The Gospel of Luke - Week 18
Going to get started after this. He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the taxpayers. That's not there for second.
We have a reason every second every reason now I'm going to ask you a question. And if you like that thing I wants to keep your hand up if you don't like that thing I was paying taxes. It's pretty quick quick. It's an appropriate time of year to talk about this to visit. We got two weeks left. Tracer Monday taxes are due. What's a tax collector? What is a tax collector this is different than what we know it to be queso. tax collector in this time with the dregs of Jewish Society of drugs are it's the sediment at the bottom of the container when all the good stuff is gone. The drugs are left undesirable the worst part the worst portion. That's like when you're drinking a cup of coffee and you notice there's some coffee grounds in the bottom. They just kind of set the countdown cuz you don't want to drink the dregs right in this sense. It's a group of people in this society and your society would have no value whatsoever. completely disconnected the lowest of the low
and it would actually use tax collector as a symbol for the worst of all sinners.
Symbolized the worst worst of all Sinners and have to remember that the Roman occupation of Israel was more than just a military Presence by that would have been bad enough. The Romans practiced random and intentional violence against the populations that they conquered killings killing tens of thousands by crucifixion. And they also you strangling stoning burning boiling in oil. Romans were not good people. It wasn't a benevolent Authority. They wish evil upon the people. That they captured and enslaved them there was a military presence. But on top of that the nation of Israel was also subject to Roman taxation. They said they already have other taxes now. They've got Roman taxation.
And here in the US. We have some protections with taxes, right? Like I don't know. Nobody wants to pay him, but we can appreciate there's some good that happens, right? There's some things that are provided there's some things that are done for us with those funds and it's fun to complain about taxes, right but pretty good. I would hope and IRS agent and sit down for the Sunday service that he'd be welcomed. Right? Are you make it a couple people? Like I hope he doesn't know right, but we're not going to hate him. We're not going to Stoneham.
Would be an accident in the alley. A tree fell onto some bullets or something. That's not that's not the relationship that we have and Roman taxation was very different. So the taxes in Galilee would be forwarded to Herod Antipas forwarded to Herod. I've inherited four of those to Jerome.
And her to not be bothered to collect taxes for work to collect himself so he would sell it to the highest bidder. What is the Roman citizens that were collecting the taxes from Israel? It was other Israelites that were collecting the taxes.
You can think of this is as eBay for taxes different districts, right? And so what would happen is they had to charge a certain amount to pour it on to Herod by the name of charge that amount but then they could charge whatever they wanted in addition to that to pay their own. deuce, and that's why people wanted to buy these this right to tax these tax franchises if you will because they can make a lot of money. They can make a lot of money and they would keep whatever portion they wanted. So long as Harry got his cut. Are those the only stipulation of inherit had to pass on? Rome's cat to Rome and addition to the pool taxed income taxes to land taxes taxes on everything. Chisholm transportation of goods taxes on letters taxes on produce using a roads using the bridges. Anything that they wanted to text they could text.
I want you to imagine a good number of people that couldn't afford that right. So the tax collectors being nice would loan them money to pay their taxes and they would hire thugs to go out and collect.
lowest of the low and it keeps getting worse. To ask somebody buying up tax franchises in districts and I started making more and more money. It would kind of following the steps ahead and be like, you know, I can't be bothered to collect all these taxes. This is exhausting. I'm going to hire somebody to do it for me. Until they'd hire somebody under the same concept that they could keep a portion, but they're not going to cut their portion down. So they expand the tax. And so this is how the taxes would go and they set up a tax booth and sell to the highest bidder the right to assess that tax.
The best thing we can equate this to is the mob probably the best thing we can but it was illegal. Mom writes. The Corleone family here is backed up by the government. Because all of the taxes that were assessed were Roman taxes, they were considered a tax of Rome and so they were enforced by the Roman soldiers. So it wasn't just the Roman tax it was important. What was anything they decided to tax was enforceable. And this is why the tax collectors were so hated. They were traitors. Right. This is this is people from your city and they represented this occupying Force. It represented represent of the torture the abuse.
Represented the nation that upon conquering a city would line the streets with the crucifixes of the captured soldiers.
This tax collector was in face of role in this community. And I hated the dregs of society. worthless to the Jews dead
set the tax collectors. That's who we're talking about. Today is Levi. And his tax boots sits on the lake and capernum the largest city on the lake and the crossroads of the east to west and north to south trading routes.
If I take a lot of taxes you got all of the Commerce coming from all over. But he's taxing and I don't need to leave. I have a flourishing Enterprise with this taxpert. He attacks the people that Jesus had just called his taxes was on. Like you would have been taxing the disciples that were just called from fishing right or ever talked about that a few weeks ago. He would have been texting them to. So that's the context that we have for this. So after this he went out and saw tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax booth and he said to him follow me.
