And again he entered into Capernaum, after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.
1. And entering into a ship, he passed over, and came into his own city. 2. And, lo, they brought to him a paralytic lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, Take courage, my son, thy sins are forgiven thee. 3. And, lo, some of the scribes said among themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4. And when Jesus saw their thoughts, he said, Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5. For whether is it easier to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6. But that you may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth to forgive sins, (then he saith to the paralytic,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go away to thy house. 7. And he arose, and went away to his house. 8. And the multitudes who saw it wondered, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
1. And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was reported that he was in the house. 2. And immediately many were assembled, so that the places which were around the door did not now contain them, and he preached the word to them. 3. And they come to him, bringing a paralytic, who was carried by four persons. 4. And when they could not approach him on account of the crowd, they uncovered the roof of the house in which he was, and having made an opening in the roof, they lower the couch on which the paralytic lay. 5. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, Son, thy sins are forgiven thee. 6. And some of the scribes were sitting there, and thinking  in their hearts, 7. Why does this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone? 8. And immediately when Jesus knew by his Spirit that they thought thus within themselves, he said to them, Why do you think those things in your hearts? 9. Whether it is easier to say to the paralytic, Thy sins are forgiven thee; or to say, Rise, and take up thy bed, and walk? 10. But that you may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the paralytic,) 11. I say to thee, Arise, take up thy bed, and go away to thy house. 12. And immediately he arose, and having taken up the bed, went out in the presence of all, so that all were astonished, and glorified God, saying, We never saw such a thing.
17. And it happened on a certain day, and he was teaching: and Pharisees and doctors of the law were sitting, who had come out of every village of Galilee and Judea, and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. 18. And, lo, men carrying on a bed, a man who was a paralytic, and they sought to bring him in, and to place him before him. 19. And not finding a way by which they could bring him in on account of the crowd, they went up to the roof, and lowered him by cords with the bed into the midst before Jesus. 20. And when he saw their faith, he said to him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. 21. And the scribes and Pharisees began to think, saying, Who is this that speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone? 22. And when Jesus knew their thoughts, he answering said to them, What do you think in your hearts? 23. Whether it is easier to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee, or to say, Arise, and walk? 24. But that you may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth, (he saith to the paralytic,) I say to thee, Arise, take up thy bed, and go to thy house. 25. And immediately rising up before them, he took up the bed on which he had been lying, and went away to his own house, glorifying God. 26. And amazement seized all, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen incredible things today.
Matthew 9:1. And came into his own city. This passage shows, that Capernaum was generally believed to be the birth-place of Christ, because his visits to it were frequent: for there is no room to doubt, that it is the same history which is related by the three Evangelists, though some circumstances may be more exactly related by one of them than by another. Luke says that scribes had come from various parts of Judea, who were spectators when Christ healed the paralytic; and at the same time states indirectly, that there were others who also received healing through the grace of Christ. For, before he comes to the paralytic, he speaks in the plural number, and says, that the power of God was displayed for healing their diseases; the power of the Lord was present to heal them The glory of this miracle was very remarkable. A man destitute of the use of all his limbs, lying on a bed, and lowered by cords, suddenly rises up in health, vigor, and agility. Another special reason why the Evangelists dwell more on this miracle than on others is, that the scribes were offended at Christ for claiming power and authority to forgive sins; while Christ intended to confirm and seal that authority by a visible sign.
2. And when Jesus saw their faith. It is God alone, indeed, who knows faith: but they had given evidence of faith by the laboriousness of that attempt: for they would never have submitted to so much trouble, nor contended with such formidable hindrances, if they had not derived courage from entire confidence of success. The fruit of their faith appeared in their not being wearied out, when they found the entrance closed up on all sides. The view which some take of these words, that Christ, as a divine person, knew their faith, which lay concealed within them, appears to me a forced interpretation.
Now, as Christ granted to their faith the favor which he bestowed on the paralytic, a question is usually raised on this passage how far do men derive advantage from the faith of others? And, first, it is certain, that the faith of Abraham was of advantage to his posterity, when he embraced the free covenant offered to him and to his seed. We must hold a similar belief with regard to all believers, that, by their faith, the grace of God is extended to their children and their children's children even before they are born. The same thing takes place in infants, who are not yet of such an age as to be capable of faith. With regard to adults, on the other hand, who have no faith of their own, (whether they be strangers, or allied by blood,) the faith of others can have nothing more than an indirect influence in promoting the eternal salvation of their souls. As the prayers, by which we ask that God will turn unbelievers to repentance, are not without advantage, our faith is evidently of such advantage to them, that they do not arrive at salvation, till they have been made partakers of the same faith with us in answer to our prayers. But where there is a mutual agreement in faith, it is well known that they promote the salvation of each other. It is also beyond all question, that earthly blessings are often, for the sake of the godly, bestowed on unbelievers.
With regard to the present passage, though Christ is said to have been moved by the faith of others, yet the paralytic could not have obtained the forgiveness of his sins, if he had had no faith of his own. Unworthy persons were often restored by Christ to health of body, as God daily maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, (Matthew 5:45) but there is no other way in which he is reconciled to us than by faith. There is a synecdoche, therefore, in the word their, when it is said that Jesus saw their faith: for Christ not only looked at those who brought the paralytic, but looked also at his faith.
