"The sick are not the sinners, but those who forget their own story. There is healing in remembering our own story – healing for others and us."
From the Bible
Mark 2: 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.
Rom 4: 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
We should retell the stories of the past so that we will not repeat the terrible past. However, stories also serve to make us understand who we are. It serves to discover our identity. The gospels are stories that were retold so that we can see ourselves in it. The story of Levi wants to teach us, first of all, who we are.
Think of the surprise of Levi when Jesus called Him. Jesus. Tax-collecting was the work to which the greatest social stigma was attached (J Jeremias). Levi, therefore, was not the most loved person around. The Jews thought that tax-collectors were unpatriotic! Collaborators with the enemies, the oppressors, and therefore traitors! Taxes went to the Romans. Parasites, enriching themselves! On a religious level, they were unclean. They were avoided. Spare a thought for the tax-collectors. Herman Waetjen writes: Tax collectors were dispossessors, but also dispossessed; oppressors, but also oppressed. They were exploited by the people above them, despised by the people below them. But! ... His past and his background and religious impurity did not prevent Jesus from associating with him. How surprising is the grace of God! Levi’s call is the surest sign of God’s grace.
This is our story. Our story is the story of grace, in spite of sin. Paul speaks about it when he says that God justifies the ungodly (Rom 4:5). Let us never forget our story! Then we will also be filled with more mercy when we look at other people.
Lord, thank you for the story of your grace in my life, in spite of my sin, in Jesus’ name. Amen.