Follow me. Can you imagine what was going through the minds of like Peter James and John? Maybe they just got called by Jesus and they're following Jesus and they were hard-working guys. And here's this evil representation of Rome being called by Jesus.
That's different. That's not that's not the same thing. Everyone else that would have been there.
This is a busy town.
And Jesus said just done some amazing things right with iron talked about it last week. He was preaching and it was so crowded that people opened up the roof and lowered their friend down and healed in Jesus healed him right for gave him his sins and healed him. What happens after that after the AC went out?
So they can be some people fall. I don't know about you. But if I've seen something like that. I'm going to follow the guy that did it and see what he does next right? I'm going to follow Jesus and see what he does amazing things have been happening. And so they were people around right after this healing that happened that we talked about last week. There wasn't something compelling to go to there was a Netflix to go watch. Right, there wasn't some UFC fight to go look at. There was anything to do there was a Disneyland there wasn't something to do. This was amazing and people were going to follow that. You're going to just wander off after seeing something that miraculous. So there's people around this instance, right? It's not isolated where it's just Jesus talking to leave. Tyler's people witnessing this. And what would you think? I see Jesus call Levi, why him? Why Hambright? There's already all these other people that had been marveling at Jesus. Why not one of them? Why didn't he call one of them he represents torture abuse and execution. He's evil.
We don't have an account or what everyone else was saying thinking or doing. What we have is this laser focus on Jesus and Levi. Let me know. There are other people around we have no idea what was happening. But we have is this laser focus on Jesus and Levi we have this laser focus on the redeemed the Redeemer and the center. write an inverse 28 and leaving everything Heroes and followed him. This is the call and the response of Levi.
After this, he went out and saw tax collector named Levi sitting at a tax booth and said to him follow me and leaving everything Heroes and followed him. So there's a few things. I want to point out to you about the nature of the calling of Levi lights were going to roll through a few things that are just in these two verses that we can draw out by the first being this calling of Levi seems accidental. They almost seems coincidental right? It's Jesus just killed somebody after this you went out and saw tax collector named Levi It seems happen Stanfill.
And this is how we talk about things that just happened. I don't know if you've ever experienced that but something crazy happened. You don't know anything about what happened leading up to it. You don't really know anything about it. You just know how long has happened with the car accident baby girl things like that were really just happens and you just I don't know it just happened, right? That's the that's the account that we have. here in Luke We don't know what to say. There's no set up it just happened. But we know about Jesus is there's not an accidental Redemption right? That doesn't happen. There's not a coincidental Redemption Whittaker's there's no calling that happens incidental. It's not that Jesus just wandered out and saw Levi in San a winner. Jesus works clever seemingly random this moment maybe the almighty God of the universe purposed to be there at that moment and purposed that Levi would be in his booth. And Jesus called him.
Not accidental. So well this may seem that way to me but the calling of God and his people is always purposeful and it's always orchestrated by the almighty God. not accidental
So the first thing we have is that it seems accidental but not by the second that we have is that this wasn't sought-after by Levi. I just was pretty important. We don't find Levi's in prayer right here in this moment, right? We don't find him repenting. We don't find him singing praises. Reading scripture at we don't find him doing any of those things. We find him in a degrading business. Sitting at his tax food. He wasn't there to see the amazing healings. Right, he wasn't at the house. He was at work.
He was cursing people extortion had to be done that's where Levi was he had taxes to assess from the people for Rome for Herod and for himself
Addicting business. I'm sure. I don't know. I know if I ever had the opportunity I haven't of just sitting there and having people hand you money. You know that you get to keep the register before but I'm sure that would be a very addicting business to be a part of weave. I didn't seek out Jesus. He's sitting in his taxes. He's actively engaged and send that. Jesus calls us to himself.
What inside after?
And this call by Jesus was given with full knowledge of who Levi was. For mileage verse 27 will read it again after the AC went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the taxpayer.
And I went walking down the street. He wasn't minding his own business, right it wasn't it? Wasn't it? Jesus finds out after calling him. What a horrible person is. It wasn't this accidental thing again? Right? I wasn't Jesus saying well, I called him now. I got to keep them now that I know what he really is or even worse. It wasn't Jesus saying, well, you know what you're too evil for me to call. I'm going to recount my calling of you. That's not what happened. Jesus called Levi knowing exactly who he was wearied. He saw a tax collector named Levi, right? We read that and we think the Jesus looked over in slime. Most accurate screw. It's just incomplete. It's an incomplete understanding of what's Happening. Jesus is the Lord Almighty by when Jesus says that Jesus sees Levi Eliza means a lot more than just looking and seeing him at the taxpayers. And maybe putting two and two together like okay. I know who he is so much more than that in the Bible. We read that no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Read the eyes of the Lord are in every place keeping watch on the evil and the good.
