Luke 5:29

ESV And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them.
NIV Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.
NASB And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them.
CSB Then Levi hosted a grand banquet for him at his house. Now there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were reclining at the table with them.
NLT Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them.
KJV And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.

What does Luke 5:29 mean?

While on the shores of the Sea of Galilee (Mark 2:13), Jesus saw Levi, also called Matthew (Matthew 9:9), who was sitting in his tax collector booth. Tax collectors in that era were locals who took money from their countrymen for the Roman occupiers. They were also allowed to line their own pockets—and many fell into corruption. Instead of confronting Levi for any particular sins, Jesus calls him to be one of His primary disciples. Levi leaves everything and follows (Luke 5:27–28). As new believers often do, he invites his friends and acquaintances to meet his Lord.

In many cultures, to eat with someone is a significant sign of friendship. There's an implied sense of acceptance and peace in the act of sharing a meal. Jesus has already shocked the Pharisees and scribes by claiming to forgive the sins of the man who was paralyzed (Luke 5:17–26). Now, they are disgusted that He eats with those they see as thieving traitors and sinners. Jesus is eroding His reputation among established religious leaders. They find it increasingly difficult to accept Him as a legitimate spiritual authority, despite His ability to perform healing miracles (Luke 5:30).

The people at the feast don't care about disapproval from scribes and Pharisees. They're happy Jesus—empowered by God to heal and expel demons—is willing to be in their sinful presence. Jesus doesn't care about disapproval, either. He hasn't come to gather a group of overly religious legalists who think they are so righteous they don't need Him. He has come to call those who know they are sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32). To do that, He has to be where the sinners are and invite them into fellowship with Him.

The King James Version uses "publican" for "tax collector." The terms mean the same thing.
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