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August 18 – Jesus calls and heals for the feast

How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners? – Mark 2:16b

Scripture reading: Mark 2:13-22

Tax collectors were a hated and despised group of people. They served the Romans to collect taxes from the Jews. Many were cheaters and often very belligerent. It is said that if a Jew saw a tax collector, he would spit on the ground and turn his head. They were expelled from the synagogue and were a cause of disgrace to their family.

As Jesus walks along the shore of Galilee, He sees Levi, the tax collector, that hated individual sitting in his booth. Jesus turns to him in order to make him one of His disciples calling, “Follow Me!” Immediately Levi leaves everything behind, gets up and follows Jesus. There is no man happier than Levi. He throws a feast in honor of Jesus in his own home. Many of his associates, tax collectors and sinners, join the feast with Jesus in Levi’s home. Levi wanted them to know, trust and love this wonderful Saviour and Lord Who found him. He is the Physician Who forgives and heals.

The scribes and Pharisees, the hair-splitting legalists, find Jesus’ activity questionable. “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus eats with sinners because He came to forgive them their sins.

Today, in the church, Jesus continues to fellowship with forgiven sinners. What a privilege to eat and drink at His table. Who gets to sit around your dinner table so that you can share the love of our wonderful Saviour Who found you to feast with Him?

Suggestions for prayer

Thank God for His hospitality toward us in Christ, forgiving us and receiving us in His house. Pray that Jesus’ love for sinners may change us to love those we naturally despise and that He may open our hearts to them and eat with them.

Rev. Tony Zekveld currently serves as missionary-pastor in the Hope Congregation in East Brampton, Ontario, sent by Covenant Christian Church (URCNA) of Wyoming, Ontario. Rev. Zekveld and his wife, Arley-Ann, have five children and, so far, eight grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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