And solemnly read oh Lord, you have searched me and known me, you know when I sit down when I Rise Up you discern my thoughts from afar you search out my path and my lying down you're acquainted with all my ways even before a word is on my tongue behold. Oh Lord, you know it all together you hem me in behind. And before you lay your hand upon me such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high. I cannot attain it where shall I go from your spirit or where should I flee from your presence if I Ascend to Heaven you are there if I make my bed in sheol you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me. If I say surely the darkness shall cover me and the light About Me by not be night. Even the darkness is not dark to you. The night is bright as day for darkness is as light with you for you formed my inward Parts. You knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made wonderful. Are your Works. My soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance in your book were written every one of them the days that were formed for me when as yet there was none of them.
When I said that Jesus saw Levi, he saw Levi for everything. He was he knew every sin that Levi had ever committed or would commit he knew every tax asset he knew every dollar extorted. Can you every thought before the words even formed on the tongue Jesus new? You knew everything.
About the person of Levi he knew everyone that Levi had beaten to a pulp because they couldn't afford to pay their taxes.
Jesus knew everything when he saw him. He saw Levi in that all knowledge of who Levi was Jesus called him to himself.
And this one we've kind of talked about a little bit already, but Jesus called the lowest from the low and calling Levi.
You could have called anyone to himself. I hate you. I was a tax collector hated by everyone. I no confuse. It don't think so because he was passing money out through Rome that roam like them in the Roman soldiers like them and hated the tax collectors because they were still slaves right? They weren't you weren't Roman citizens. The Romans hated them to they might have been abused. By what the tax collectors did but they hated them and the Jews hated them and the Pharisees thought. They were the dirtiest filthiest centers that walked the Earth. The lowest of the Low by the Pharisees would avoid sinful people cuz they didn't want anything to rub off on them. Right? I didn't want that send to be contagious, right? They didn't want that. The tax collector was a lost cause we've I was a lost cause to everyone except Jesus. Jesus wasn't afraid of a cent.
Are we seeing this is no one is so far gone. Despite what we might think despite what everybody thinks it cannot be safe. Jesus called the lowest of the low.
We see that the call of Levi by Jesus was simple.
And he said to him follow me.
So simple are the most amazing part of Levi's life and yet so incredibly simple. Some of us are holding on for some sign or wonder to help us believe right? We're waiting for some miraculous thing. And it's just a foolish concept. There is no greater sign. No wonder that is equal to that fact that Jesus would say to a dead heart live and it would live the Jesus would say to an unbelieving heart believe and it would believe is incredible. The Jesus would say to a man that was running as fast as he possibly could towards sin and destruction. He would say follow me and he would stop. I follow him.
It was a simple call of Levi full of grace and it is the most miraculous thing that we can see an encounter is Jesus Calling a center to himself in the dining room.
We see that it was immediately if actual it was immediately effectual. Jesus said follow me and leaving everything Levi arose and follow Jesus.
The call of Levi was that of effectual Grace. Ecclesiastes says that for the word of the king is supreme. And when Jesus said follow me he said Advocate you didn't say it as some Carpenters boy. He didn't say it as a homeless person. He said it as the king and when a king Sims 4 someone he doesn't request the pleasure of your company. And I hope Kings talk. I Jesus didn't request his company didn't ask. He's the king sends a command to come and anything short of doing that is treason.
And some of us are acting like our opinion is worth just as much as God's right. We we falling into this misunderstanding that when Jesus tells us to do something that we can. We can hold on. I wish I had something to say about that. We think that we can vote on it right there this if Jesus votes and I vote and we disagree then it's a tie. So how it works? Jesus is king of kings and Lord of lords and when he says follow me to Levi it's the command of a king.
The Supreme word of Jesus is to follow. He's not being mean. He's not being rude. He's being a king. He's calling his people to himself. Start a conversation. And that calling has immediate effect. left everything to follow Jesus
and finally in this account of the calling of Levi We see absolute. Hope for sinners.
If we look at versus 29 through 30. And leave I made him a great feast in his house and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them and the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples say, why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?
