Faithlife Sermons

Luke 5:27-32

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view
Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Introduction

Following the forgiving of the paralytic in the passage before, Luke now focuses on the question of just how far Jesus’ forgiveness extends. Sure, it would extend to someone helpless like a poor paralytic in need of mercy, but [INTER] could that merciful forgiveness extend to the worst of the worst, the vilest of sinners?
The answer to that question is found here in Jesus’s call of Levi (a.k.a. Matthew).
[CIT] In this passage, Jesus—to everyone’s astonishment—called a sinful and despised tax collector to follow him because the forgiveness of Jesus is for broken sinners rather than the self-righteous.
[Illus] Wayman Tisdale was a professional basketball player who retired in 1997 to focus on his career as a jazz musician. His music career took off, and life was great until he fell down some stairs.
In the fall, Tisdale broke his leg and the doctors discovered that he had cancer in his knee.
The images are printed out and escorted with you back to an examination room. The dental hygienist asks you to take a seat while she looks at the x-rays.
She doesn’t say much, but you notice her note a few places for the dentist to look at.
The cancer was removed, but the first attempt at chemo therapy was unsuccessful, so the doctors concluded that the only way to ensure that the cancer wouldn’t return was to amputate his leg above the knee.
He comes in, asks how you’re doing like he really cares, and then looks at your x-rays.
The surgery was a success.
“I see a few places we need to keep an eye on,” he says. “And one place that needs attention today.”
He adapted quickly to his prosthetic leg.
He went on 21-date concert tour.
You’re thinking he’s going to fill a cavity, but then he says, “I don’t know how you’ve been living with the pain, but one of you molars is completely dead. It has rotted through and through. We need to pull it.”
You’re shocked but he shows you the x-ray, explains what he sees, and there’s no denying it. You should have flossed!
But sadly, Tisdale died on May 15, 2009 after complications arose from his radiation treatments.
The tooth is bad down to the root and the only healthy option is to have it removed.
One moment we feel good.
Now, imagine that God is the dentist and the teeth are us and the x-ray is the examination of our hearts—an examination of what’s going on inside of us.
The next we’re diagnosed with a fatal illness.
Just like when we have our teeth x-rayed, we think to ourselves, “I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
“Perhaps at worst there’ll be some areas that I need to keep a watch on.”
But then God says, “No. You’re dead inside. You’re rotten through and through with sin.”
“Your old heart will have come to out.”
If only we knew we were sick before it was too late.
If only we knew we were sick while there was still time for a doctor to help us.
Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar with a family member or friend. Maybe you’ve experienced something similar yourself. Or maybe you will in the future.
That’s sometimes true physically. It’s always true spiritually.
It’s scary to think about going to the doctor only to hear him say, “We’ve found something, but I’m afraid its too late. If we had known sooner, perhaps we could’ve helped.”
It’s scary to think about that kind of thing related to our physical condition.
Even more so when its related to our spiritual condition.
The Bible is clear: we are all sin-sick.
God exists. He is the Creator. He is the Ultimate Authority over us. He is good. And he is holy (i.e., there is nothing bad in God and he has never done, thought, or said anything bad, false, or impure.)
But we have. We rebelled against the authority, goodness, and holiness of God with bad thoughts, false words, and impure actions.
We worshipped false gods instead of the One True God.
We’ve created idols for ourselves, the biggest of which is ourselves.
We’ve treated God as if he were meaningless; as if he doesn’t exist.
We’ve given every waking moment to the world and the things of this world.
We’ve treated our parents like garbage.
We’ve hated people so intensely that we could’ve murdered them in reality.
We’ve lusted after people so intensely that we’ve had affairs with them in our minds.
We’ve stolen.
We’ve lied.
We’ve coveted.
We’ve sinned against God and neighbor in countless ways, and for some of us it’s not past tense—we are still sinning against God and neighbor in countless ways.
We are sin-sick through and through.
But someone might say, “But I feel fine.”
Wayman Tisdale felt fine until the doctor said, “It’s cancer.”
One day we will stand in judgment before Jesus, the Great Physician, and he will state the diagnosis—”SIN”—and then the prognosis—”DEATH.”
If you’re standing before Jesus in that moment perhaps you’ll think to yourself, “If only I had realized how sin-sick I was, I would’ve come to Jesus sooner and perhaps I would’ve saved.”
And
[Prop] That’s the point of our sermon this morning: If we would be saved by Jesus, the Great Physician, then we must recognize that we are the sick in need of the Doctor; we are the sinners in need of Jesus.
[TS] We’ll see this as we look at three SCENES in this passage...

