|Luke tells the story of the calling of Levi (aka Matthew) in Luke 5:27-32. The religious leaders didn’t care much for Jesus hanging out with Levi and his “sinner” friends. They questioned Jesus as to why He would have anything to do with them. Jesus unpacked several truths in His response.Jesus first spoke about the SICK. Verse 31: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the SICK.Religious people like to label, judge, and condemn people as they view them as “sinners” who need sentenced. Jesus looked at people through eyes of mercy, grace and compassion and viewed people as sick who needed saved. Jesus compared Himself to a doctor who could cure their sin problem.
Jesus then confronted a religion that would make people SAD. Just as Jesus came to tell people they didn’t have to live sorry for sin all their lives because He could cure their sin sickness, He also wanted to tell them they didn’t have to live sad, downtrodden, burdened religious lives. Following Jesus isn’t a funeral! It’s a wedding. Party! Party! Party!
Finally, Jesus explained that He came to bring a new way of living rather than the SAME, ineffective and burdensome religion that had evolved. Jesus had two laws to declare which summed up the whole intent of every law. “Love God with all you have, and love your neighbor the same way.” By the time Jesus arrived on the scene, the Pharisees had developed a system of 613 laws! Accountability to God was replaced by accountability to men. It created a false standard of righteousness. It was completely external and it was a total burden! Christianity isn’t Judaism with a patch on it. It is a completely new way to embracing life with God.
Jesus didn’t discard the Law. He simply discarded the heavy framework, the traditions, the rules that had surrounded the Law to the point that the original intent of the Law couldn’t even be seen or experienced or expressed. Rather than sit inside the context of rules, the Law would now be set in the context of a relationship with Jesus through His blood which frees us from having the burdens the Law had come to demand! The relationship with Jesus would liberate and empower us and move us to accomplish the intent of the Law which is really love for God and others.
What great news for Matthew! What great news he shared with his friends! The sick are healed. The sad are given permission to celebrate, and people who follow Jesus will never be the same again! The Pharisees couldn’t embrace it. Can you?
Make it a great week of impact!