Thy sins are forgiven thee. Christ appears here to promise to the paralytic something different from what he had requested: but, as he intends to bestow health of body, he begins with removing the cause of the disease, and at the same time reminds the paralytic of the origin of his disease, and of the manner in which he ought to arrange his prayers. As men usually do not consider that the afflictions which they endure are God's chastisements, they desire nothing more than some alleviation in the flesh, and, in the meantime, feel no concern about their sins: just as if a sick man were to disregard his disease, and to seek only relief from present pain.  But the only way of obtaining deliverance from all evils is to have God reconciled to us. It does sometimes happen, that wicked men are freed from their distresses, while God is still their enemy: but when they think that they have completely escaped, the same evils immediately return, or more numerous and heavier calamities overwhelm them, which make it manifest that they will not be mitigated or terminated. until the wrath of God shall be appeased, as God declares by the Prophet Amos
If thou escape a lion, a bear shall meet thee;
Thus it appears that this is a frequent and ordinary way of speaking in the Scriptures, to promise the pardon of sins, when the mitigation of punishments is sought. It is proper to attend to this order in our prayers. When the feeling of afflictions reminds us of our sins, let us first of all be careful to obtain pardon, that, when God is reconciled to us, he may withdraw his hand from punishing.
3. And, lo, some of the scribes They accuse Christ of blasphemy and sacrilege, because he claims for himself what is God's prerogative. The other two Evangelists tell us also that they said, Who can forgive sins but God alone? It is beyond all question, that their eagerness to slander drove them to this wicked conclusion. If they think that there is any thing which deserves blame, why do they not inquire into it?  Besides, as the expression admits of more than one meaning, and as Christ said nothing more than what the Prophets frequently say when they announce the grace of God, why do they take in a bad sense what admits of a favorable interpretation? They must have been already poisoned by malice and envy, otherwise they would not so eagerly have seized an occasion of blaming Christ. They remain silent, but think in their hearts, that they may slander him when absent among people of their own class. It is no doubt true, that God alone has power and authority to forgive sins: but they are wrong in concluding that it does not belong to Christ, for he is God manifested in the flesh, (1 Timothy 3:16.) They had a right to inquire on what grounds Christ laid claim to such authority: but, without any inquiry, they suppose him to be one of the common rank of men, and proceed rashly to condemn him.
4. And when Jesus saw their thoughts He now gives a proof of his Divinity in bringing to light their secret thoughts: for who knoweth the things of a man but the spirit of man which is in him? (1 Corinthians 2:11.) And so Mark adds, that Jesus knew by his Spirit: which means, that what was concealed in their hearts could not be perceived by man, but that Christ by his Divine Spirit knew it thoroughly. Why do you think evil? This does not imply that it gave them pain to see a mortal man assuming what God claims as his own prerogative, but that they proudly and wickedly rejected God, who was openly manifested to them.
5. Whether is it easier to say? The meaning is, that, as it is not easier to quicken by a word a body which is nearly dead than to forgive sins, there is no reason to wonder that he forgives sins, when he has accomplished the other. The argument which our Lord uses may appear to be not well-founded: for, in proportion as the soul is more excellent than the body, the forgiveness of sins is a greater work than the healing of the body. But the reply is easy. Christ adapts his discourse to their capacity: for, being carnal, they were more powerfully affected by outward signs, than by all the spiritual power of Christ, which related to eternal salvation. Thus he proves the efficacy of the Gospel for quickening men from the fact, that at the last day he will raise the dead by his voice out of their graves.
Wonder not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all who are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth,
This was a sufficiently powerful argument to refute those who reckoned a visible miracle of more importance than all things else. They could not say that he had no right to forgive the sins of the paralytic, when he restored to him health and rigour: for this was a result which followed from the forgiveness of sins.
6. That the Son of man hath authority on earth. This authority is very different from what was given to the apostles, and from what is now exercised by the pastors of the Church: for they cannot so properly be said to pardon sins, as to declare that they are pardoned, when they deliver the commission which is entrusted to them. By these words Christ declares that he is not only the minister and witness, but likewise the author, of this grace. But what means this restriction, on earth? Of what avail will it be to us to have obtained pardon here, if it be not ratified in heaven? Christ's meaning was, that forgiveness of sins ought not to be sought from a distance: for he exhibits it to men in his own person, and as it were in his hands. So strong is our inclination to distrust, that we never venture to believe that God is merciful to us, till he draws near, and speaks familiarly to us. Now, as Christ descended to earth for the purpose of exhibiting to men the grace of God as present, he is said to forgive sins visibly, because in him and by him the will of God was revealed which, according to the perception of the flesh, had been formerly hidden above the clouds.
8. And the multitudes who saw Instead of astonishment which Matthew mentions,  the other two Evangelists employ the word ekstasis, or amazement: and Luke adds fear But the design of all the Evangelists is to show, that the power of God was not merely acknowledged, but that all were struck with astonishment, and compelled to give glory to God. The fear, which followed the astonishment, had the effect of preventing them from opposing Christ, and of making them submit to him with reverence as a Prophet of God. Matthew expressly says, that they glorified God, who had given such authority to men Here they appear to be partly mistaken: for, though they see a man with their eyes, they ought to have perceived in him, by the mind, something higher than man. They are no doubt right in saying, that the nature of man received great honor in Christ for the general advantage of the human race: but as they do not perceive him to be God manifested in the flesh, (1 Timothy 3:6,) their confession is involved in some error.  In a word, it was true, that God gave such authority to men: but the form and manner of giving was not yet understood by those who were not aware that the majesty of God was united to flesh.
