Luke 5:27-32 :
After these things he went out, and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and said to him, “Follow me!”
He left everything, and rose up and followed him. 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. Their scribes and the Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Levi was Matthew’s other name, and Matthew also wrote a record of the events of Jesus’ life. A thing I would like to discus about this passage is the fact that Jesus admits that “tax collectors” are sinners. That seems like a strange thing to say today. Why would Jesus consider a tax collector to be a sinner?
I believe that it was because the tax collectors were Roman sympathizers that went all the way to the point of collecting money from their own countrymen in order to get rich. You could call them the opportunistic swindlers of the day, paid by the government. That isn’t too far from what we see going on in the world today when a majority of people are against a policy in which their own representatives decide to oppose them and instead of representing them they take their money away.
People who do things like that are losers and need serious help. In fact, I’m a loser and I need serious help. As we see here, Jesus is really only for losers anyway and that’s why He came to you. He knew that there was actually very little difference between a tax-collector and anyone else. We were all in trouble compared to God and His righteousness and it is only those who actually recognize their own sin who can come to Jesus and find that He is the only doctor who can actually remove the problem.
Notice that the Pharisees didn’t notice that they were losers too. Instead they tried to get the disciples to see things their way and Jesus answered for them, sparing them the confusion of trying to answer. We shouldn’t justify the sin of the tax-collector but should strongly oppose it as Jesus did, however, we should be very careful to realize that without faith in Christ, we are not any better and that these people need Jesus.