Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 4 Study # 2
June 24, 2007
27 And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.
28 And he left all, rose up, and followed him.
29 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.
30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.
32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
1901 ASV Translation:
27 And after these things he went forth, and beheld a publican, named Levi, sitting at the place of toll, and said unto him, Follow me.
28 And he forsook all, and rose up and followed him.
29 And Levi made him a great feast in his house: and there was a great multitude of publicans and of others that were sitting at meat with them.
30 And the Pharisees and their scribes murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with the publicans and sinners?
31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are in health have no need of a physician; but they that are sick.
32 I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
- I. The Setting in The Context.
- A. Prior Issues.
- 1. Immediately prior: the claim to be able to forgive sins and the willingness to do so upon the expression of faith.
- 2. Less immediately prior...
- a. The "greater than Moses" thesis of the healing of a man "full of leprosy".
- b. The summons of Peter, James, and John through a significant "fishing expedition".
- c. The refusal to "stay" in Capernaum because "I am sent to preach the Kingdom of God to other cities also."
- d. The healing of the city -- "all ... every one of them" -- and the exorcism of all demons who called Him "the Christ, the Son of God."
- e. The healing of Peter's mother in law of a great fever.
- f. The exorcism of a demon in the synagogue with "authority" in both words and acts.
- g. The rejection by Nazareth of His identity as the fulfillment of the Isaiah prophecy regarding the One Who would open their eyes.
- h. The "gloss" of His "teaching in their synagogues".
- i. The temptation in the wilderness.
- j. The genealogy of Jesus back to Adam at the age of thirty.
- k. The baptism of Jesus by John resulting in His identification by God as "My Son".
- l. The end of John's baptismal ministry under Herod.
- B. The current issue: conflict over the question of to whom forgiveness is extended.
- 1. The major problem: scribal/Pharisaical self-righteousness. The issue is their sense of "entitlement" and its roots in their delusion of "self-qualification". These are pride issues that are the opposite of the Servant Kingdom's most fundamental attitude.
- 2. The point of focus: the selection of a tax collector for the position of personal disciple.
- a. The issue of "Levitical" discipleship: the contest for "love by means of production" having been "lost" by the "Levite" so that heavy rebellion had settled into the heart.
- 1) The "rebellion" was overcome by the grant of "status" with no demand for prior production.
- 2) The basic desire (the position of "beloved") was granted, but not by the means chosen. This is where the prior paragraph dovetails into the theses: it is only by "faith" that one reckons oneself as "beloved" to God.
- b. The issue of "scribal/Pharisaical" rejection: the delusion of "beloved by means of production" having settled into the heart.
- II. The Specific Details.
- A. The "following"...
- 1. Required an abandonment of "all", a "rising up", and a "following".
- 2. Levi would have considered the question of whether "following" was a "requirement of salvation" a ludicrous question, not because of "faith" versus "works" considerations, but because "salvation" is not a "formula" but a "reestablished relationship" and "relationships" do not exist at the "what can I retain for my selfish interests and still obtain the promise?" level. He would have also considered it high foolishness to ever think that he "obtained" the status of "beloved" by reason of his "following".
- a. Status through performance is a pharisaical/demonic perversion of reality no matter what the particular "form" in which it appears.
- b. It matters not at all that some follow and others do not: the following is a purely love driven reality and the fact that some do not love does not change that. Any person who slips into pharisaism is caught in the bonds of demonic delusion and the degree of bondage determines the level of "relationship" that actually exists.
- B. The "feast".
- 1. Clearly, the "feast" was a rather typical "tax collector" activity.
- 2. Just as clearly, the activity was intended to introduce a new "reason" for being.
- a. When "rebellion" is the state of affairs, "feasting" is simply a way to silence the guilt.
- b. When "discipleship" is the state of affairs, "feasting" becomes a "method of fishing". The original "followers" were fishermen who had been promised that they would "catch men" and Levi's "feast" was simply the "net" provided for the task.
- C. The attendees.
- 1. There was a "great company" of publicans in attendance.
- 2. That were also many "others" that sat down with them.
- III. The Major Question: Why Was Jesus More Interested in the Rebels Than in the Pretenders?
- A. There are different "roots".
- 1. "Pretenders" are extremely heavily invested in getting the credit for their positions.
- 2. "Rebels" are significantly disinterested in "appearances"; they are more committed to trying to handle the anger of rejection by compensating.
- B. Jesus approaches people in light of the issue of how deeply committed they are to the principles of destruction: there is a point of no return and He does not pursue futility; but there is also some level of commitment to snatching brands from the fire.