 "Et disputoyent en leurs coeurs;" -- "and were disputing in their hearts."
 "Cherchoik seulement remede a la douleur presente, qui n'est qu'un accident particulier de son mal;" -- "sought only a remedy for the present pain, which is but a particular accident of his disease."
 "s'ils pensent qu'il y ait quelque chose digne de reprendre aux paroles de Christ, que ne parlent-ils a luy pour en avoir resolution?" -- "If they think that there is any thing worthy of blame in the words of Christ, why do they not speak to him to have it explained?"
 It is remarkable that all the Latin editions which I have examined, -- the highly and justly celebrated Amsterdam edition, two Geneva editions, and Tholuck's, -- give the reading, "cujus meminit Lucas," which Luke mentions, instead of "cujus meminit Matthoeus," which Matthew mentions, as the sense would have required. Matthew says, ethaumasan, they wondered, or were astonished Mark uses a part of the verb existamai hoste existasthai pantas,, so that all were amazed; and Luke uses the cognate noun, kai ekstasis elabn hapanatas and amazement seized all Still, the blunder must have been a slip of Calvin's pen, and would have been permitted to remain in the text, if there had not been express authority for the alteration in his own French version. -- Ed.
 "De quelque erreur et ignorance;" -- "in some error and ignorance."
And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?
Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.
And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.
And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them.
9. And Jesus, passing on, saw a man sitting at the custom-house, named Matthew, and saith to him, Follow me. And he arose and followed  him. 10. And it happened that he was reclining in that man's house, and, lo, many publicans and sinners who had come, reclined together with Jesus and his disciples. 11. And the Pharisees, when they saw it, said to his disciples, Why does your Master eat with publicans and sinners? 12. But Jesus, when he had heard it, said to them, Not they who are in health have need of a physician, but they who are diseased. 13. But rather go, and learn what that means, I wish mercyh, and not sacrifice: for I came not to call righteous persons, but sinners, to repentance.
13. And he departed again towards the sea, and the whole multitude came to him, and he taught them. 14. And while Jesus was passing along, he saw Levi, the son of Alpheus, sitting at the custom-house, and said to him, Follow me: and he arose and followed him. 15. And it happened, while he was reclining in that man's house, many publicans and sinners  also reclined along with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many who followed him. 16. And the scribes and Pharisees, when they saw him taking food with publicans and sinners, said to his disciples, Why is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 17. Jesus, having heard this, saith to them, Not they who are in health have need of a physician, but they who are diseased. I came not to call righteous persons, but sinners to repentance.
27. And after these things he went out, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the custom-house, and said to him, Follow me. 28. And he left all, and followed him.  29. And Levi made him a great banquet in his house; and there was a great multitude of publicans and others, who reclined with them. 30. And the scribes and Pharisees  murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do you eat and drink with publicans and sinners? 31. And Jesus answering said to them, Not they who are in health need a physician, but they who are diseased. 32. I came not to call righteous persons, but sinners, to repentance.
Matthew 9:9. Jesus saw a man sitting at the customhouse. The custom-house has usually been a place noted for plundering and for unjust exactions, and was at that time particularly infamous. In the choice of Matthew out of that place, not only to be admitted into the family of Christ, but even to be called to the office of Apostle, we have a striking instance of the grace of God. It was the intention of Christ to choose simple and ignorant persons to that rank, in order to cast down the wisdom of the world, (1 Corinthians 2:6.) But this publican, who followed an occupation little esteemed and involved in many abuses, was selected for additional reasons, that he might be an example of Christ's undeserved goodness, and might show in his person that the calling of all of us depends, not on the merits of our own righteousness, but on his pure kindness. Matthew, therefore, was not only a witness and preacher, but was also a proof and illustration of the grace exhibited in Christ. he gives evidence of his gratitude in not being ashamed to hand down for perpetual remembrance the record of what he formerly was, and whence he was taken, that he might more fully illustrate in his person the grace of Christ. In the same manner Paul says:
This is a faithful saying, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief, (1 Timothy 1:15.)
As to Mark and Luke calling him Levi, it appears that this was his ordinary name:  but that his being a publican was the reason why he took a foreign name.
Follow me There is no reason to doubt that Christ explained in many words why he was called, and on what conditions. This is more fully ascertained from Luke, who says, that he left all, rose up, and followed Christ: for it would not have been necessary for him to leave all, if he had not been a private disciple of Christ, and called in expectation of the Apostleship. In the great readiness and eagerness of Matthew to obey, we see the Divine power of the word of Christ. Not that all in whose ears he utters his voice are equally affected in their hearts: but in this man Christ intended to give a remarkable example, that we might know that his calling was not from man. 
Luke 5:29. And Levi made him a great banquet This appears to be at variance with what Luke relates, that he left all: but the solution is easy. Matthew disregarded every hinderance, and gave up himself entirely to Christ, but yet did not abandon the charge of his own domestic affairs. When Paul, referring to the example of soldiers, exhorts the ministers of the word to be free and disentangled from every hinderance, and to devote their labors to the church, he says:
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of life, that he may please the commander, (2 Timothy 2:4.)
