by Abraham Cremeens
If you have Jesus and a slow cooker then you can change the world. I realize that is a very bold statement but it is biblical.
I’ve been reflecting for a couple of weeks on Mark 2:13-17 where Jesus encountered and called Levi to follow him. It is very similar to Jesus’ call of Simon, Andrew, James, and John in the first chapter of Mark. There he said, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” He didn’t explain it at that time. We simply know that these men obeyed the call to follow Jesus and be made into fishers of men by him.
In Mark 2, though, we get a window into the details of man fishing. Levi was a tax collector and therefore an outcast. The most devout Jews of that day believed that Messiah was coming to overthrow Rome and reestablish Israel as a nation. They also believed that the Messiah would only come when Israel cleaned up its morals and proved itself ready with its purity. Therefore, anyone who wasn’t on board with that moral clean-up was a part of the problem and not the solution.
James Edwards says in his commentary,
The Mishnah and Talmud (although written later) register scathing judgments of tax collectors, lumping them together with thieves and murderers. A Jew who collected taxes was disqualified as a judge or witness in court, expelled from the synagogue, and a cause of disgrace to his family. The touch of a tax collector rendered a house unclean. Jews were forbidden to receive money and even alms from tax collectors since revenue from taxes was deemed robbery. Jewish contempt of tax collectors is epitomized in the ruling that Jews could lie to tax collectors with impunity.
To say tax collectors were unliked would be a severe understatement. They were loathed. And yet Jesus invited one named Levi right into his inner circle.
But this is not all that is remarkable in this scene. Levi goes on to create in his home a collision that impacted eternity. He was so enamored with Jesus and saw in him not only the hope of Israel but also the hope of any human soul, including his own. So he invited Jesus, he invited his tax collector friends, he put a casserole in the slow cooker, and he changed the course of human lives forever. With Jesus and a slow cooker, you can change the world.
Levi’s example is completely simple and utterly powerful at the same time. He didn’t have a seminary degree. He didn’t have much experience. But he used what he had in bringing human lives into the presence of Jesus, the great Physician who came to seek and to save the lost.
If you are reading this then chances are you are a Christian. That means you know Jesus in a relational way. Since you are a human being you have neighbors, coworkers, and random folks you come into contact with. You also have a slow cooker, or a grill, or at least a microwave. If you put all of these together then you can change the world. People can exit the kingdom of darkness and enter the kingdom of Jesus right under your roof and around your table. All it takes is an invitation, a simple meal, a conversation, and for you to be authentic about your faith in Jesus and life with him. Enjoy it.