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.
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.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. Luke 5:27-32
As Christians, we are most comfortable when things can be neatly categorized, boxed and shelved. Jesus, on the other hand often surprises us with His approach. In Luke 5:27, we see Jesus springing a big surprise on the Pharisees when he casually enters the home of a notorious thief,........uh, tax collector, named Levi and sits down to enjoy dinner and conversation.
The religious leaders are scandalized, shocked even, when Jesus makes it clear that He is completely comfortable hanging out with a bunch of sinners. If we are honest, many times, we don't look much like Jesus in this area. We get rather agitated around someone who cusses, drinks or parties too much. Some of us might even have a sense that we've somehow been sullied simply through being with them.
So why is Jesus so very comfortable in that setting when His followers are squirming in their chair? Was he simply trying for shock value?
Before he (very deliberately) did this, he'd been healing people and telling them not to let on to others about what had happened to them. Again, a bit unexpected for him to not want his ministry successes publicized. Yet, he is clear that he's not interested in publicity as he repeats his directive to 'tell no one' again and again.
I've often thought, when reading the Word, that Jesus's words and actions were at times puzzling and sometimes downright weird. As I've continued getting to know him, I've begun to realize that when his response seems odd to me, it's simply an indicator that I don't understand. It's not an open door for me to try to justify what Jesus does so that it'll fit into my box, instead, it's on opportunity for me to let him show me something I didn't know before.
How many times have I been in a conversation with someone where they were angry at God because he didn't act the way they thought he should? And yet I am just as guilty when I try to squeeze Jesus into my own image of what God is meant to be.
I think the bottom line is that I, as a follower of Jesus, need to spend a great deal more time following his lead and a lot less time trying to tell him how to do it better. The Pharisees were experts at telling God how it should be done, but that isn't how I want to be. By His grace, I want to become more willing to be pleasantly surprised by what Jesus wants to do next.