He certainly does not mean, that those who enroll themselves in the military profession divorce their wives, forsake their children, and entirely desert their homes; but that they quit their homes for a time, and leave behind them every care, that they may be wholly employed in war. In the same manner, nothing kept Matthew from following where Christ called; and yet he freely used both his house and his property, as far as the nature of his calling allowed. It was necessary, indeed, that he should leave the custom-house: for, had he been detained there, he would not have been a follower of Christ. 
It is called a great banquet, with reference not to the multitude of the guests, but to the abundance and magnificence of the provisions: for we know that Christ did not practise such austerity, as not to allow himself to be sometimes entertained more splendidly by the rich, provided that there were no superfluity. Yet we cannot doubt that, as he was a remarkable example of temperance, so he exhorted those who entertained him to frugality and moderation in diet, and would never have endured wasteful and extravagant luxuries. Matthew says that sinners--that is, men of wicked lives and of infamous character--came to the banquet. The reason was, that the publicans, being themselves generally hated and despised, did not disdain to associate with persons of that description; for, as moderate correction produces shame and humiliation in transgressors, so excessive severity drives some persons to despair, makes them leave off all shame, and abandon themselves to wickedness. In levying custom or taxes there was nothing wrong: but when the publicans saw themselves cast off as ungodly and detestable persons, they sought consolation in the society of those who did not despise them on account of the bad and disgraceful reputation which they shared along with them. Meanwhile, they mixed with adulterers, drunkards, and such characters; whose crimes they would have detested, and whom they would not have resembled, had not the public hatred and detestation driven them to that necessity.
Matthew 9:11. Why does your Master eat with publicans and sinners? The scribes attack the disciples of Christ, and, with the view of soliciting them to revolt, reproach him with what was at first sight base and shameful." Of what use was it that he should be their Master, if it were not to withdraw them from the majority of men to lead a holier life? On the contrary, he withdrew them from a respectable and passable condition in life to ungodly licentiousness, and to pollute themselves by wicked companions." Ignorant and wavering disciples might have been induced by such reproaches to desert their Master. But they act properly when, not finding themselves sufficiently fortified against such a calumny, they carry their complaint to their Master: for Christ, by opposing the scribes, confirms his disciples for the future.
12. Not they who are in health need a physician It is evident from Christ's reply that the scribes erred in two ways: they did not take into account the office of Christ; and, while they spared their own vices, they proudly despised all others. This deserves our particular attention, for it is a disease which has been always very general. Hypocrites, being satisfied and intoxicated with a foolish confidence in their own righteousness, do not consider the purpose for which Christ was sent into the world, and do not acknowledge the depth of evils in which the human race is plunged, or the dreadful wrath and curse of God which lies on all, or the accumulated load of vices which weighs them down.
The consequence is, that they are too stupid to feel the miseries of men, or to think of a remedy. While they flatter themselves, they cannot endure to be placed in their own rank, and think that injustice is done them, when they are classed with transgressors. Our Lord glances at this second error by replying, that they who are in health have no need of a physician It is an ironical admission,  and is intended to show that they are offended when they see sinners, because they claim righteousness for themselves. Because you are in health, (he says,) you despise the sick, are offended at them, and cannot endure the sight of them: but a physician ought to be affected in a very different manner. He afterwards points out that he must discharge the duties of a physician, because he has been sent by the Father to call sinners
Though Christ begins with reproof, yet if we desire to make progress in his doctrine, what he has put in the second place must receive our first consideration. He came to quicken the dead, to justify the guilty and condemned, to wash those who were polluted and full of uncleanness, to rescue the lost from hell, to clothe with his glory those who were covered with shame, to renew to a blessed immortality those who were debased by disgusting vices. If we consider that this was his office and the end of his coming, -- if we remember that this was the reason why he took upon him our flesh, why he shed his blood, why he offered the sacrifice of his death, why he descended even to hell, we will never think it strange that he should gather to salvation those who have been the worst of men, and who have been covered with a mass of crimes.
He whom you detest appears to you to be unworthy of the grace of Christ. Why then was Christ himself made a sacrifice and a curse, but that he might stretch out his hand to accursed sinners? Now, if we feel disgust at being associated by Baptism and the Lord's Supper with vile men, and regard our connection with them as a sort of stain upon us, we ought immediately to descend into ourselves, and to search without flattery our own evils. Such an examination will make us willingly allow ourselves to be washed in the same fountain with the most impure, and will hinder us from rejecting the righteousness which he offers indiscriminately to all the ungodly, the life which he offers to the dead, and the salvation which he offers to the lost.
13. But rather go and learn He dismisses and orders them to depart, because he saw that they were obstinate and unwilling to learn. Or rather he explains to them, that they are contending with God and the Prophet, when, in pride and cruelty, they are offended at relief which is given to the wretched, and at medicine which is administered to the sick. This quotation is made from Hosea 6:6:
For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice;
The subject of the prophet's discourse had been the vengeance of God against the Jews. That they might not excuse themselves by saying that they were performing the outward worship of God, (as they were wont to boast in a careless manner about their ceremonies,) he declares that God has no delight in sacrifices, when their minds are destitute of piety, and when their conduct is at variance with uprightness and righteousness. That the statement, I desired not sacrifice, must be understood comparatively, is evident from the second clause, that the knowledge of God is better than burnt-offerings By these words he does not absolutely reject burnt-offerings, but places them in a rank inferior to piety and faith. We ought to hold, that faith and spiritual worship are in themselves pleasing to God, and that charity and the duties of humanity towards our neighbors are in themselves required; but that sacrifices are but appendages, so to speak, which are of no value or estimation, where substantial truth is not found. On this subject I have treated more fully at the tenth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. It ought to be observed that there is a synecdoche in the word mercy: for under one head the prophet embraces all the kindness which we owe to our brethren.
