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The 60: Disciples Unexpected | Mark 2:13-17 | Life Unexpected


Debrief offers an abridged outline of the Sunday sermon for individuals or Community Groups alike, to re-engage the content of the Sunday sermon. This outline is far from complete, but serves to give a track or road map to walk through the content of Sunday in another context during the week.

Making Disciples

Jesus was out by the lake, again, out in the open, teaching in public wherever he went…….making disciples. Jesus is about making Disciples…….unashamedly.

Make no mistake about it, Jesus is about making disciples, and we are about making disciples…….just like everyone else is.

Who's Disciple Are You? (v:13)

Everyone is a disciple of someone. The way you think, the way you act, all has to do with discipleship. It’s all comes from someone……and you are a disciple of someone.

Levi was already a disciple (follower), just of someone other than Jesus

Follow: the word for follow (akolouthein) is used in the Gospels of Jesus’ disciples. It means to follow closely behind or accompany. The word is also a load-bearing term. It involves cost and risk.

Levi had been paying a steep cost in living the life he did as a tax collector

Tax Collectors:

  • Levi served and in a sense was following Herod Antipas
  • Tax collectors would make daily rounds to collect taxes, or sit on open routes with a table and a pen to collect taxes
  • Tax collectors were mostly Jews, but not ‘practicing’ Jews, since Jews were not supposed to do business with Gentiles (nominal Christian)
  • Tax collectors were hated because they forced people to pay whatever they asked, and turned them over to the Romans if not
  • Tax collectors were seen as a disgrace to their family
  • Tax collectors were kicked out of the synagogue
  • Jews couldn’t receive money from tax collectors, even beggars would reject alms from them since their money was seen as earned through robbery

Levi was taking a cost that was too much for people to pay or bare, but he was also paying a cost that was too much for him to pay or bare.

Following Jesus was not a rash decision for Levi.

He had most likely been around Jesus (Galilee), seen Him and heard His teaching.

Levi may likely have evaluated the cost he was paying in his sinful life, following Herod and the Roman government, and by God’s grace had now seen that at the end of the day, following anyone or anything other than Jesus was too costly and didn’t make sense.

Who Are The Most Expected Disciples of Jesus (v:14-15)

Jesus calling Levi may have been more offensive and unexpected to the religious people of Jesus’ day than Jesus touching a leper since a tax collector chose his condition whereas a leper did not

Who is the most offensive person to you, or the most offensive type of person to you? Do you believe they could actually be a disciple of Jesus like you? (Emotionally energizing examples)

Jesus gets even more offensive to the religious leaders by not only calling one individual tax collector, but eating with a number of them and other “sinners”.

“Sinners” is a term for people who do not occasionally disobey the Bible, but are openly opposed to it.

Open and unashamed sinners are not the exception to the rule for disciples, they are the rule.

Do we really believe this? Or are we primarily looking for “good” people who still need Jesus? Are we looking for the “good” people who are still lost in their goodness?

How Does Jesus Expect Us To Relate To His Most Expected Disciples? (v:15)

Jesus was ‘reclining’ at the table with sinners and tax collectors. Luke’s account tells us He was eating and drinking with them.

  • Jesus expects us to go to them, NOT wait for them to come to us. This meeting of Jesus with sinners is not coincidental. He is the one taking the initiative with sinners. He’s not waiting for an invitation, but making one.
  • Jesus expects us to be confident and comfortable around them, NOT cowardly or contemptuous. Jesus is not intimidated by these people. He is just as confident around them as he is his own disciples.
  • Jesus expects us to accept them, NOT reject them. Jesus does not make moral change a precondition of his love and acceptance. Jesus loves them as they are.

Jesus’ acceptance of and familiarity with Levi sends a signal to others like him, and many of them then want to be around Jesus. What kind of signal are you sending to the most likely disciples of Jesus?

Who Are The Most Unexpected Disciples of Jesus? (v:16-17)

In both the story of the paralytic and this story of Levi, Jesus could have accomplished what he wanted while avoiding conflict with the religious leaders. Instead, Jesus chooses to pick a fight with the religious people of his day, to provoke them to see how lost they were in their religion. I

ts much easier to make a disciple out of a sinful person than it is a self-righteous person

The most unexpected disciples of Jesus are religious people, because they think they’re well when they’re really sick.

It is just as senseless of Jesus to shun tax collectors and sinners as it is for a doctor to shun people who are sick.

Like any good doctor, Jesus would rather give his attention to people who know they are sick and will receive His directions, rather than people who think they’re well and want to do it on their own.

Diving In

Diving In offers a few questions to help you re-engage the concepts from Sunday. Feel the freedom to use all of the questions, or to simply camp out on just one. These questions aren't intended to answer all the issues that surface through the thrust of this weeks' message, but to simply raise them and allow you time and space to process them, ideally in the context of your Community Group.

  • Who are you being discipled by other than Jesus? How costly is it? How specifically have you seen yourself paying that cost? Is that a price you are still willing to pay? Why or why not?
  • Who is the most offensive person or type of person you can think of. Do you truly believe they could be the kind of disciple of Jesus that you are?
  • Who are you primarily looking for as potential disciples of Jesus? Are these the kind of people you primarily see Jesus looking for in the Gospel of Mark? What does that say to you?
  • What kind of initiative have you taken recently with "sinners" in your life? Do you see them taking more initiative with you that you do with them? When was the last time you gave an invitation to someone like Levi into your life in some way?
  • Do you most often see yourself as someone who is sick, or someone who is well? What impact does that have on the the degree of discipleship that's happening in your life?

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