Through the Bible in One Year

Day 48

Mark 2:13-3:6

Just to briefly review what we learned yesterday.  We learned that the crowds flocked to see Jesus not so much because of the message that he was bringing, but because he was meeting the needs that they needed to be fulfilled.  We, also, learned that in psychology these needs are called D-needs and that they must be met before growth needs or B-needs can be met.  We, also, learned that all this comprises a motivational theory developed by an American Psychologist named Abraham Maslow.  And that this theory comprised original a five-tier model of human needs and later developed into an eight-tier model of human needs, that are often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. 

If you remember the eight stages of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are the following:

  1. Biological and physiological needs—air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex and sleep.
  2. Safety Needs—protection from elements, security, order, law, stability and freedom from fear.
  3. Love and Belongingness Needs—friendship, intimacy, trust, and acceptance, receiving and giving affection and love.  And affiliating, which is being part of a group.
  4. Esteem Needs—esteem for oneself (dignity, achievement, mastery and independence) and the need to be accepted and valued by others (status or prestige).
  5. Cognitive Needs—knowledge and understanding, curiosity, exploration, the need for meaning and predictability.
  6. Aesthetic Needs—appreciation and search for beauty, balance and form
  7. Self-actualization Needs—realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.  A desire “to become everything one is capable of becoming”.
  8. Transcendence Needs—A person is motivated by values which transcend beyond the personal self, e.g. mystical experiences and certain experiences with nature, aesthetic experiences, sexual experiences, service to others, the pursuit of science and religious faith.
Maslow’s Hierarch of Needs Eight Stage Model

Now that we have reviewed Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we can now turn to today’s passage which starts in this way:

Jesus went out again beside the sea. The whole crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. Then, passing by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me,” and he got up and followed him.

While he was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who were following him. When the scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

When Jesus heard this, he told them, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”—Mark 2:13-17

The first character we encounter is a man by the name Levi, who would later become known as Matthew.  And Levi had a D-need, but what was his D-need?  Levi’s D-need was the need to be loved and have a sense of belonging, because you see Levi was a tax collector and tax collectors were hated and despised as much in Jesus’ day as they are today.  In fact they were probably more hated and despised then than they are today, because they were working for an occupying government, which made them outcasts in a society where being part of a community was important.  But as you can see Jesus only spoke two word to Levi, “Follow me”, which was all Levi needed to hear because here was someone who actually wanted to associate with him and it was for this reason that Levi invited Jesus to his house to meet his friends.

However, it is here that we meet the second group of characters in this story.  And this second group of characters were the religious leaders of Jesus’ day.  It was this second group of people who had a problem with Jesus’ actions, because you see Jesus took Levi up on his invitation to meet his friends.  And it was this action that made the religious leaders of Jesus’ day so upset.  For you see they thought they could change people by simply preaching at them and NOT MEETING THEIR NEEDS.  They had completely forgotten that actions speak louder than words.  Which is exactly what Jesus reminded them of when he spoke this words to them, “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

Jesus here was not suggesting that anyone is spiritually right apart from God.  But those who are self-righteous—who view themselves as right in their own mind or by their own standards—will not realize their need for God.  Hope comes to those who recognize and admit their sin, who accept God’s forgiveness through faith in Christ and who receive his gift of spiritual salvation.  Levi/Matthew and his friends were willing to admit their sin and have all their needs met by Jesus, but the religious leaders refused to admit their sins and looked to themselves and their rules to meet their needs.   And that is why the popularity of the religious leaders waned and the popularity of Jesus soared, which is why the religious leaders were always so upset with Jesus.

Tomorrow’s Bible Reading:

Leviticus 5:1-7:27, Mark 3:7-30, Psalm 37:1-11 and Proverbs 10:3-4

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