For I came not Though this was spoken for the purpose of reproving the pride and hypocrisy of the scribes, yet it contains, in a general form, a very profitable doctrine. We are reminded that the grace of Christ is of no advantage to us, unless when, conscious of our sins, and groaning under their load, we approach to him with humility. There is also something here which is fitted to elevate weak consciences to a firm assurance: for we have no reason to fear that Christ will reject sinners, to call whom he descended from his heavenly glory. But we must also attend to the expression, to repentance: which is intended to inform us that pardon is granted to us, not to cherish our sins, but to recall us to the earnestness of a devout and holy life. He reconciles us to the Father on this condition, that, being redeemed by his blood, we may present ourselves true sacrifices, as Paul tells us:
The grace of God, which bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, and righteously, and devoutly in this world, (Titus 2:11,12.)
 "Surgens assequutus est;" -- "rising followed."
 "Gens de mauvaise vie;" -- "people of bad life."
 There is nothing here answering to anastas, rising up But the omission must have been accidental: for the French version runs thus: "lequel se levant, abandonna tout, et suivit;" -- "who, rising up, forsook all, and followed." -- Ed.
 "Et ceux d'entre eux qui estoyent scribes et Pharisiens;" --"and those among them who were scribes and Pharisees."
 "Il est aise a voir que c'estoit son droit nom par lequel les gens du pays l'appeloyent;" -- "it is easy to see that it was his right name, by which the people of the country called him."
 "Qu'il n'a pas este appele par un moyen procedant de l'homme;" -- "that he was not called by a method proceeding from man."
 "Pource qu'ayant cest empeschement, il n'eust pas peu suivre la compagnie de Christ;" -- "because, having that hinderance, he could not have followed the company of Christ."
 "C'est une concession par ironie, (c'est a dire, moquerie;")--"it is an admission made in irony, (that is, in ridicule.")
And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.
And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.
And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?
14. Then come to him the disciples of John, saying, For what reason do we and the Pharisees fast often, while thy disciples do not fast? 15. And Jesus said to them, Can the children of the bridegroom  mourn, so long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. 16. And no man putteth a piece of fresh cloth on an old garment: for that which fills up takes from the garment, and the rent is made worse. 17. Nor do they put new wine into old bottles; otherwise the bottles burst, and the wine is spilt, and the bottles are lost: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are at the same time preserved.
18. And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees were in the habit of fasting; and they come and say to him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, and thy disciples do not fast? 19. And Jesus saith to them, Can the children of the nuptial bed  fast, while the bridegroom is with them? So long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast in those days. 21. And no person seweth a piece of fresh cloth on an old garment: otherwise the new addition taketh from the old, and the rent is made worse. 22. And no person putteth new wine into old bottles; otherwise the new wine bursts the bottles, and the wine is spilt, and the bottles are lost: but new wine must be put into new bottles.
33. And they said to him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and in the same manner the disciples of the Pharisees, while thine eat and drink? 34. To whom he saith, Can you make the children of the marriage bed to fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35. But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them: then shall they fast in those days. 36. And he spoke a parable to them: No person putteth a piece of a new garment on an old garment; otherwise what is new is torn, and what is added of the new agreeth not with the old. 37. And no person putteth new wine into old bottles: otherwise the new wine will burst the bottles, and will be spilt, and the bottles will be lost. 38. But new wine must be put into new bottles, and both are preserved. 39. And no person who has drunk old wine immediately desires the new: for he saith, The old is better.
Matthew 9:14. Then come to him the disciples of John. Luke represents the Pharisees as speaking: Mark appears to connect both. And, indeed, there is no room to doubt that the Pharisees maliciously endeavored, by this stratagem, to draw the disciples of John to their party, and to produce a quarrel between them and the disciples of Christ. A resemblance in prayers and fastings was a plausible pretext for associating at this time: while the different manner in which Christ acted was an occasion of enmity and dislike to men whose temper was unamiable, and who were excessively devoted to themselves.
This example reminds us, that prudence and caution are necessary to prevent wicked and cunning men from sowing divisions among us on any slight grounds. Satan has a wonderful dexterity, no doubt, in laying those snares; and it is an easy matter to distress us about a trifle.  But we ought especially to beware lest the unity of faith be destroyed, or the bond of charity broken, on account of outward ceremonies. Almost all labor under the disease of attaching undue importance to the ceremonies and elements of the world, as Paul calls them, (Galatians 4:3; Colossians 2:8;) and accordingly they do not hesitate, for the most part, to prefer the merest rudiments to the highest perfection. This is followed by another evil arising out of fastidiousness and pride, when every man would willingly compel the whole world to copy his example. If any thing pleases us, we forthwith desire to make it a law, that others may live according to our pleasure.
