New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Calls Levi and Eats With Sinners
15 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. 16 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?”
17 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.”
"Follow me," Jesus told him (Levi), and Levi got up and followed him. I can envision the disciples surrounding Jesus as they walked along the shoreline of the lake. As Jesus stopped at the tax collector's booth, of course all the disciples stopped as well. I can just see the disciples all spreading around the booth as Jesus began to speak to Levi. When he spoke directly to Levi instructing him to follow, I can just see those words instructing the disciples too. Yes, he was speaking to this tax collector but what if he intended on the instruction implying that the disciples too should follow him and Levi. It's as if he was teaching the disciples simultaneously to follow him into the the presence of the "many tax collectors and 'sinners'." I believe it is just as important to respond to the command Jesus gave Levi to follow him. Plus, look how Levi responded to the authority of Jesus. He got up and followed him. He wants us to follow his direction, his lead. He commands us to respond likewise to His authority. He wants us to GO and fellowship with sinners. Why?
"It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
-Off to eat with tax collectors and sinners....