It’s possible to do informal research to prove a story that we want to tell. We find one or two examples. We talk to a couple people we know agree with us. We say, “See? This!”
It happens all the time.
I’ll wait while you fill in your favorite example.
I’ll wait another minute while you respond to what you think I mean.
Jesus was a rule breaker. He challenged authority. He loved to make religious people mad. That’s what we say.
After all, he had dinner at Levi’s house. And the teachers of the law were alarmed. That’s what we point to.
Levi was a tax collector.
So far, we don’t know much more about Levi, other than he was the son of Alphaeus and that Jesus told him “Follow me.”
Levi got up and followed him. Later, Jesus followed Levi to Levi’s house. Levi’s friends and acquaintances and business associates came to dinner, because those were the people that Levi knew. They are described by Mark as sinners and tax collectors, but that choice of words is for the benefit of readers who may be in that demographic.
Because Capernaum wasn’t huge, and because Levi was somewhere near the lake, it’s possible that the fishing followers of Jesus knew him. It’s possible that he knew Jesus, too.
In fact, it’s possible that Jesus and James and John and Peter and Andrew had all paid taxes to Levi. Which, in any culture, is probably not the best starting point for relationship.
But Jesus and his followers and Levi and his friends were eating dinner together.
When asked, Jesus said that he had come to say “follow me” to people like Levi and his friends.
It looks less like loving to make people mad. It looks more like loving people.
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