The Hospitality of Jesus (Luke 5:27-32)

The Hospitality of Jesus (Luke 5:27-32)


What kind of people do you allow into your life?

Jesus confronted the sin and sickness that surrounded him. Previously, he forgave and healed the paralytic on the account of the collective faith of him and his friends. Now, Jesus returns to the task of calling disciples that began in 5:1-11. But this time, the emphasis is upon the kinds of people Jesus calls.

If we will not acknowledge our depravity, we will not hear Christ’s call to follow him.

Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Read Luke 5:27-32

Jesus Calls (27-28)

Tax Collectors were Jews who worked for the Roman government. Commonly increased their income by cheating the people. Jews viewed them as traitors against their own people, and God!

Levi would’ve received payments at his booth, likely from James and John.

It’s not surprising that they were despised. Jesus was not naïve about this, but he goes to the despised anyway.

The call of Jesus to “follow me” is clear, effective, and comprehensive. The call of Jesus compels Levi to respond. Whatever hardness of heart he might have experienced prior to meeting Jesus, was gone. Grace made him willing to follow.

Levi left everything just like the fishermen (v.11), including his lucrative tax booth business, to follow Jesus.

Have you left everything? What do you still cling to?

Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.

Jesus’ call is followed by the…

Pharisees Complain (29-30)

Levi’s immediate response to following Jesus is to show hospitality with the purpose of introducing people to Jesus.

The Pharisees and Scribes viewed fellowship with sinners to be compromising to their integrity.

“Complaining” frequent in LXX. Luke is comparing the Pharisees to the rebellious wilderness generation.

Rather than inviting people to “Come as you are”, the Pharisees invited those who cleaned themselves up first.

This is a challenging principle to practice. Consider Ephesians 5:7–14. Separation can be called for in certain situations. But what we are separating from is the sin, not the person.

Are there people you despise? Maybe you have a justified reason for it, but your posture should be one of a willingness to forgive, and maybe even to invite them over.

Jesus was not embarrassed to be associated with the despised.

Whether they intended their complaint to reach Jesus or not…

Jesus Answers (31-32)

Jesus doesn’t allow grumbling to go unnoticed. He was regularly answering their complaints. He confronts them before their rumors can even spread.

Only the self-righteous would be offended by Jesus’ statement. The Pharisees and Scribes were delusional to think they were healthy and righteous.

Hospitality, or the lack of hospitality, reveals quite a bit about our understanding of the gospel.

Tim Chester I don’t want to reduce church and mission to meals, but I do want to argue that meals should be an integral and significant part of our shared life.1

The first step of repentance is acknowledging our sinful estate. No one needed it more than the complaining Pharisees and Scribes.

It seems so easy, but what do we do when confronted with our own sin? We deny, blame-shift, compare our small sin to the big sin of others…



  1. Jesus Calls (27-28)
  2. Pharisees Complain (29-30)
  3. Jesus Answers (31-32)

Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

The call of repentance = the call to follow. 180 degree turn away from former life to follow Christ and do his will.

Jesus responds to every encounter with perfect accuracy. He knew their need and addressed it precisely.

What is your need?

Come, ye weary, heavy laden, lost and ruined by the fall; if you tarry till you’re better, you will never come at all: Not the righteous, not the righteous, sinners Jesus came to call.