everyone to your Table Talk small group. Watch the video and
share the story below, then open up the discussion with the
Video: Table Manners – Dining with the Enemy
long been intrigued by the stark visual contrast the story of
Levi would have posed for all those gathered nearby.
introduction happens around a table. Jesus comes victoriously
onto the scene from healing someone who was paralyzed and triumphantly
teaching God’s truth in a way that it silenced the greatest
teachers of the day around him.
vantage, Jesus eyes Levi in the distance. Sitting at a table
ornamented with the vestiges of Roman power, Levi is flanked by
Roman guards who protect him from retaliation. His own kinsmen
would have been afraid to strike out in justice against his
indulgence with Roman body guards.
also surrounded by boxes of money. Taxes he has collected and
extras fees he has stolen. The bounty of his sinful choices piled
high in treasure boxes flaunting his decision to turn his back on
his own people. Levi was born a Jew, but he had chosen to become
the enemy of God’s people.
would surely have something to say about this. And he does!
is not what the crowd expected. No rebuke? No condemnation? No
fire and brimstone from heaven?
looked around. His Roman guards looked back at him. His money
boxes shouted to him. Only a table stood between him and Jesus.
What would he do?
says with such simplicity, “Levi got up, left everything and
next scene is also around a table. Not piled high with treasure
boxes that blocked his view of his own people, but Levi’s own
dinner table. Surrounded with friends and others who shared in
his sinful past. Laughing, eating, and celebrating, they were in
the presence of someone who protected them, but he wasn’t a
soldier. He was The King. They were surrounded by treasure, but
it wasn’t gold. It was fellowship with God.
an enemy is just a friend we haven’t invited to the right table
us to see what you see and hear what you hear as we search the
scriptures today. Surely you treated others differently than we
are inclined to do and we need your Word to guide and shape us in
doing the same. Help us as we gather together to find the joy and
freedom that is only found in your presence. Speak to us Lord,
and prepare us to listen well. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Starting the Discussion (4 minutes)
Can you share a meaningful moment or nugget of truth
that has stuck with you from this week’s sermon?
When is the last time you sat around the table and
shared a meal that included real conversation?
Unfolding the Biblical Story (25 minutes)
Maybe you don’t have anyone you would admit is an
enemy (or maybe you do) but we all have people we don’t get along
with for one reason or another. When you see an enemy
approaching, what is your first reaction?
If Jesus hadn’t spoken to Levi, do you think Levi
would have had the courage to get up from his table and go to
It is interesting who and what Jesus doesn’t
address. What are potential obstacles and threats that Jesus
ignores by only speaking to Levi?
Leaving “everything” is a literary expression. He
didn’t leave everything behind and march off into the sunset. For
instance, we see his home and friends in the next verses, but
what did Levi give up by getting up from his Roman table in front
of the whole community gathered there?
Luke takes special note to say that Levi “followed”
Jesus. Who was he following before and what is significant about
Levi still has wealth and influence, but how is he
using it now compared to when he was sitting at the tax table?
What is significant about who attends the party and
sits at his table?
Who is NOT at the table that might have been
expected to be an honored guest in those days, especially given
Levi’s prominent political position and the size of this party?
It is likely that everyone sitting around Levi’s
table is a Jew. Why would the Pharisees speak in such
marginalizing terms about the guests at the party?
Why do you think the Pharisees complain to Jesus’
disciples about Jesus’ conduct and his attendance at the party?
What other motives might be at play here?
Who is it that answers the Pharisees’
What does this mean that Jesus did in order to
respond to the Pharisees if they were outside watching while
Jesus was enjoying the party?
Making Scripture Personal (10 minutes)
This passage begs several questions, the most
important may be this: What is Jesus willing to do in order to
reach out to lost people?
Jesus doesn’t do what anyone expects at any point in
this story. Are you willing to let Jesus surprise you and change
your expectations of what it means to follow him?
Whose table are you willing to sit at in order to
share the Good News of Jesus and the forgiveness that is found in
God, you are kind and forgiving when we truly don’t deserve it.
You seek us out and call our name when everyone else is willing
to give up on us. Levi saw his value in his power and wealth, but
you saw his value as a Child of God long after he thought such a
thing was impossible. Thank you for extending that same offer to
all of us. Help us to follow you, to sit at the table with you as
family, and to invite others to join us there. Thank you for the
gift of repentance that allows us to leave everything and follow
you. In the powerful name of Jesus we pray, amen.
anyone has lingering questions or insights to share from your
time of study and prayer. Summarize the group discussion as a
reminder of what you learned together.
Challenge (3 minutes)
scripture challenge this week, work with your group to try and
memorize Luke 5:32. Practice it out loud together, write it out
several times and recite it throughout the week. God will go to
any length necessary to call us to repentance. Join Him at the
table, and join Him in the work.