TODAY’S SPECIAL: Luke 5:27-31
One day Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi (also called Matthew) sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him. So Levi left his tax booth and went with Jesus.
Levi liked Jesus so much he wanted others to meet this new friend. He prepared a banquet and invited all his tax collector friends and Jesus.
Not everybody would have been comfortable at Levi's dinner. Most people hated tax collectors. One reason was they collected taxes for the Roman rulers. The Jews hated the Romans ruling over them.
Even worse, tax collectors usually asked for more than the Romans charged. Then they kept the extra to get rich themselves. People called them thieves and thought of them as sinners.
When the Pharisees and religious teachers saw Jesus at Levi’s party, they criticized Him. If He was such a wise teacher, how could He not know these men were sinners?
But Jesus didn’t care about their criticism. He knew that everyone – even people who did wrong things – mattered to God. Just because Jesus ate with these tax collectors didn’t mean He approved of their stealing and dishonesty. In fact, He called them “the sick.” When He became their friend He talked to them about God. He explained how God could heal their sick hearts so they could change their sinful actions.
Are there people that you’d rather not be seen with?
It’s sad that we tend to think of some people as worse than us, some about the same and some above us. We make these judgments by looking at the clothes people wear, the color of their skin, how much money they have, the way they talk, what they’re good at, whether or not they have a disability, what job they do. We treat people differently. We try to be friends with some and ignore or are mean to others.
Jesus wasn’t like that. He knew everyone was special and had value. He said that God loved everyone. But He didn’t only say it. He lived God’s love by spending time with unpopular people.
PRAYER: Dear God, help me see people the way You see them. Amen.
SUPERSIZE IT: Jesus and Your Friends
- Think of someone who is unpopular.
- Imagine you are with that person, and Jesus is with you. How does Jesus treat that person?
- Ask God to help you do what Jesus would do next time you meet that unpopular person.