Mark 2:13-17

Talks for Growing Christians

The Lord Calls Levi, a Tax Collector

Mark 2:13-17

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Lesson Number 8

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Jesus came to save sinners.
  2. Separation is not isolation.

Practical Application

  1. We should practice relationship evangelism as Matthew did.
  2. Don't wait to witness.


  1. Who was Levi, and what was his occupation? Where was his office?
  2. What was it like to be a tax collector in the days of Jesus What is another name for a tax collector?
  3. What did the scribes and Pharisees infer when they asked the question in Mark 2:16?
  4. What did Jesus mean by His statement in Mark 2:17?
  5. Did Matthew's values and attitudes change after the Lord called him?
  6. Does Jesus pray for believers to be taken out of the world?
  7. What does the great commission tell us to do?


  1. Levi was also known as Matthew, and he wrote the gospel bearing his name. He was a tax collector before he became a disciple. His office was like a toll booth. Capernaum was located on a major road, so trade, travel and citizen's taxes were collected there.
  2. It was a lucrative position, and open to graft because of over-charging. Tax collectors were not popular with the people (understatement), because the Jews were forced to pay taxes to Rome. Another name for a tax collector was "publican."
  3. That the publican and others at the table were sinners.
  4. The scribes and Pharisees thought of themselves as righteous, and others as sinners. The self-righteous felt no need of salvation, and therefore, couldn't be cured.
  5. Yes. He changed his ways and wanted to share Christ with his friends. He was not hesitant in identifying himself with Christ. See Mark 2:14-16.
  6. No. He prayed that they would be kept from the unholy values and attitudes of the world, but that they were to stay in the world to share the gospel with unbelievers. See John 17.
  7. See Matthew 28:19-20


  1. Recall the people with whom you have shared Christ over the years. Have you had the joy of leading someone to Christ?
  2. How separated are you from the values and attitudes of the world?


  1. Re-evaluate the two questions above, and think how you could be a more effective witness.

Key Verses

  • "Jesus said, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." (Mark 2:17)

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