27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. NIV
Now this is radical! Levi was a tax collector. These were Jews who collected taxes from Jewish people on behalf of the Romans. They were very unpopular among their own people because they were traitors! To go against your own people and represent the conquering imperial government of the day. Also, they were cheats! They often collected more from the people than they should. Tax collector? No thanks; I’ll pass on him.
Not so with Jesus. Jesus was more than just accepting. It’s relatively easy to be accepting. Put a smile on your face and if by some slim chance a tax collector comes walking through the door, tell him he is welcome. Jesus is more than that. He purposefully seeks Levi out and calls him to follow Him. Jesus was in the process of assembling His dream team of disciples, only twelve places on the team. This would be His starting line-up that would be the hope for all the world, making disciples of all nations. Luke was a doctor, well OK, that’s understandable – educated! Peter & John were fisherman, well…OK, they were ordinary. But Levi was a tax collector! And Jesus chose him!
Jesus was intentionally very inclusive when He chose His disciples. This is representative of how inclusive He is when He saves people today. No-one is too good and no-one is too bad. They both need Jesus and Jesus saves them both! Take courage in that. You are saved by the grace of God.
This should also have a bearing on how you view others and how you reach out to them. We say we are inclusive, but let’s be honest, we try and be ‘accepting’ of those different to us or those that might not have money, education, status or style. We accept everyone, but sometimes, we prefer to be with those who are well-off or those who can get us places and get us things. Jesus was radically inclusive and we need to be too.