Mark 2:13-17 Matthew the Tax Collector

In his epistle written around A.D. 66, John Mark began his letter by introducing John The Baptist, God’s messenger by describing how his role was to announce the coming of the Messiah, and baptize Him in the Jordan River so Jesus could fulfill all righteousness, and be identify with those He came to redeem.

After He was baptized, Christ was tested by Satan in the wilderness for forty days but the Messiah persevered and resisted temptation as He prepared for His ministry, which He started in Galilee while John The Baptist was imprisoned for rebuking Herod Antipas.

The Lord’s ministry began along the Sea of Galilee where He recruited His first four apostles, Simon, Andrew, James and John, who were all fishermen from Capernaum, a small fishing village located on the northern shore of the lake. This was the location where Jesus performed His first recorded miracle when He healed a possessed man, delivering him from a demon. Jesus followed His first miracle with another when He miraculously healed Simon’s mother in law who was gravely ill, then as word spread about these healings, the entire population of the city gathered outside the house door where Jesus answered the call to heal the sick.

The next morning, Jesus rose before sunrise and departed to a solitary place to pray and prepare for the day which He used to preach the gospel and heal more people in need as He embarked on a missionary journey through the region.

“13 Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them.” (Mark 2:13)

Because His teaching was perceived as more powerful than the scribes, whenever Jesus taught He drew an audience described as a multitude as the number of those present could not be accurately counted.

“14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.” (Mark 2:14)

Tax collectors were Jews who were disliked by the people as their endeavor was one driven by greed and the love of money. In those days, tax collectors would buy a tax franchise from the Roman government and they would get to keep any tax money raised over the amount required by Rome. Here we see that Matthew’s birth name was Levi, and according to Mark, he did not hesitate to follow Jesus when He was commanded to do so.

“15 Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mark 2:15-16)

Like most Jews, scribes and Pharisees did not associate with gentiles, those whom they called “sinners” who were people known to reject Mosaic law. Tax collectors were considered among these sinners, and as such, Jesus who was a Jew was expected to do the same. But, once again, He crossed over the line drew by Moses as He reached out to those in need, rather than dwell with those whose eternal fate was already secure.

“17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Mark 2:17)

To make His point to the scribes and Pharisees, once again Jesus used an analogy that illustrated perfectly the mission He was entrusted with, to heal the sick, bring sinners to repentance and through faith in Him, lead seekers to the Kingdom of Heaven. Let’s pray!

Father God;
We thank you for your blessings in our lives,
We praise you Lord for the wisdom found through the gospel of Mark,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we continue to learn more about you through your word.

Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.

God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your ways, your everlasting wisdom and strength.

May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.

We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.

Praise God,
Amen!

This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre
Email: danielstpierre@thrivethroughchrist.com

Posted in Bible Studies.

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