus has left the synagogue and the home to go into the world around and the crowds follow him. Just as Jesus called the four fishermen from the water to follow him (1:16-20), Jesus now calls Levi from the water (“by the sea”). Like the dry land emerging from the waters in the beginning, like Israel emerging from the Red Sea, Levi also will be part of the new creation, the new Israel, Jesus is forming around himself.

But Levi is a tax collector, working for King Herod. To the Israelites, tax collectors were collaborators with a hated government. Besides, they were known for not keeping the Torah strictly.

Jesus, however, is the king of kings. He calls King Herod’s official to follow him and Levi obeys. Mark tells us that Levi “arose,” which is one of the most common New Testament words for resurrection. Jesus call raised Levi so that he could follow Jesus. Similarly, Jesus’ call raises us. It can raise even the worst sinner and restore the worst outcast to service.


When Jesus called the four, he went into their house, raised up Simon’s mother-in-law, and ate what she served them (1:29-31). Now Jesus, having called and raised Levi, eats in his house.

Eating is one of the main things Jesus did. All through the Gospels, we see Jesus at one feast after another. His feast is the messianic feast, the feast of God’s kingdom. But Jesus is celebrating that feast with the “wrong” people, with tax collectors and notorious sinners.

The Pharisees were disturbed. They believed that the bounds of table fellowship were the bounds of the true Israel, the pure Israel. They didn’t eat with Gentiles or with less-than-faithful Jews.

But Jesus does, and that bothers them precisely because Jesus has been announcing God’s kingdom. This feast enacts that kingdom, but the wrong people are there, people who haven’t offered the sacrifices for forgiveness. The church’s practice raised similar objections (Acts 11:3; Gal. 2:11ff.). Still today, we eat with all who follow Christ, no matter what they may have done in the past.

Jesus defends his practice. He is the doctor and doctors associate with the sick. He has come to call the sinners, not the righteous, and that means he must associate with sinners. His call heals them and all who are healed may feast with him. Anyone who doesn’t hear his call and repent, however, will not share in the feast and in the kingdom. But everyone who follows Jesus enjoys forgiveness and a place at God’s table.

Posted by John Barach @ 3:09 pm | Discuss (0)

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