Unlikely Followers

Posted by Karah


What kind of person do you think would make the ideal disciple? List a few descriptions or characteristics below.

Jesus replied to them, “The healthy don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” —Luke 5:31-32

Now, read Luke 5:27-32 in your Bible. At the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, tax collectors were among the most despised people in society. They collected taxes for the Romans, and their profit depended upon how much money they collected, which led them to overcharge. To put it simply, tax collectors were the last people you’d expect Jesus to call to follow Him.

Read through the passage once more and think through these questions:

Is your concept of the ideal disciple the same as the people Jesus actually called? Why or why not?

Examine Jesus’ response in verses 31-32. How would you write it in your own words?

Why is it important to understand that Jesus’ salvation isn’t about what we deserve or what we can earn? Explain.


We are all unlikely followers, yet Jesus has called us to follow Him.

Reflect on how Jesus has saved you and made you whole. Spend some time in prayer thanking God for the way He reached out to you when you didn’t deserve it.

Because they kept all the religious rules and regulation, the Pharisees and scribes thought they were better than the “sinners.” Sometimes, as believers, this attitude can creep into our lives, too. Ask God to reveal any areas in which you’ve allowed it to. In the margin, list two actions you will take to prevent your heart from becoming like the Pharisees’ hearts.

For further study of God’s grace toward us in Jesus, read Romans 5:6-11 and Ephesians 2:1-10.

Behind the Story

In a parallel account of this event in the Gospel of Matthew, the tax collector’s name is given as Matthew (Matt. 9:9). “Matthew the tax collector” is also mentioned in Matthew 10:3. Scholars generally accept Matthew and Levi as the same person. It was common for men of that day to have two names: one in Hebrew or Aramaic; the other Latin or Greek. In this case, Matthew is a Greek name while Levi is a Hebrew name.

The Point

Jesus came for sinners, not just for those who have it all together or seem to deserve Him.

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