When we read that the disciples of John were caught by these snares of Satan, let us first learn not to place holiness in outward and indifferent matters, and at the same time to restrain ourselves by moderation and equity, that we may not desire to restrict others to what we approve, but may allow every one to retain his freedom. As to fasting and prayers, it ought to be understood, that John gave his disciples a particular training, and that for this purpose they had stated days for fastings, a settled form, and fixed hours of prayer. Now, I reckon those prayers among outward observances. For, though calling on God holds the first rank in spiritual worship, yet that method of doing it was adapted to the unskilfulness of men, and is justly reckoned among ceremonies and indifferent matters, the observance of which ought not to be too strictly enjoined. Of the reason why John's discipline was more severe than that of Christ we have already spoken, and a more convenient opportunity for treating of it will again occur.
15. Can the children of the bridegroom mourn? Christ apologizes for his disciples on the score of the season, alleging that God was still pleased to indulge them in joyous feelings, as if they were present at a marriage: for he compares himself to the bridegroom, who enlivens his friends by his presence. Chrysostom thinks that this comparison was taken from the testimony of John the Baptist, He that hath the bride is the bridegroom, (John 3:29.) I have no objection to that view, though I do not think that it rests on solid grounds. Let us be satisfied with Christ's declaration, that he spares his disciples, and treats them with gentleness, so long as he is with them. That none may envy them advantages which are of short duration, he gives warning that they will very soon be treated with greater harshness and severity.
The apology rests on this consideration, that fasting and prayers are adapted to sorrow and adversity: extraordinary prayers I mean, such as are here mentioned. Christ certainly intended to accustom them, by degrees, to greater patience, and not to lay on them a heavy burden, till they gained more strength. Hence we ought to learn a twofold instruction. When the Lord sometimes endures the weakness of our brethren, and acts towards them with gentleness, while he treats us with greater severity, we have no right to murmur. Again, when we sometimes obtain relief from sorrow and from vexations, let us beware of giving ourselves up to enjoyments; but let us, on the contrary, remember that the nuptials will not always last. The children of the bridegroom, or of the nuptial bed, is a Hebrew phrase, which denotes the guests at a marriage. 
16. And no man putteth a piece of fresh cloth. He supports the preceding statement by two comparisons, one of which is taken from garments, and the other from vessels of wine Those who think that he compares worn-out garments and decayed bottles to the Pharisees, and new wine and fresh cloth to the doctrine of the gospel, have no probability on their side. The comparison is beautifully adapted to the matter in hand, if we explain it as referring to the weak and tender disciples of Christ, and to a discipline more strict than they were able to bear. Nor is it of any consequence that the idea of being old does not agree with scholars who were only commencing: for, when Christ compares his disciples to old bottles and torn garments, he does not mean that they were wasted by long use, but that they were weak and wanted strength. The amount of the statement is, that all must not be compelled indiscriminately to live in the same manner, for there is a diversity of natural character, and all things are not suitable to all; and particularly, we ought to spare the weak, that they may not be broken by violence, or crushed by the weight of the burden. Our Lord speaks according to the custom of the country, when he uses the word bottles instead of tuns or casks 
Luke 5:39. And no person who has drunk old wine. This statement is given by Luke alone, and is undoubtedly connected with the preceding discourse. Though commentators have tortured it in a variety of ways, I take it simply as a warning to the Pharisees not to attach undue importance to a received custom. For how comes it that wine, the taste of which remains unaltered, is not equally agreeable to every palate, but because custom and habit form the taste? Hence it follows, that Christ's manner of acting towards his disciples is not less worthy of approbation, because it has less show and splendor: as old wine, though it does not foam with the sharpness of new wine, is not less agreeable on that account, or less fitted for the nourishment of the body.
 "Filii sponsi." -- "Les gens de la chambre du marie peuvent ils mener dueil, pendant que le marie est avec eux?" -- "Can the children of the married man's chamber be in mourning, while the married man is with them?"
 "Les gens de nopces;" -- "the marriage party."
 "Pour des choses qui ne valent pas le parler;" -- "for things that are not worth talking about."
 "Les fils de l'espoux, (comme il y a en tournant de mot a mot,) par une facon de parler des Hebrieux signifient ceux qui sont appelez au banquet des nopces." -- "The children of the bridegroom, (as the words may be literally rendered,) by a mode of speaking among the Hebrews, denote those who were invited to the marriage banquet."
 "Au reste, le mot Grec dont use l'Evangeliste signifie proprement des vaisseaux faits de cuir, desquels on usoit pour mettre le vin: comme au- jourdhui nous avons des muids ou des pipes." -- "Besides, the Greek word, which the Evangelist employs, literally signifies vessels made of leather,which were used for containing wine: as in the present day we have hogsheads or butts "
And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.
And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.
And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.
1. At that time Jesus was passing through the corn-fields on the Sabbath;  and his disciples were hungry, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. 2. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, Lo, thy disciples do what it is not lawful to do on the Sabbath. 3. But he said to them, Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him? 4. How he entered into the house of God, and ate the shew-bread, which it was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but for the priests alone? 5. Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the temple, and are free from blame?  6. But I say to you, That one greater than the temple is in this place. 7. But if you knew what that is, I choose mercy, and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent. 8. For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath.
23. And it happened, that he was passing through the corn-fields, and his disciples began to pluck the ears of corn as they went along. 24. And the Pharisees said to him, Lo, why do they on the Sabbath what is not lawful? 25. And he said to them, Have you not read what David did, when he had need, and was hungry, and those who were with him? 26. How he entered into the house of God in the time of Abiathar, the high-priest, and ate the shew-bread, which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also  to those who were with him? 27. And he said to them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28. Therefore the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath.
