In this episode — the call of Levi — Mark clearly contrasts Jesus’ and the Pharisees’ perception.
Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:13-17).
Jesus sees Levi. The Pharisees see a category.
4 thoughts on “Gospel Perception”
Love the emphasis on Mark’s use of verbs. Same verbs used in Mark 1: 16 and 19—seeing the two sets of brothers before he called them–from the waters to follow him–eventually to the mountain (transfiguration). Mark adopts the pattern of approach to God found in Genesis-Exodus–through waters to the mountain for worship (Adam, Noah, Moses, Israel, etc.). Echo of Jesus “seeing” in Genesis 1. Keep us the great work. Your students will benefit much from you..
Reminds me how Jesus sees the crowds and has compassion. It seems like many evangelicals see the crowds and despise them instead. The poor, the liberals, the immigrants, the sinners etc…
Everyone does it, Dave, and I notice how many in my own culture (me, too) see ‘others’ inappropriately. Reminds me of the new U2 song, “Invisible,” and the repeated line, “there is no them.”
I so love Jesus’ comment in [Luke 13;16] also in response to the hypocritical Pharasees: “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” [Luke 13;16]
Though, I wouldn’t say there’s no ‘them’. Jesus frequently draws distinctions. For example:
Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. ….. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says “You will indeed hear but never understand,and you will indeed see but never perceive.” [Matt 13:10-11,13-14]
There are those who accept Christ and those who reject Christ; those who are saved and those who are unsaved; those on the wide-road, and those on the narrow, etc.
From Jesus we see that the same grace that falls on the wheat falls on the weeds, and that nothing should be with-held ‘them‘, yet we also see that there are sheep and goats, and that understanding and blessing of eternal life has the precondition of belonging only to one of those two groups.
Evangelicals (who, as a non-American, I expect is code for ‘conservative Christian), and Liberals alike are intolerant of those not in their own group.