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                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                 Jesus And The Tax Collector (2:13-17)

INTRODUCTION

1. As Jesus went about preaching and healing, He called people to follow
   Him...
   a. Such as Simon and Andrew - Mk 1:16-18
   b. Also James and John - Mk 1:19-20

2. Today, Jesus wants us to call people to follow Him...
   a. To become His disciples - cf. Mt 28:19-20
   b. To enjoy His salvation - cf. Mk 16:15-16

[Who are suitable prospect for discipleship and salvation?  We might
think those who are religiously inclined.  But our text for this study
(Mk 2:13-17) should caution us not to limit our prospects...]

I. THE NARRATIVE

   A. JESUS CALLS THE TAX COLLECTOR...
      1. Jesus was teaching by the shores of Galilee - Mk 2:13; cf. 4:1
      2. He saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the tax office - Mk
         2:14
         a. Better known as Matthew, the apostle and gospel writer - cf.
            Mt 9:9; 10:3
         b. His father was Alphaeus, not likely the father of James
            - cf. Mk 3:18
      3. He was a tax collector (publican), a profession not well-liked
         - cf. Lk 5:27
         a. Viewed as traitors - as Jews working for the Roman
            government
         b. Viewed as extortionists - for publicans often charged
            exorbitant fees
         c. Classed together with sinners and harlots - cf. Lk 15:1-2;
            Mt 21:31-32
      4. Yet Jesus calls him to become a disciple - Mk 2:14
         a. "Follow Me" - cf. Mk 1:17-18
         b. He "left all" and followed Jesus - cf. Lk 5:28
      -- Not someone you might consider having potential as a follower
         of Christ

   B. THE TAX COLLECTOR HOSTS JESUS...
      1. Levi (Matthew) gave Jesus a great feast in his house - Mk 2:15;
         cf. Lk 5:29
      2. There were many tax collectors and sinners present - Mk 2:15
      3. The scribes and Pharisees are shocked - Mk 2:16
         a. Luke says they "complained" - cf. Lk 5:30
         b. They wondered how Jesus could eat with tax collectors and
            sinners
      4. Jesus' response - Mk 2:17
         a. "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those
            who are sick"
         b. "I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to
            repentance"
      -- Jesus' words reveal why Levi (Matthew) was a prospect for
         discipleship

[As we reflect on this narrative, what lessons might we glean from it?
Starting at the end of our text and working backward, here are...]

II. SOME LESSONS

   A. JESUS IS LOOKING FOR SINNERS...
      1. "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance"
         a. His purpose was to seek and save the lost - cf. Lk 19:10
         b. This gives great hope to those burdened by the guilt of sin
      2. "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who
         are sick"
         a. In regards to the disease of sin, we are all sick - cf. Ro
            3:23
         b. But the Great Physician is ready to heal those willing to
            repent of sin
      -- If you are burdened and suffering because of sin, Jesus is
         looking for you!

   B. FRIENDS OFFER GREAT POTENTIAL...
      1. Levi (Matthew) provides a wonderful method of personal
         evangelism
         a. He invited friends and co-workers to his home
         b. He provided opportunity for them to hear Jesus
      2. Cornelius did the same thing, even before he became a Christian
         a. He invited family and friends - cf. Ac 10:24
         b. He provided opportunity for them to hear Peter - cf. Ac
            10:33
      -- Inviting family and friends for a home Bible study is a great
         way to share the gospel!

   C. WE ARE TO BE SEPARATE, NOT ISOLATED...
      1. The Bible teaches the principle of separation
         a. Evil company can corrupt good habits - cf. 1Co 15:33
         b. We are to be separate, not unequally yoked with unbelievers
            - cf. 2Co 6:14-18
      2. But separation does involve total isolation
         a. Otherwise we would have to leave this world - cf. 1Co 5:
            9-10
         b. Jesus and His disciples were willing to eat with sinners
            - Mk 2:15-16
      -- To heal those sick with sin, we must be willing to spend time
         with them!

   D. JESUS OFTEN CALLS THE BUSY TO SERVE...
      1. Consider those whom Jesus called to follow Him
         a. Fishermen like Simon and Andrew, James and John - cf. Mk 1:
            16-20
         b. A tax collector sitting at the tax office - cf. Mk 2:14
      2. We should not think that God wants only those with youth or
         time on their hands
         a. E.g., only young men who go to school to become preachers
         b. E.g., only older people who are retired with nothing better
            to do
      -- Remember the adage:  "If you want something done, ask a busy
         man to do it"

CONCLUSION

1. Jesus' interaction with the tax collector should serve to remind
   us...
   a. We are never too sinful to be saved by Jesus
   b. We are never too busy to serve Jesus
   c. We must be willing to reach out to those who are lost
   d. Good prospects are family, friends, and co-workers

2. How about you...?
   a. Are you willing to let Jesus be your Great Physician?
   b. Are you willing to serve Jesus no matter how busy you may be?

Are you willing to join Him in seeking and saving the lost...?
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