1. And it happened that, on the second-first Sabbath, he was passing through the cornfields; and his disciples were plucking ears of corn, and were eating, rubbing them in their hands. 2. And some of the Pharisees said to them, Why do you do what it is not lawful to do on the Sabbath? 3. And Jesus answering saith to them, Have you not read even this which David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him? 4. How he entered into the house of God, and took the shew-bread, and ate it, and gave also to those who were with him, which it is not lawful to eat but only for the priests? 5. And he said to them, The Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath.
Matthew 12:1. Jesus was walking on the Sabbath It was the design of the Evangelists, in this history, to show partly what a malicious disposition the Pharisees had, and partly how superstitiously they were attached to outward and slight matters, so as to make holiness to consist in them entirely. They blame the disciples of Christ for plucking the ears of corn on the Sabbath, during their journey, when they were pressed with hunger, as if, by so doing, they were violating the Sabbath. The keeping of the Sabbath was, indeed, a holy thing, but not such a manner of keeping it as they imagined, so that one could scarcely move a finger without making the conscience to tremble.  It was hypocrisy, therefore, that made them so exact in trifling matters, while they spared themselves in gross superstitions; as Christ elsewhere upbraids them with
paying tithe of mint and anise, and neglecting the
It is the invariable practice of hypocrites to allow themselves liberty in matters of the greatest consequence, and to pay close attention to ceremonial observances. Another reason why they demand that outward rites should be more rigorously observed is, that they wish to make their duty toward God to consist only in carnal worship. But it was malevolence and envy, still more than superstition, that led them to this act of censure; for towards others they would not have been equally stern. It is proper for us to observe the feelings by which they were animated, lest any one should be distressed by the fact, that the very Doctors of the Law were so hostile to Christ.
Luke 6:1. On the second-first Sabbath It is beyond all question that this Sabbath belonged to some one of the festival-days which the Law enjoined to be observed once every year. Some have thought that there were two festival-days in immediate succession; but as the Jews had arranged their festival-days after the Babylonish captivity so that one day always intervened between them, that opinion is set aside. Others maintain with greater probability, that it was the last day of the solemnity, which was as numerously attended as the first. I am more inclined to favor those who understand by it the second festivity in the year; and this agrees exceedingly well with the name given to it, the second-first Sabbath, because, among the great Sabbaths which were annually observed, it was the second in the order of time. Now the first was the Passover, and it is therefore probable that this was the feast of first-fruits, (Exodus 23:15, 16.)
Mark 2:24. Why do they on the Sabbath what is not lawful? The Pharisees do not blame the disciples of Christ for plucking ears of corn from a field that was not their own, but for violating the Sabbath; as if there had been a precept to this effect, that famishing men ought rather to die than to satisfy their hunger. Now the only reason for keeping the Sabbath was, that the people, by sanctifying themselves to God, might be employed in true and spiritual worship; and next, that, being free from all worldly occupations, they might be more at liberty to attend the holy assemblies. The lawful observation of it, therefore, must have a reference to this object; for the Law ought to be interpreted according to the design of the Legislator. But this shows clearly the malicious and implacable nature of superstition, and particularly the proud and cruel dispositions of hypocrites, when ambition is joined to hatred of the person. It was not the mere affectation of pretended holiness, as I have said, that made the Pharisees so stern and rigorous; but as they expressly wished to carp at every thing that Christ said or did, they could not do otherwise than put a wrong meaning in cases where there was nothing to blame, as usually happens with prejudiced interpreters. The accusation was brought--according to Matthew and Mark--against our Lord, and--according to Luke--against his disciples. But there is no inconsistency here; for the disciples were in all probability so harassed, that the charge was directed chiefly against the Master himself. It is even possible that the Pharisees first wrangled with the disciples, and afterwards with Christ, and that, in the rage of their malice, they blamed him for remaining silent, and permitting his disciples to break the Sabbath.
Matthew 12:3. Have you not read what David did? Christ employs five arguments to refute their calumny. First, he apologizes for his disciples by pleading the example of David, (1 Samuel 21:6.) While David was fleeing from the rage of Saul, he applied for provisions to the high-priest Ahimelech; and there being no ordinary food at hand, he succeeded in obtaining a part of the holy bread. If David's necessity excused him, the same argument ought to be admitted in the case of others. Hence it follows, that the ceremonies of the Law are not violated where there is no infringement of godliness.  Now Christ takes for granted, that David was free from blame, because the Holy Spirit bestows commendation on the priest who allowed him to partake of the holy bread. When he says, that it was not lawful to eat that bread but for the priests alone, we must understand him to refer to the ordinary law:
they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them; but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy, (Exodus 29:33.)
If David had attempted to do what was contrary to law, it would have been in vain for Christ to plead his example; for what had been prohibited for a particular end no necessity could make lawful.
5. That on the Sabbaths the priests profane the Sabbath. This is the second argument by which Christ proves that the violation of the Sabbath, of which the Pharisees complained, was free from all blame; because on the Sabbaths it is lawful to slay beasts for sacrifice, to circumcise infants, and to do other things relating to the worship of God. Hence it follows, that the duties of piety are in no degree inconsistent with each other.  But if the temple sanctifies manual operations connected with sacrifices, and with the whole of the outward service, the holiness of the true and spiritual temple has greater efficacy, in exempting its worshippers from all blame, while they are discharging the duties of godliness.  Now the object which the disciples had in view was, to present to God souls which were consecrated by the Gospel.