Major Ideas

Scene #1: The Call ()

Luke 5:27–28 ESV
After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
[Exp] Before Jesus called Levi (i.e., Matthew), he saw him. He saw him as a tax collector.
v. 27a “After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth.”
v. 27a “After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth.”
“After” - after the healing of the paralytic
“saw” - literally “gazed intently at;” choosing Matthew was no mistake; Jesus knew the one he was calling
“tax collector” -
Capernaum was the largest city on the Sea of Galilee and was a east-west and north-south crossroads for trade, which means that Matthew likely had a lucrative business collecting taxes.
The Roman occupation of Israel meant that Israel was subject to Roman taxation.
Taxes gathered by collectors in Galilee would forward those taxes to Herod Antipas (the ruler Rome appointed to govern the region) who would then forward those taxes to Rome.
Along the way there was ample opportunity for greed in all its forms—larceny, extortion, exploitation, loan-sharking, etc.
Herod Antipas sold tax-collecting franchises to the highest bidder.
He required them (because the Romans required him) to collect a certain amount in the poll tax, income tax, and land tax—but the tax collectors often collected more than required making additional collections on the transport of goods, letters, produce, using roads, crossing bridges, and whatever else they could dream up.
When people couldn’t pay, the tax-collectors would loan money at predatory interest rates, which ensured that people rarely escaped financial and sometimes physical enslavement to the tax collector.
The tax collectors even employed henchmen to collect by force when someone refused to pay.
There were two types of tax-collectors, which we might refer to as in-the-office tax collectors and in-the-field tax collectors.
The in-the-office tax collectors were the ones who won the bids to collect taxes. They were the employers.
The in-the-field tax collectors were the ones like Matthew; the ones employed by the in-the-office tax collectors to actually sit in the tax booths and collect from the people.
However, because the in-the-field tax collectors had face-to-face contact with the people they collected from, they were often the more hated of the two.
Matthew was a hated and despised in-the-field tax collector.
His fellows Jews would have seen him as a traitor to his own people; they would have seen him as one getting rich by taking advantage of them while working for the enemy of the Jews—the despised Romans.
For this reason, Scripture often mentions tax collectors as examples of the worst sinners.
Luke 5:30 ESV
And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Luke 7:34 ESV
The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’
Luke 18:11 ESV
The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
Matthew 18:17 ESV
If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Many self-righteous people probably looked at Matthew that same way.
Some perhaps walked away from Matthew’s tax collecting both muttering a similar prayer about him, “Lord, thank you that I am not like, Matthew.”
Perhaps even the disciples already called by Jesus—Peter, James, and John—looked at Matthew as unworthy to follow Jesus.
Because Matthew’s tax collecting booth was close to the Sea of Galilee, he likely gathered taxes (i.e., extorted) the local fishermen—men like Peter, James, and John.
Perhaps they knew Matthew as tax collector or just knew of tax collectors in general.
Either way they probably looked at him as unworthy.
They were no doubt shocked to hear Jesus say
And they were right. He was unworthy.
Notice in v. 27 that when Jesus saw Matthew, he not only saw him as a tax collector but saw him in the process of collecting taxes. He was “sitting at the tax booth.”
We would be mistaken to think that people in Jesus’s day were mistaken about tax collectors.
