13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’
And if you hand us the heavy cup, the bitter one, of sorrow, filled to the highest brim, then we take it thankfully, without trembling, from your good and loving hand.
I Want to Live These Days with You
When Jesus demanded voluntary poverty of the rich young man, the latter knew that there were only two choices: to obey or not to obey (Matt 19:21). When Levi was called from his tax collecting and Peter from his nets, there was no doubt that Jesus was serious about his call. They were to leave everything and follow him (Mark 2:14; 1:16-17). When Peter is called onto the rolling sea, he has to get up and venture forth (Matt 14:29). In all of this, only one thing was demanded: to rely on the word of Jesus Christ and accept his word as a more secure foundation than all the securities of the world. The powers that wanted to put themselves between the word of Jesus and obedience were just as great in those days as they are today. . . . The concrete call of Jesus and simple obedience have their irrevocable meaning. With it Jesus calls us in the concrete situation, in which he can be believed. He therefore calls concretely — and wants to be understood in just that way — because he knows that only in concrete obedience do we become free to believe.