|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:10-13 Some time after his call, Matthew sought to bring his old associates to hear Christ. He knew by experience what the grace of Christ could do, and would not despair concerning them. Those who are effectually brought to Christ, cannot but desire that others also may be brought to him. Those who suppose their souls to be without disease will not welcome the spiritual Physician. This was the case with the Pharisees; they despised Christ, because they thought themselves whole; but the poor publicans and sinners felt that they wanted instruction and amendment. It is easy, and too common, to put the worst constructions upon the best words and actions. It may justly be suspected that those have not the grace of God themselves, who are not pleased with others' obtaining it. Christ's conversing with sinners is here called mercy; for to promote the conversion of souls is the greatest act of mercy. The gospel call is a call to repentance; a call to us to change our minds, and to change our ways. If the children of men had not been sinners, there had been no need for Christ to come among them. Let us examine whether we have found out our sickness, and have learned to follow the directions of our great Physician.
Verses 10-13. - The feast with publicans and sinners, and Christ's apology. Parallel passages: Mark 2:15-17; Luke 5:29-32. All three evangelists give the essential features of the section, but Mark and Luke show more clearly that the feast was in the house of the new disciple, and Matthew alone gives the reference to Hosea. Verse 10. - And it came to pass, as Jesus (he, Revised Version) sat at meat; "Gr. reclined: and so always" (Revised Version margin); cf. ch. 26:20. In the house; Luke, "And Levi made him a great feast in his house." Whether or not this was the same as the τελώνιον, we have no means of knowing, but presumably it was not. Behold, many publicans (Matthew 5:46, note) and sinners. The second term seems to include all who openly impugned or neglected the Law. It is, therefore, sometimes used with special reference to Gentiles (Matthew 26:45; cf Galatians 2:15). Came and sat down with him (Revised Version, Jesus, emphatic) and his disciples.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house,.... That is, as the Arabic version reads it, in the house of Matthew, not in the toll house, but in his own house; for he immediately quitted the toll booth, and his office there, and followed Christ, and had him to his own house, where he made a great feast for him, as Luke says, to testify the sense he had of the wondrous grace which was bestowed on him; and also, that other publicans and sinners might have an opportunity of hearing Christ, and conversing with him, whom he invited to this feast; his bowels yearning towards them, and sincerely desiring their conversion, which is the nature of true grace: for, when a soul is made a partaker of the grace of God, it is earnestly desirous that this might be the case of others, especially its sinful relations, friends, or companions; and it takes every opportunity of using, or bringing them under the means; so did Matthew: hence it is said,
behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples; not of their own accord, but by the invitation of Matthew, and with the good will, and full consent of Christ, who was far from being displeased with their company and freedom; but gladly embraced every opportunity of doing good to the souls of the worst of men; for such as these he came to call and save.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house—The modesty of our Evangelist signally appears here. Luke says (Lu 5:29) that "Levi made Him a great feast," or "reception," while Matthew merely says, "He sat at meat"; and Mark and Luke say that it was in Levi's "own house," while Matthew merely says, "He sat at meat in the house." Whether this feast was made now, or not till afterwards, is a point of some importance in the order of events, and not agreed among harmonists. The probability is that it did not take place till a considerable time afterwards. For Matthew, who ought surely to know what took place while his Lord was speaking at his own table, tells us that the visit of Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, occurred at that moment (Mt 9:18). But we know from Mark and Luke that this visit of Jairus did not take place till after our Lord's return, at a later period from the country of the Gadarenes. (See Mr 5:21, &c., and Lu 8:40, &c.). We conclude, therefore, that the feast was not made in the novelty of his discipleship, but after Matthew had had time to be somewhat established in the faith; when returning to Capernaum, his compassion for old friends, of his own calling and character, led him to gather them together that they might have an opportunity of hearing the gracious words which proceeded out of His Master's mouth, if haply they might experience a like change.
behold, many publicans and sinners—Luke says, "a great company" (Lu 5:29)
came and sat down with him and his disciples—In all such cases the word rendered "sat" is "reclined," in allusion to the ancient mode of lying on couches at meals.
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