Luke 5:28

ESV And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
NIV and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
NASB And he left everything behind, and got up and began following Him.
CSB So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow him.
NLT So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.
KJV And he left all, rose up, and followed him.

What does Luke 5:28 mean?

Levi the tax collector has been called by Jesus. Levi's job is to take money from the people in his city and give it to the Romans. If he can, he is free to take more money for himself. Not all tax collectors were brazenly corrupt, but many were. From the Israelite mindset, Levi was helping the Romans pay for their occupation with the money of their victims, while stealing from his countrymen for his own salary.

But when Jesus calls him, Levi responds with no hesitation. John the Baptist has already given tax collectors a path for reconciliation, saying, "Collect no more than you are authorized to do" (Luke 3:13). He didn't tell them their job was sinful; he told them to do their job in a non-sinful way.

Later, the chief tax collector Zacchaeus will not only repent, but he'll also give restitution as demanded in the Mosaic law (Exodus 22:1; Luke 19:1–9). He comes to value forgiveness and a right relationship with God more than worldly treasure. The rich ruler, however, hopes that being nice to other people will hide the fact he loves his money more than God (Luke 18:18–24).

We don't know if Levi was in the habit of extorting his fellow men, or if he restored anything taken unfairly. What we do know is that he leaves everything for Jesus. He then invites his friends—tax collectors and sinners—to eat with Jesus. In a similar way to how the healed paralytic praised God and inspired others to join him (Luke 5:25–26), Levi's repentance invites the repentance of others (Luke 5:31–32).
What is the Gospel?
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