Luke 5:29-30 states, “Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’”
The Pharisees were in shock at the people that Jesus associated with and gathered around a table to share a meal. In fact, these are just the type of people that they’ve been trying to keep at arm’s length and away from the “good people” of the community. The word Pharisee actually means to be separated from; that's the sec they're talking about in the previous passage. This group of Pharisees had pulled themselves away because they considered themselves to be the holy ones and set apart.
In the minds of the Pharisees, everybody else was in the way and messing up their culture. They wanted Jesus to know that these people that he was eating with were not worth his time or energy. But we read in verses 31-31 that Jesus replied to their judgement and questions. “Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’”
Jesus spoke out against many things during his ministry, and one of the things most frequently mentioned by him was pride. These Pharisees were prideful about their rank and position in society and saw themselves as being much more holy and better than the likes of tax collectors. Jesus recognized this pride in their hearts though and challenged their beliefs about who was to be accepted and valued. Levi, on the otherhand, was getting his friends and acquitances to Jesus, no matter who their standing in society.
Discussion/Reflection Question: When in your life have you acted like a Pharisee and let your pride convince you that you were above someone else?