Tells the story of a man name Levi, who was a publican.
In this time period, tax collectors were sent from Rome to collect taxes from all cities under Rome's rule, and a publican was a tax collector for the Roman empire. These people were greatly despised by the Jews, who felt they were unclean; mostly Pagan worshippers sent from Rome to disrupt their culture.
As tax collectors, they were highly discriminated against. They had no place with the other Jews of stature, forced to sit with the ones that the Jews considered as low-life or sinners. They were so despised that they were used in the example of ex-communication, saying that the offender must be treated as a "tax collector."
Jesus was not discriminative, however. He saw Levi sitting at his tax booth, and asked him "Come and follow me." The Bible makes no mention of Levi previously being a believer of Christ or even being kind toward the Jews, yet he left everything and followed Jesus.
Levi prepared a great feast in his own home for Jesus, and invited a large crowd of other tax collectors and sinners to join in the feast. Jesus did not take one look at the crowd of sinners and immediately head for the door, instead He joined them for the feast and began to eat and drink with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes started complaining to His disciples. They asked, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"
Jesus answered that those who are well have no need of a doctor. Those who are sick are the ones who need the doctor. He said that He had not came to earth to call the righteous, but He came to call the sinners to repentance.
As Christians, we should ask ourselves: Do we separate ourselves from the sinners, or others who do not believe as we do? Do we invite the sinners to join us for worship, or are we ashamed if they sit next to us in the pew? If we are seen in public with sinners, are we ashamed to be with them? Do we gossip about others who are not ashamed to be around sinners? As pastors, do we spend our days preaching to the saved, or are we searching for the lost? Do we try to call the saved to repentance and shun the sinners? Would we ourselves be considered a "tax collector" by Jesus if he were here today?