Matthew alone glances at this argument. When Christ says, that the priests Profane the Sabbath, the expression is not strictly accurate, and is accommodated to his hearers; for when the Law enjoins men to abstain from their employments, it does not forbid them to perform the services of religion. But Christ admits that to be true which might appear to be so in the eye of ignorant persons,  and rests satisfied with proving, that the labors performed in the temple are not offensive to God.
7. But if you knew This Third argument is also mentioned by Matthew alone. Christ conveys an indirect reproof to the Pharisees, for not considering why ceremonies were appointed, and to what object they are directed. This has been a common fault in almost every age; and therefore the prophet Hosea (6:6) exclaims against the men of his own age for being too much attached to ceremonies, and caring little about the duties of kindness. But God declares aloud, that he sets a higher value on mercy than on sacrifice, employing the word mercy, by a figure of speech, for offices of kindness, as sacrifices include the outward service of the Law. This statement Christ applies to his own time, and charges the Pharisees with wickedly torturing the Law of God out of its true meaning, with disregarding the second table, and being entirely occupied with ceremonies.
But a question arises: Why does God declare that he is indifferent about ceremonies, when he strictly enjoined in his Law that they should be observed? The answer is easy. External rites are of no value in themselves, and are demanded by God in so far only as they are directed to their proper object. Besides, God does not absolutely reject them, but, by a comparison with deeds of kindness, pronounces that they are inferior to the latter in actual value. Nor is it inconsistent with this to say, that in the perfection of righteousness the highest rank belongs to the worship of God, and the duties which men owe to each other occupy the second rank. For, though piety is justly reckoned to be as much superior to charity as God is higher than men, yet as believers, by practicing justice towards each other, prove that their service of God is sincere, it is not without reason that this subject is brought under the notice of hypocrites, who imitate piety by outward signs, and yet pervert it by confining their laborious efforts to the carnal worship alone.  From the testimony of the Prophet, Christ justly infers that no blame attaches to his disciples; for while God trained his people in the rudiments of the Law, it was far from being his design to kill wretched men with famine.
8. For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath. Some connect this sentence with a preceding statement, that one greater than the temple is in this place, (ver. 6;) but I look upon them as different. In the former case, Christ, by an allusion to the temple, affirmed that whatever was connected with his personal holiness was not a transgression of the Law; but now, he declares that he has received authority to exempt his followers from the necessity of observing the Sabbath. The Son of man, (he says,) in the exercise of his authority, can relax the Sabbath in the same manner as other legal ceremonies. And certainly out of Christ the bondage of the Law is wretched, from which he alone delivers those on whom he bestows the free Spirit of adoption,  (Romans 8:15.)
Mark 2:27. The Sabbath was made for man. This Fifth argument is related by Mark alone. The general meaning is, that those persons judge amiss who turn to man's destruction,  the Sabbath which God appointed for his benefit. The Pharisees saw the disciples of Christ employed in a holy work; they saw them worn out with the fatigue of the journey, and partly with want of food; and yet are offended that, when they are hungry, they take a few grains of corn for the support of their wearied bodies. Is not this a foolish attempt to overturn the purpose of God, when they demand to the injury of men that observation of the Sabbath which he intended to be advantageous? But they are mistaken, I think, who suppose that in this passage the Sabbath is entirely abolished; for Christ simply informs us what is the proper use of it. Though he asserted, a little before, that he is Lord of the Sabbath, yet the full time for its abolition  was not yet come, because the veil of the temple was not yet rent, (Matthew 27:51.)
 "Un iour du Sabbath;" -- "on a Sabbath-day."
 "Et n'en sont point reprehensibles;" -- "and are not blameable for it."
 "Et en donna aussi;" -- "and gave of it also."
 "Avec tremblement et incertitude de conscience;" -- "with trembling and uncertainty of conscience."
 "Quand on ne derogue rien a la reverence deue, a Dieu;" -- "when nothing is taken away from the reverence that is due to God."
 "Que les exercices de piete ne sont point contraires les uns aux autres, mais s'accordent bien ensemble;" -- "that the exercises of godliness are not opposed to each other, but agree well together."
 "Quand ils s'employent a oeuvres qui tendent a l'honneur de Dieu;" -- "when they are employed in works which tend to the honor of God."
 "Ainsi Christ accorde estre vray, ce qui ne l'est pas de faict, mais qui pourroit sembler l'estre en apparence a gens qui ne scavent pas bien iuger et discerner les choses;" -- "thus Christ admits that to be true which is not so in reality, but which might appear to be so to persons who do not know how to judge and distinguish matters properly."
 "Et cependant neantmoins la renversent et falsifient, s'arrestans au seul service charnel, auquel ils prenent grande peine;" -- "and yet nevertheless overthrow and falsify it, confining themselves to the carnal service alone, on which they bestow great pains."
 "Ausquels il donne l'Esprit d'adoption, qui est l'Esprit de la liberte;" -- "to whom he gives the Spirit of adoption which is the Spirit of liberty."
 "Lesquels convertissent au dommage et a la ruine de l'homme;"-- "who turn to the injury and to the ruin of man."
 "La vraye saison et le temps opportun de l'abolissement d'iceluy;"-- "the true season and appropriate time for the abolition of it."
And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?
And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?
And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.