Tax collectors were notoriously self-seeking and greedy.
In , when some tax collectors came to John the Baptist and asked what repentance looked like for them, John said, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do,” ().
Why did John say that?
Because he and everyone else knew that they often collected more than they were authorized to do.
Jesus knew that too.
v. 27, “Follow me.”
And yet Jesus saw this sinful and despised tax collector sitting at his tax booth collecting taxes, and he said to him, “Follow me.”
This was no mistake.
Jesus knew what he was doing when he called Matthew.
Or rather, he knew what his call would do in Matthew.
Some say Jesus called Matthew to follow him because of what Jesus saw in him.
They say Jesus saw conviction of sin, repentance from sin, humility, and willingness to follow.
That may very well have been the case, but we are not told any of this in the text.
We are simply told that Jesus called, and Matthew followed.
It seems to me that Jesus didn’t call Matthew because he saw that Matthew was transformed.
It seems to me that it was the call of Jesus that transformed Matthew.
The call of Jesus was not the result of Matthew’s transformation but the cause of it.
Looke at v. 28...
Luke 5:28 ESV
And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
, “And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.”
Peter, James, and John had likewise left everything to follow Jesus (). The difference, however, is that Matthew could not go back to his profession.
Peter, James, and John had likewise left everything to follow Jesus (). The difference, however, is that Matthew couldn’t go back to his profession. After Jesus’ death and before they were certain Jesus had been raised, Peter, James, and John temporarily returned to fishing. But almost as soon as Matthew left his tax collecting booth, someone would have been appointed to take his place. For Matthew, the decision to follow Jesus was irreversible. There’s was no going back to his old life.
After Jesus’ death, and before they were certain Jesus had been raised from the dead, Peter, James, and John temporarily returned to fishing.
The difference, however, is that Matthew could not go back to his profession. After Jesus’ death and before they were certain Jesus had been raised, Peter, James, and John temporarily returned to fishing. But almost as soon as Matthew left his tax collecting booth, someone would have been appointed to take his place. For Matthew, the decision to follow Jesus was irreversible. There’s was no going back to his old life.
But almost as soon as Matthew left his tax collecting booth, someone would have been appointed to take his place.
For Matthew, the decision to follow Jesus was irreversible.
There’s was no going back to his old life.
[Illus]
Matthew 21:31 ESV
Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.
[App] Do you realize this morning that Jesus really sees you just as he really saw Matthew?
We don’t really see you this morning. We just see the you you want us to see. We see the smile, the easy laugh, the ironed clothes, but that's as deep as you allow us to see.
Jesus sees deeper.
He sees the mess you are.
He sees the sinner you just as he saw the mess that Matthew was.
He sees you still in your sin just as he saw Matthew still sitting at his tax booth.
And, yet, Jesus makes no mistake. He sees you and calls you this morning to follow him.
The mess that you are; he calls you!
Even thought you are still caught up in that sin; he calls you!
He calls you to follow him!
Perhaps you know that some will think you are unworthy to follow him.
More likely, you feel yourself unworthy to follow him.
You’re right. You are unworthy. So am I.
But he still calls, and it is his call that transforms us.
How will you respond to his call this morning?
Will you leave everything, rise and follow him?
[TS] Scene #1: The Call.

