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Krista Vaughn

Matthew’s Transformation | Mark 2:13-17

Matthew’s Transformation | Mark 2:13-17
By Krista Vaughn

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“He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”” Mark 2:13-17 ESV Once upon a time in the city of Capernaum, there lived a tax collector named Levi. Now during the trying times of the first century of the common era, tax collectors were greatly disliked by people from all backgrounds, except the Roman Empire of course. Being a tax collector was a wealthy trade. It was the task of the tax collectors to make the monetary goal of the districts from the people living in it. The tax collectors even kept the surplus money. Now, having a career with dirty money was greatly frowned upon and gave them the titles of “sinners” by the Pharisees, and if they happened to work for Rome, traitors.

What about our fellow, Matthew? Well, in the book of Mark and Luke, his name is Levi. Levi stems from the tribe of Levi who consisted of priests, especially from the Levites…so a descendant of holy attribution took up a career known for deceit and thieving. AND being marked as a sinner from the Pharisees, people were not supposed to intertwine their lives with them unless they were to be labeled as “unclean.”
A broken man not wanted by anyone… Was there any hope? Yes, yes there was.
Levi began to hear rumors about this Galilean who preached around the city. He attended a few of the meetings, and probably started to feel a tug at his heart. How do I come to this conclusion? Because Jesus calls him to “follow” Him.

…Which brings me to an Art Historical reference!
This sculpture depicted was created by Michelangelo, and is commonly known as one of his “unfinished” pieces. However, Michelangelo claimed it was meant to be that way in order to describe the transformation Levi went through: from being a sinner to being a disciple.
It encapsulates a frozen piece of time. A transition. A transfiguration. A testimony.

Layer 1
Now how can a non-believer, such as Michelangelo, create a beautiful representation as this? Well, that is another story, but I do believe God can bring goodness from many situations, including from a sinner Winking Which brings me to the second part of the passage, although we will have to side-step into the book of Luke 5:27-32. “And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” This transformation led Levi to hold a celebration for Jesus and invite his friends. What a great way to fellowship! There, Jesus was comfortable in the presence of Levi with his friends. He welcomed them and saw them as people. He gave them the opportunity to have their lives changed for the better! No longer outcasts.

Ultimately, there are many things to take from this passage, but the main CATCH is about sowing. Jesus planted seeds during His preaching. From there, He was able to help those seeds of knowledge sprout into a lifelong journey of discipleship, for that is a part of the Great Commission: make disciples.

What we do, what we say, who we portray can all influence the people around us. It only took Jesus to recognize a man as a person who could be loved, to change a life.
And they lived in joy ever after.
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Jesus Calls the First Disciples | Mark 1:16-20

Jesus Calls the First Disciples | Mark 1:16-20
By Krista Vaughn
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Mark 1:16-20
16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”[f] 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

A few things to consider in studying the bible consists of understanding the context of the scripture, the culture at the time, and the chronological order of information. In this case of Jesus calling His first disciples, the focus is on Simon (who is later called Peter or Cephas), Andrew (the brother of Simon), James and John (the sons of Zebedee). All of the four gospels mention this encounter varying from perspective, and I would like to bring attention to the mention of how “immediate” the encounter was.

There are two different perspectives of immediacy I would like to discuss.

First in looking at context, in both
Matthew 4:18-22 and Mark 1:16-20, the disciples mentioned that Jesus’ followers left their career and current lifestyles to directly follow Jesus. Were they complete strangers to Jesus? Well, no. Let’s look at this chronologically.
In
John 1:35-42, John brings in a timeline detail to the scenario. In this part of the gospel, we learn that Andrew was already a disciple of John the Baptist before his actual encounter with Jesus Christ. And as O’neill Trull mentioned in a previous previously, John the Baptist was the “one who prepared people to encounter Jesus.” As we continue in the Book of John, Andrew followed Jesus and then told his brother, Simon about Jesus. Thus, began their discipleship, although it was only part-time.
In this, we see the immediacy in believing in Jesus and wanting to follow Him.

Second, we further our study in chronology and context as we now dapple into the culture of the time with the Gospel of
Luke 5:1-11. Luke brings to us the view of the disciples’ jobs at the time. They were fisherman. In this encounter, Jesus shows them a miracle, a representation of stability for their families, as well as an invitation to delve deeper into their discipleship and become a full-time disciple while literally following Jesus where He goes. They then take on the task of learning how to be fishers of men.
In this, we see the immediacy to delve deeper into their relationship.

Where does your immediacy stand?


Through this understanding, we now know that the disciples immediately followed Jesus knowing it was to increase their discipleship after the preparation John the Baptist made for them.

Where does your immediacy stand?
Is God asking you to follow Him or is God asking you to go deeper?
In either case, we are here for you!

If you want to see the in-depth version of this study, please check out what John W. Schoenheit discusses at
https://thesowermagazine.com/the-calling-of-the-disciples/

I would not have understood it as much without his guidance.
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