Daily Devotional Details


“I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:32

This is our third statement from Jesus about why He came into the world.

Luke records the story of Levi who became one of the twelve disciples: Jesus “went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth” (Luke 5:27). The fact that Levi was a tax collector tells us two things: First, Levi was brilliant—you had to be if you were a tax collector. He most likely spoke three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. And he was a skilled accountant who kept meticulous records.

Second, he was also a part of a system that was riddled with corruption. Since tax collectors were local people who had signed up to work for the Roman government, they were hated. They collaborated with the oppression of Roman rule, and they were notorious for extortion.

Tax collectors routinely added a “surcharge” that they kept for themselves, and Rome turned a blind eye to this. In fact, Levi had the power of Rome behind him. The people had to pay whatever he demanded, so he made a lot of money and enjoyed a comfortable life. Levi was a gifted man who had become part of a corrupt system. And he was a man who had no qualms about adding to the burden of his neighbor in order to make life better for himself.

When Jesus saw Levi in action at his tax booth, he would have been actively breaking the eighth command (You shall not steal.); the ninth command (You shall not give false witness.); and the tenth command (You shall not covet what belongs to your neighbor.).

How would you react if you saw a man like this taking advantage of poor and vulnerable people? We might be disgusted by him, but Jesus came into the world to call sinners to repentance, and He said to this man, “Follow me” (5:27).

What is your gut reaction to Jesus calling sinners like Levi to follow Him? Why?