Scene #2: The Celebration ()

Luke 5:29 ESV
And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them.
[Exp] There are two things that must be talked about here: the joy and generosity of being a new follower of Jesus.
We might think that leaving everything we’ve ever know behind would be an occasion for mourning, but when we leave it all behind to follow Jesus, it’s an occasion to celebrate!
[Illus] You know, I think this is what the rich young ruler couldn’t figure out. He came to Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said, “Obey the commandments.” To which he said, “I have obeyed them all my life.” Then Jesus, “One thing you lack: go sell all that you have and come follow me.” But the rich young ruler went away sad because he had great possessions.
Matthew did too. So, what caused Matthew to leave it all behind to follow Jesus when the rich young ruler refused?
Matthew realized that Jesus was the greater treasure.
And because Matthew realized the treasure he had found in Jesus, he aimed to celebrate.
He didn’t just throw a feast but a “great feast in his house, and there was a large company” of folks in attendance.
This type of great feast is probably larger than we imagine.
He invited the
It probably came with its share of headaches.
“Will there be enough wine? We can’t keep asking Jesus to make it out of water.”
It probably cost a bit of money.
It probably required some planning.
But Matthew did it all with the new joy that he found in Jesus!
It reminds me of words that Jesus spoke in Matthew’s gospel. In , Jesus said...
Matthew 13:44 ESV
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
I think that phrase “in his joy” describes Matthew pretty well.
In his joy he followed Jesus.
In his joy he spared no expense in throwing a huge party so others like him could come to know that same joy in Jesus.
That’s the joy and generosity we all should have in following Jesus.
[Illus] This concept is very personal to me because it is how I came to Christ.
I had been to church a few times but didn’t get it.
I told a Christian friend who had invited me for church that I wouldn’t be back. It just wasn’t for me.
I didn’t realize at
In a last ditch effort my friend said, “Well, will you come to this youth thing my church is having this Monday night? It’s called Matthew’s Party and just like when Matthew invited his friends to come meet Jesus, we’re inviting our friends to come hear about Jesus. There will be some food and games—and if after that, you don’t want to come to church, then I’ll leave you alone.
I agreed to go.
And that Monday night at Matthew’s Party I decided in my heart to leave everything behind to follow Jesus.
[App] I know from firsthand experience that joy and generosity works in bringing people to Jesus.
Let me ask you: Are you a joyous Christian? Are you a happy Christian?
I’m not asking if you are happy with all the circumstances in your life, I’m asking if you are happy with Jesus.
If you are, does it show?
Let me ask you another question: Are you a generous Christian?
I’m not asking if you give your tithe or if you give a hefty sum to the missions offerings. As important as those things are, I’m asking if you open your house (like Matthew did) to those who need to hear about Jesus.
Are you willing to spend the time, money, and energy so that others might come to follow Jesus too?
But remember that I said this is the joy and generosity of being a new follower of Jesus.
When we first begin to follow Jesus, we are passionate to know Jesus and to make him known.
We memorize Scriptures and engage in conversations without fear.
We are generous with our time and attention to those who are lost just like we once were.
But soon that new joy of following Jesus begins to dwindle and with it generosity fades as well.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, if that’s us this morning, then let us get our knees sometime soon and pray until we mean it—and until we feel that God has said “Yes” to our request.
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation...”
Psalm 51:
We should pray that because joy leads to generosity, and joy and generosity is effective combination in introducing people to Jesus.
[Exp] But there is one other thing to notice about this celebration—and that’s the guest list.
Luke says those who reclined at table with Jesus were “tax collectors and others.” Matthew and Mark both say it was “tax collectors and sinners.”
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation...”
If the tax collectors were outcasts, their only friends were likely outcasts as well.
It was the kind of crowd that would’ve made us nervous.
It was made up of people who had feasted on the sinful world—and were still feasting on the sinful world—and now they had come to feast with the only Jesus.
I imagine that before this feast at Matthew’s house, these outcasts had gathered like this on other occasions.
As they reclined at table together, they talked, and as the night drew on they begin to get honest with one another.
And as the night drew on they began to get honest with one another.
Perhaps Matthew says at some point, “You know, when I became a tax collector, I knew I’d make plenty of money, and I thought that would make me happy. But sometimes I don’t know. I think there’s a limit to how much you can enjoy money… no matter how much of it you have.”
And the other outcasts just nod their head in somber agreement.
They too know from experience that the things of this world do not satisfy.
But when Jesus called, Matthew found a feast that would never end!
He found living-water which that he could drink of and never thirst again!
He found bread from heaven that he could eat of and never hunger again!
In Jesus, Matthew found satisfaction, contentment, joy, happiness!
[App] Maybe like the guests at Matthew’s feast, you’re full up on the world.
You’ve tried money. It doesn’t satisfy.
You’ve tried pleasure. It doesn’t satisfy.
You’ve tried accomplishment. It doesn’t satisfy.
You’ve tried power. It doesn’t satisfy.
You’ve tried marriage and divorce. Neither satisfies.
You’ve tried having the children at home and sending the children of to college. Neither satisfies.
You’ve tried being perpetually angry and superficially happy. Neither satisfies.
[TS]
Nothing seems to satisfy!
That’s because our souls were made to be satisfied by Jesus alone.
They can be distracted or temporarily pacified by a great many things.
But our souls will only be fully and eternally satisfied in Jesus.
That’s what Matthew discovered.
That’s why he celebrated.
It’s why we should too.
It’s what I have found and continue to find the longer I walk with him.
And for that
[TS] Scene #2: The Celebration.

