Where Are You Sharing the Good News?



Scripture

Luke 5:27   After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And he got up, left everything, and followed him.

Luke 5:29   Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table with them. 30 The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus answered, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; 32 I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Observation

Levi is identified by Luke as a tax collector. Historically these were people whom the religious officials regarded as “unclean” because of their work for the Roman officials. The tax collectors had learned how to manipulate the situation for their own good and they exacted bribes from their fellow-Jews. They associated with people of society whom others found repulsive. Their circle of influence included prostitutes and criminals. People whom the Pharisees believed would contaminate Jesus were those with whom Levi associated.

Transformed by the call of Jesus, Levi wanted to host him in his home. Levi would have had greater resources than the average individual because of his work, which would have been described as the result of greed, and filled with dirty money. Therefore, Jesus entering the home of this sinful man was simply preposterous. 

What was he doing with the most sinful of people? He was sharing the good news. Jesus had found a way to get to the neediest of individuals and bring the good news of transformation. 

Application

Jesus came as the great physician to bring healing to the sickest of individuals in the world. The miracles which he performed stunned society and they wondered where and how he received such power. This was the good news and it’s the same good news that we are called to carry into this world. Jesus instructed us to go and make disciples and this is our responsibility as his followers. Discipleship brings about healing in the hearts and lives of all those who are in desperate need of transformation.

Where is it that we go to deliver the good news? Far too often we may be spending our time with all those who are healthy. When I worked in the hospital as a nurse we saw a great shift in healthcare. This was 30 years ago! There was a day when people would come into the hospital a day before a surgery to prepare and then spend several days afterward resting and recovering. Insurance companies discovered that they could help to mandate people spending shorter times in the hospital. Gone were the days when the floors were filled with, what we used to call, “Walkie Talkies.” In other words, people who could walk by themselves and were conscious enough to have clear conversations. Now, you had fewer and fewer of these people and instead had extremely ill people to take care of. The reality was that the “Walkie Talkies" didn’t need a lot of medical care — but they were a lot easier to have on your unit. 

It’s easy to spend our lives around the spiritual “Walkie Talkies,” those who are growing spiritually. That can be very nice and comfortable. We enjoy our church Bible study groups and home groups. But, I wonder whether we are actually getting to those who are really sick spiritually? Jesus had found a way to make it very natural. He befriended Levi, one of the worst of the worst, whose life was transformed, but then Jesus followed Levi back into his world. Levi became a gateway to the very neediest of individuals. 

What would happen if we began to pray for our Levi? In other words, what would happen if we found intentional ways to get into the very neediest places of society? This means finding avenues into places where we would feel uncomfortable. Hanging out with unsavory characters for their sake. Jesus was willing to suffer his reputation for the sake of those who needed him the most. 

Many are arguing these days that the church in North America is declining rapidly. At the same time our communities continue to be filled with people who are very needy. Could it be that we are spending all of our time hanging out at the wellness clinic, instead of going to hospital? I wonder what would happen if God’s people began to seriously ask themselves how they could become engaged with the very neediest of society. We are all called to make disciples, to share the good news about Jesus. Let’s be intentional about finding those who need the healing power of Jesus. It will take us out of our comfort zones and into ministry zones where we will discover that God is still at work. 

Prayer


Lord, please help me to have eyes to see the Levis of this world and not be afraid of those with the greatest need. Amen. 

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