Mark 2:13-17 – Jesus Calls Levi
Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples—for there were many who followed him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about eating together and the importance of it for healthy community. The eating together in this passage is what stood out to me today. Jesus calls Levi, a tax collector, one of the least-liked professions in the day (hmmm…the more things change…) The next stop is the table where Jesus and his followers and many others were eating together. There wasn’t a hierarchy or a pecking order – just people eating with one another. Meals are so powerful and yet its something that is left behind so much nowadays. This article captures so much of the importance of meals together – http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/the-importance-of-eating-together/374256/ – In the book Slow Church, the authors reflect on Jesus’ words at the Last Supper about “Do this in remembrance of me” and ask the question “what does ‘this’ refer to?” Is it the traditional idea of the bread and the cup or is it the meal that they shared together which included those elements? There’s something beautiful and sacramental in eating with one another, of having a table that is welcoming and open to many. There will always be those who are like the Pharisees who come up with all the reasons that things shouldn’t be this way, but let’s instead just sit down, share a meal, and share life.