Episode #3: The Criticism ()

Luke 5:30–32 ESV
And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 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.”
[Exp] The Pharisees and scribes were the self-righteous religious elite. If you asked them, “Do you break any of God’s commandments today?” They would have arrogantly looked down their nose at you and said, “I didn’t even come close.”
They surely thought that Jesus was breaking some commandments or coming close to it by eating with tax collectors and sinners.
They grumbled—not to Jesus—but to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
It’s interesting to me that they go to Jesus’s disciples rather than Jesus himself.
Maybe they just didn’t have the opportunity to address Jesus directly.
Maybe they didn’t have the guts.
Maybe they were trying to divide Jesus and his disciples.
Imagine them speaking to Peter off to the side, “You’ve left everything to follow this guy? The one laughing, drinking, and feasting with the tax collectors and sinners? I bet your mama is proud.”
Whatever their intent, Jesus responded with, “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,” ().
First, Jesus addressed the pride of the Pharisees.
They are those who mistakenly believe themselves well and who mistakenly believe they have no need of a physician.
They are those who mistakenly believe themselves righteous when they are merely self-righteous.
Jesus cannot forgive these folks for they think they have no sins for Jesus to forgive.
He cannot call them to repentance for they think they have no sins to repent of.
But notice, second, Jesus addressed the sinfulness of the sinners.
He doesn’t say to the Pharisees and scribes, “There’s nothing wrong with these tax collectors and sinners! You’re just judgmental!”
No, he calls them “the sick” and he calls them “sinners.”
The difference is the tax collectors and others knew they were sick; they knew they were sinners while the scribes and Pharisees thought they were righteous.
Everyone at Matthew’s party gathered around a table that Jesus had reserved “for sinners only,” but the Pharisees and scribes would never recline at table with Jesus if that meant that they had to admit that they were sinners just the same as tax collectors or prostitutes or Samaritans or gentiles.
[Illus]
[App] How do you see yourself? If I were to ask if you see yourself as a sinner, you would surely say “yes.”
But what if I asked who deserved salvation more...
You must avoid seeing yourself in comparison to others.
…you or the adulterer?
That’s the trap the scribes and Pharisees often fell into.
…you or the murderer?
They looked at a table full of sinners and thought they were better than them, more righteous than them.
…you or the atheist?
…you or the abortionist?
They didn’t realize that they belonged at that table as well.
…you or the homosexual?
Because they didn’t see themselves as sinners,
…you or the abusive husband?
…you or the child molester?
I think asked in that way, we are at least tempted to say, “I do. I deserve salvation more than the abortionist, more than the abusive husband, and more than the child molester.”
But not one of us deserves salvation.
And not one of us deserves it more than anyone else.
All of us equally alike are completely dead in our sins and tresspasses until Jesus calls us to follow him.
Through his sinless life he qualified as the perfect sacrifice for our sins on the cross.
And in his resurrection, those who trust him have been made truly righteous before God.
2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
1 Corinthians 5:8 ESV
Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1 Corinthians
But the prideful Pharisees could never see Jesus as Savior
[TS] {see below}

Conclusion

Jesus saw Matthew.
He sees you too.
He sees you’re a sinner.
Do you see it?
[PROP] If we would be saved by Jesus, the Great Physician, then we must recognize that we are the sick in need of the Doctor; we are the sinners in need of Jesus.
Related Media
Related Sermons