If you notice to leave I've been called by Jesus now throwing a party I who does he invite he invites a large number of tax collectors? Probably the only friends you have. Now he's hated by everybody except maybe other tax collector just right and so these are probably the only friends that he has any calls this group of horrible Sanders just like himself to come and meet Jesus. He wasn't ashamed to introduce them to Jesus. He wanted them to meet Jesus. Chris King We know that Jesus and the disciples are there. How do we know the Pharisees and scribes are there? We don't know is if they were actually invited. I only know that they might have just follow it after seeing Jesus call Levi then. I didn't like what we got to we got to see what happens after this. But for whatever reason these are the people that are there hummingbirds 30 the Pharisees challenge the disciples. Verse 30 in the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples saying why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?
What's the different of a town right to the Pharisees up until now have been challenging Jesus to directly?
I need to put in their place if you times by Jesus and so they're not challenging Jesus anymore. They're just challenging his disciples right there. They don't want to go toe-to-toe with Jesus anymore. But they're saying why don't you know, it's a few fishermen. I think we can take them. So they challenged the disciples. and who answers who answers the accusation that the Pharisees bring to the disciples?
Jesus. Jesus stands between the accusers of the accused
Jesus answered them verse 31-32 and Jesus answered them those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but Sinners to repentance.
Jesus stands between the accusers and the accused and he says I have not come to call the righteous but Sinners to repentance write that down. Jesus came to call Sinners to repentance.
Jesus came to call Sinners to repentance.
I know right it down again and replace center with your name. Jesus came to Jesus came. To call Sinners to repentance he came to call Chris to repentance. He came to call Aaron to repentance. He came to call you to repentance. This is why Jesus came, it's why he suffered on the cross. It's why he died on the cross. So I he rose again send it to the right hand of the father. Jesus came to call you to repentance and like Levi that calling may seem accidental. It isn't. You may not know. About everything that was orchestrated to bring it to Jesus. You may not know what's going on. You might. Right, you may have dark in the doorway of a church. For some reason have no clue why I heard the gospel and it called you.
Maybe sitting in your sin gladly collecting stuff.
Calling of God is purposeful. God calling you is purposeful. And you may not see everything that was orchestrated in that but God orchestrated calling you to himself. From before the foundations of the world before your days happened he knew each and every one of them and he called you and you didn't see kids. You didn't seek after it salvation Belongs to the Lord and He sought you out. He was first to see if you and then you go and seek him right? That's how this works. You may be able to trace it back to the moment when it happened. Are you able to recall that exact moment when Jesus called you or you may like me been going to church since before you can remember? And then I was going to church since 9 months before I was born. I would go to church every day after school. My mom is volunteering at the church and I would I would walk from my school to the church.
You may not you may look back on your life and feel like Jesus was just kind of always there. You can't remember the exact moment when he called you, but you remember looking back and say my remember looking after Jesus. I remember seeking Jesus.
In tkam first he called you intentionally and he and he saw it after you first and called you out of the depths of Despair and he calls you in full knowledge of who and what you are just like Levi, there's no hiding from God. There's no secrets to be kept right remember, he knows everything about you. He knows every word every thought every action everything everything that you wish you wouldn't have done everything you wish you would have done.
I know your fears. He knows the desires of your heart. and in spite of all the bad things that you've done in spite of your Brokenness in spite of a saint and everything. He still calls you and says follow me.
you may be you may be like Levi in the dregs of society. And you may not be you might be the lowest of the low. You might not be that's not the point the point. Is that Jesus? Can call anyone and can save anyone and there's nothing that you could have done that would have been so bad that Jesus can't redeem you and call you them self. West Point and I sent it doesn't matter what you've done. It doesn't matter how broken you are doesn't matter. What's in your sitting in now. It doesn't matter what your joyfully doing now in sin. When Jesus calls he calls. Any calls in spite of those things in full knowledge of those things. There's nothing beyond the Saving Grace of Jesus. He isn't afraid of your sin. He defeated sin. He's not afraid of the stench of death on you. Like we talked about with the leper isn't afraid of that because he defeated death. He defeated all of those things and calls you to himself and whoever you are wherever you're from whenever you've done Jesus Calling to you is simple. follow him it's the most amazing thing and Incredibly simple Jesus calls to follow. There's a checklist to complete right? There's not a an application to fill out and see if you're worthy of it. There's no work to be done to bring about this calling the calling happens because of what Christ has accomplished and he calls you to himself.
And it is the Supreme word of the king calling you. Just like it was for Levi. Jesus came to call Sinners to repentance. Whether you're here now for the first time hearing this calling to repentance. We're being called back home. Because you were called to repentance and then wandered off and did your own thing for a while and now you're being called back home. Listen to the words your game.
The King of Kings is calling to follow. All we have to repent and fall off. spray
Jeremy father God we thank you for everything