Why Jesus Called Levi, the Tax Collector to Follow Him

Small groups with food, people, and the presence of Jesus.
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How can you model your small groups after Levi’s house? In this episode, Oliver Hersey tells the story of Jesus calling Levi, or Matthew, the tax collector to follow Him. Many Christian scholars believe that Levi wrote the gospel of Matthew, and witnessed the Ascension of Jesus, according to the Oxford Bible Commentary the Gospels.

“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 (Lk. 5:27-32).”

Soon after this encounter, Levi invited Jesus, and his tax-collector friends over for dinner, to dine with Jesus. The Pharisees questioned why Jesus would dine with sinners, and tax collectors. “And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners (Mk. 2:17).”

Oliver cited Alpha as a small group ministry that’s similar to Levi’s house, in the sense that anyone can come, share a meal, and ask questions about Chrisianity. “The genius is that all it involves is food, people, drink, and the presence of Jesus. He will grab people’s attention, when it’s time to,” Oliver said.

If you work in ministry, there’s a good chance you’ve already left a great deal behind to follow Jesus. Holding onto your desire for greatness, fame, love, comfort, and convenience might still be a temptation, though. Here are a few questions to consider, if you'd like to start small group(s), where everyone matters:

  • Who can you invite to your small group (that you wouldn’t normally)?
  • Have you left behind your desire for greatness?
  • Are sinners welcome at your small group?

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Produced by Kelsey Bowse, edited by Alex Carter

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