1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Book of Luke, The Calling of the Disciple, Levi or Matthew As We Know HimLesson 63


Luke 5:27-32, And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. 28And he left all, rose up, and followed him. 29And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. 30But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? 31And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. 32I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.


The lessons here in Luke 5 give us two very important principles, principles which we very much need to grasp and to apply.


For, as I’ve already said, self righteousness is a very dangerous condition to be in, for it places you outside of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. 


It will place you outside of his saving arm and if you are saved self righteousness will place you outside of the growing of the fruit of the Spirit.


The first Principle we have learned is:




We find this principle in the book of Matthew who includes these words to the self-righteous Pharisees, who are condemning the guests at Matthew’s house as “sinners”:


Matthew 9:13, But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.


Jesus was telling them that there was a lack in their education and in the right understanding of the scriptures. 


This was a very severe rebuke to the Pharisees and scribes for they thought of themselves as the custodian or proper interpreters of the scriptures.


But the Lord Jesus was telling them to go back to the drawing board for you have not yet gotten the message of God as given to you in the scriptures.


The Pharisees thought of righteousness only in terms of rituals, of ceremonies, of self-righteous “sacrifices” (such as fasting).


They thought of righteousness as an outward adorning. .


But Jesus Christ will describe the true essence of that outward adorning later in his ministry as he uses the figure of sepulchers to show the Pharisees and scribes of what their righteousness consists.


Matthew 23:27, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.


Jesus cites Hosea 6:6, which reminds these “righteous” Pharisees that the essence of true religion is not ceremony.


Ceremony is simply outward and compared to the whiteness of a sepulcher, but the essence of true religion is compassion.


Hosea 6:6, For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.


The compassion which God calls for is that which has concern for the well-being of one’s neighbor, including “sinners” and Gentiles.


Do you shun your neighbor because you deem him a sinner? 


If so you emulate the Pharisee.


The Pharisee is not interested in the well being of his neighbor and justifies not being interested in the name of holiness.


Jesus came to call sinners because He was compassionate rather than condemning.


John 3:17, For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.


The second principle that this passage teaches us is:




The Pharisees thought that holiness required them to remain separate from sinners, to refuse to have contact with them.


Jesus was holiness come to earth, and yet His holiness was not reduced one iota by His contact with sinners.


In order for God to call sinners to repentance, God found it necessary to have contact with them, which is the reason for our Lord’s taking on human flesh, living among men, touching and being touched by them.


Jesus was not only comfortable among sinners, they were comfortable with Him.


The lesson which Jesus was trying to communicate to the Pharisees is the same lesson that is so important to Christians today.


These two principles, that of having compassion on sinners, and having contact with sinners is essential to bringing sinners to the Lord Jesus Christ.


If sinners are to be won to Christ these principles must be lived by the Christian.


If we have compassion, we will not spend all of our time and energy condemning sinners, but will rather call them to repentance.


If we would obey our Lord by calling them to repentance, then we must learn to have contact with sinners in such a way as to be comfortable with them and they with us, without conforming to their ungodly ways.


This is what the Lord Jesus did, and this is what He calls us to do.


We, in the name of separation from sin, are often sinning by not showing compassion to sinners and by not having contact with them so as to be able to share the gospel.


This is no new error for the apostle Paul had to correct this same error in the church at Corinth:


1 Cor. 5:9-11, I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.


How well Paul’s words apply to the Pharisees, especially the self-righteous Pharisee of Luke 18 who trusted in himself and despised others.


The Pharisee of Luke 18 was one of those who compared themselves among themselves and because he was not an extortioner or an adulterer or a publican he considered himself in right standing before God. 


After all didn’t he fast twice in the week, didn’t he give tithes of all that he possessed?


But he forgot that God looks on the heart and not on the outward appearance.


But the lesson is clear for those who may think that holiness requires the isolating of themselves from sinners and the avoidance of any association with sinners.


As usual the right answer is in the word of God where we are plainly told to follow the Lord  Jesus and have compassion and contact with sinners and not to follow the Pharisees who stood afar off from both compassion and contact.