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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke

PART 3 - JESUS' MINISTRY IN GALILEE (Luke 4:14 - 9:50)

5. Encounters with Strict Religious Leaders (Luke 5:17 - 6:11)

LUKE 5:27-32
27 After these things he went out, and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and said to him, “Follow me!” 28 He left everything, and rose up and followed him. 29 Levi made a great feast for him in his house. There was a great crowd of tax collectors and others who were reclining with them. 30 Their scribes and the Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus answered them, “Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick do. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Many people were confused in Jesus’ presence, impressed with his power, and convicted by their conscience. The cheating tax collector called Levi was also moved in his innermost being by the word of Christ. He had been deceived by his own thoughts, but now he was willing to become free from his sin. He believed in the word of Jesus and the remission of his sins, and was deeply attracted to the Savior. But his profession and its bad reputation kept him away from the Righteous One, for tax collectors employed by the occupying authority were considered as unclean, criminal bloodsuckers, and were rejected and disrespected by the nation.

Yet Christ knows the thoughts in the hearts of people. He saw how the heart of Levi, the tax collector, responded completely to the good news of the gospel. Jesus went forth and saw him. He commanded him using only two words, “Follow me”. When God speaks, he makes something new. This command transformed the sinful Levi, into the apostle and evangelist Matthew who compiled the historical sayings and events of Jesus. He mastered several languages, and wrote the origin of the gospels in Aramaic under supervision of other apostles; then he translated it into Greek. Christ took him out of the work place of sin into the freedom of the Lord. Have you heard the voice of Jesus, or are you still a slave to money and earthly ambitions? Do you follow Christ with an undivided heart? Get up and follow the Savior of the world, and you will become a tree of grace full of fruits, as Matthew became a reason for the salvation of many.

He who was called left his money, records, and office all at once, for he realized that the Son of God had called him. When Christ passed by him, he took hold of his divine gown, and considered everything else in the world as foul and rubbish. Matthew invited the Christ to his house, and prepared a great feast for him. He displayed his apostolic spirit, by inviting all his friends so that Christ might enter into their hard hearts. In fact many of those regarded as disqualified and contemptible came, wondering at the great honor conferred on them by the man of God.

The professors and lawyers hated Jesus, because he ignored them, and dealt instead with tax collectors, agents of the Romans, whom he openly accepted and dined with, in a great banquet. The fanatic and the experts in the law set a trap for Christ to discover the motives and aims of his work. They were blind to Jesus’ mercy, and not prepared to see their own hard hearts. Yet Jesus stabbed their pride, and unveiled their hypocrisy through their own statement, which they used to quote in support of their arguments, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” The tax collectors were, in fact, sick in spirit and in soul, and in need of the Savior and his power, without realizing that. However it is a fault not to speak with the corrupt, for they are in urgent need of salvation, deliverance, and instruction.

Jesus also uncovered the hypocrisy of the professors who thought that they had no need of forgiveness or the Savior, for they saw in themselves righteousness and truthfulness in teaching, as well as uprightness of behavior. Woe to those who are proud and righteous, and those who are self-complacent, for they neither know God, nor fear him. None is righteous before God. They have all turned aside. They have together become corrupt. There is none who does a good or righteous work. To think otherwise is the most terrible self-deceit. Study God’s holiness and love so that you may know your own state. You are sinful and guilty. The nearer you get to the glory of God, the more you discover your evil heart and mind. Confess your abominable works before Christ. Confess your evil deeds: stealing, lying, impurity, and haughtiness, and repent of every moment in which you caused damage to anyone, so that you may know your need of the salvation of Christ, crying, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of your tender mercies, do not cast me off.” Then you will realize Christ’s love and merciful kindness, and experience how he cleanses your mind, and gives you peace and divine righteousness.

However, if you go too far in thinking yourself righteous and acceptable because of your prayers, sacrifices, and fasting, you will be cheating your self. You will not be justified in your conscience, and you will not enter heaven, for God only accepts the purified repentant, the sinner who is justified and saved by the blood of Christ, and made perfect through his intercession. Listen please, my dear brother: Christ has come. He is present, and prepared to save you. He will truly redeem you if you become broken before him and confess your sins. Do not hesitate! Come and uncover the thoughts within you before him. Have recourse to his mercy.

PRAYER: O Lord Jesus, you have known me with all my unclean thoughts, harsh words, and evil deeds. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Cleanse me from sin, and sanctify my mind, so that I may be saved by the sprinkling of your precious blood, and I may complete the faithfulness of your intercession. Draw me by your word to your continuous fellowship.

QUESTION 46: Why can Christ not save the unrepentant?


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