The Kingdom of God is a Party

There’s an important lesson for us in the story of Levi’s call. Following Jesus is not just about what we leave behind, but who we take with us. It’s a lesson that reminds us, the Kingdom of God is a party!

What was Levi thinking? He heard Jesus’ message and his call to follow, and the first thing he did was throw a party! Who did he invite? Not the religious leaders, not the upstanding citizens. He invited the most hated and reviled people imaginable.

He invited people just like him–tax collectors!

Levi knew the hearts of the people he invited. He knew how his world had rejected them, just like it had rejected him. They were despised and rejected. They never got invited to parties. Not the right parties, anyway.

So Levi invited them to his!

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Extraordinary Things

In Luke 5:17-26, we read the story of Jesus healing a paralyzed man. That’s an amazing miracle, but that’s not extraordinary.

In the story, the house where Jesus is staying is packed, so the people who brought the man had to tear a hole in the roof and lower him down. That’s an impressive commitment to a friend, but it’s not extraordinary.

As Jesus encounters the man, after his friends have lowered him in, while the people are all waiting to see a miracle, Jesus does something truly extraordinary.

He tells the man, “Your sins are forgiven.”

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When You Touch the Untouchable

Lepers were to be treated as though they were dead. You took them to the edge of town and you left them there. And yet Jesus touches the untouchable. Who needs our touch?

Jesus the Rule Breaker

In the story of Jesus healing a leper in Luke 5:12-16, we hear the man begging Jesus, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Verse 13 tells us of Jesus’ response. “And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I will; be clean.’ And immediately, the leprosy left him.”
Anyone reading the story in that culture would have been shocked, not by the healing, but by Jesus doing something that was absolutely forbidden. He touched the leper.

Leviticus 13 tells how the priests were to diagnose leprosy and then treat the leper. They were to examine the sores but never touch. Once diagnosed, the leper was cast out of the community, beyond the city walls. You treated him the way you would treat a corpse.

He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.

Leviticus 13:46

But Jesus Broke the Rules

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Let Down Your Nets

Jesus’ miraculous catch of fish didn’t just challenge what Simon knew about fishing, it changed everything he believed possible. Let down your nets.

Fishing Ron Swanson
Ron Swanson, philosopher

The great philosopher Ron Swanson once said, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Don’t teach a man to fish and feed yourself. He’s a grown man; fishing’s not that hard.”

While I agree that fishing is not difficult, I would counter that it’s not a matter of “don’t teach a man to fish,” but rather, “you can’t teach a man to fish.” I’ve been around a lot of fishermen and one trait they all seem to have is that they are all thoroughly convinced that their method of fishing is the best. They don’t need you telling them how to fish.

And so, the most amazing thing for me in the story of the miraculous catch of fish from Luke 5 is that when Jesus told Peter let the nets down for a catch, he actually did it.

“Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”

Luke 5:5
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Walking Jesus’ Path

If we’re walking Jesus’ path we’ll encounter Jesus’ people.

There Are No Shortcuts

In Luke 4:14-30, we read of Jesus’ return to his home in Nazareth and the message he delivered to those in his home synagogue.

It does not go well.

Walking Jesus' path

Trust me; I know what it’s like to preach a bad sermon. I even know what it’s like to preach a bad sermon at my home church! But I’ve never preached a sermon so bad that the whole congregation took me to the edge of town to throw me off a cliff!

Of course, it does help that we don’t have any cliffs nearby.

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