Grace That Is Greater
Prayer at the Extremity of Profundity

Teachings from Levi's Banquet


Jesus found a tax collector and called him. His name was Levi, but that was his Jewish name. We know him as Matthew, but Luke is telling his story here.

He was a Jew who collaborated with the occupying Romans. He had many friends out in the world that he wanted to introduce to his new rabbi, Jesus. So, he threw a party and, at the party, Jesus did some powerful teaching.

The Bridegroom

And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. – Luke 5:34-35

When I first scribbled these thoughts, it was the season of weddings. Love was in the air and young lovers’ eyes were glazed over with anticipation of their marriages. They had chosen their brides and grooms and, with eager anticipation, await their nuptials.

Jesus was born for an arranged marriage. He is the bridegroom of a precious bride, betrothed by his Father from the foundation of the earth and adorned in beauty and regalia. He is the husband of the church. His eyes glow with love for his bride.

His presence is of such value that the members of the wedding party mourn while he is away and rejoice when he arrives. The hosts of Heaven understand this and even nature responds with glee at his arrival. The earth was darkened when he died, and his friends grieved with despair. His resurrection brought unspeakable joy and his ascension was no source of pain for with it, he sent his Spirit to abide with and in us forever. He is always present as he promised in his Great Commission.

We are cast in this drama as both the collective bride and friends of the bridegroom. In both roles, we have within ourselves the desire to adore him. It may disguise itself as something else. The flesh will distort that desire and pervert it, but the essence of desire is that we would desire him.


The New Wine

Luke 5:27-39 NRSV
After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, "Follow me."

And he got up, left everything, and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table with them.

The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"

Jesus answered, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance."

Then they said to him, "John's disciples, like the disciples of the Pharisees, frequently fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink. Jesus said to them, "You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days."

He also told them a parable: "No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, 'The old is good.'"