potential

If you’ve been around the church a while there is a good chance you have heard a sermon on the man who was paralyzed and healed by Jesus. He had four friends who carried him on to the roof, tore a hole and dropped him down to get to Jesus. I’ve got to be honest, for pastors this is one of the best bible stories ever. It has preaching points built in, you don’t have to do much prep everything is there. But what if the man being healed is not the main point? What if it was a staging for a much larger event?

In Luke’s gospel Jesus walks straight out of the meeting to a man named Levi. Levi probably saw all of this go down, the paralyzed man being lowered into the building, then that same man walking out carrying his matt. Levi probably got a good picture of what happened in there. But he was outside, standing in a booth. Levi had a job that made him sit in a booth and collect money from his own people. It was more like exploiting than collecting. If you were named Levi in Israel in the first century there was a really good chance you were a Levite and they were no ordinary people. They were set apart by God for priestly purposes. These were the people who lead God’s people in sacrificial offerings and the worship of the Lord. But Levi was collecting taxes for the Roman government; a government that officially worshiped their emperors and called them things like savior, lord, and king of kings.

So what do you do when you’re living so far from your high calling? So many people think they are going to do amazing things in this world and they are living like Levi. So I wonder if Jesus recognized the potential in Levi and orchestrated this whole healing the paralytic just so when Jesus walked up to Levi and said, “follow me,” Levi would get it. Maybe if this guy saw something miraculous he would return to his calling and stop exploiting people for money. That is a tremendous amount of potential to see in someone. Of course, Jesus was right to call Levi. Levi became Matthew and wrote one of the gospels.

Do you see potential in people? Even if they look too far gone? I wonder if the real miracle in this story is the repentance and salvation of a guy who thought he was damaged goods.

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  • Well stated and great questions!