And after these things He went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He said unto him, Follow Me. And he left all, rose up, and followed Him. Luke 5:27,28 To read: Luke 5:27-32
Levi does not have time to get to know Jesus. He is way too busy with his financial business. He is not aware of all the delightful stories and miracles of the Rabbi from Nazareth. Who would tell him these stories, to him who is considered a despised publican. And even when he would have heard about the stories, he Levi is not in need of a healing Jesus. He doesn’t feel sick at all, so why would he need a doctor? Healthy people don’t consult a doctor.
However, Levi is sick, he is very sick, in fact he is dying. Only he doesn’t know it. That makes it even more dangerous. But Jesus does know Levi is sick. The Saviour knows him and the bad situation Levi is in. Jesus knows where to find him. That’s why He is on His way to the custom house.
“Jesus went forth” this phrase expresses His Love to come to seek and to save that which was lost. And to deliver people out of the clasping grip of sin and death.
Levi is not looking for Jesus, let alone that he is expecting Him. However Jesus is looking for Levi. Jesus is going towards to the custom house, to a man in need. The publican is not standing in the doorway to see Him nor waiting for Him. He doesn’t know, that he is wanted. Levi doesn’t intend to get up and leave everything behind to go along with Jesus. He remains seated and let Jesus pass him by. What does a publican has to do with this Rabbi and those who are with Him? People will look at him. Nothing in Levi’s life would have changed when he wouldn’t have met Jesus.
Numerous of people did see Levi at the custom house but they didn’t even give him as much as a glance. And when they did look their look did not show any compassion on the contrary it was nothing but contempt. Eventually it wouldn’t have bothered him anymore as he belonged to the guild of sinners.
Jesus, however, does not. He approaches this lonely man. This man who knew so much more about finances than compassion. Jesus does not turn His head when he sees Levi at the custom house. He looks Levi straight in the eyes. And then something happens that the hardened publican cannot resist. When Levi catches the look of Jesus it is as if he was struck by lightning, because the Look of Jesus went right through him. The Look of Jesus took the veil right off and exposing his poor existence. Levi must have cast down his eyes full of shame. All resistance must have been broken as Levi remained as paralyzed.
Isn’t the soul reflected in the eyes? Oh how the lustre in the Eyes of Lord Jesus is warming the frozen heart of the publican. This lustre chased away the darkness of sin and loneliness in which Levi was caught. Now he is caught in a Look of eternal love, a love for which men will give up all that he has. Levi completely surrenders. The Love of Jesus conquers and makes free. To know Jesus brings forth New Life. The words “Follow Me” must have been a relief for Levi.
Levi gets up without any resistance leaving everything behind. The Love of Jesus and the words “Follow Me” meant everything to him.
The pharisees were aggravated and murmuring!
But didn’t Jesus come to call sinners to repentance?