Luke 5:32
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
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(32) I came not.—Strictly, I have not come.

But sinners to repentance.—In the best MSS. the last word is added by St. Luke only. One MS. (the Sinaitic) has the remarkable various-reading “the ungodly” for “sinners,” as if from a recollection of Romans 5:6-7.

5:27-39 It was a wonder of Christ's grace, that he would call a publican to be his disciple and follower. It was a wonder of his grace, that the call was made so effectual. It was a wonder of his grace, that he came to call sinners to repentance, and to assure them of pardon. It was a wonder of his grace, that he so patiently bore the contradiction of sinners against himself and his disciples. It was a wonder of his grace, that he fixed the services of his disciples according to their strength and standing. The Lord trains up his people gradually for the trials allotted them; we should copy his example in dealing with the weak in faith, or the tempted believer.Made him a great feast - This circumstance "Matthew," or "Levi" as he is here called, has omitted in his own gospel. This fact shows how little inclined the evangelists are to say anything in favor of themselves or to praise themselves. True religion does not seek to commend itself, or to speak of what it does, even when it is done for the Son of God. It seeks retirement; it delights rather in the consciousness of doing well than in its being known; and it leaves its good deeds to be spoken of, if spoken of at all, by others. This is agreeable to the direction of Solomon Proverbs 27:2; "Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth." This feast was made expressly for our Lord, and was attended by many publicans, probably people of wicked character; and it is not improbable that Matthew got them together for the purpose of bringing them into contact with our Lord to do them good. Our Saviour did not refuse to go, and to go, too, at the risk of being accused of being a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners, Matthew 11:19. But his motives were pure. In the thing itself there was no harm. It afforded an opportunity of doing good, and we have no reason to doubt that the opportunity was improved by the Lord Jesus. Happy would it be if all the "great feasts" that are made were made in honor of our Lord; happy if he would be a welcome guest there; and happy if ministers and pious people who attend them demeaned themselves as the Lord Jesus did, and they were always made the means of advancing his kingdom. But, alas! there are few places where our Lord would be "so unwelcome" as at great feasts, and few places that serve so much to render the mind gross, dissipated, and irreligious. 30. their scribes—a mode of expression showing that Luke was writing for Gentiles.Ver. 32. See Poole on "Lu 5:27"

I came not to call the righteous,.... Such as the Scribes and Pharisees were in their own apprehension, and in the esteem of others, who trusted in themselves, that they were righteous, and submitted not to the righteousness of Christ: these Christ came not to call by his grace, and therefore did not associate himself with them: but sinners to repentance; such as the publicans, and others, with them, were; and therefore he was chiefly with such, and chose to be among them: these he not only called to repentance by the outward ministry of the word, but brought them to it; he having power to bestow the grace of repentance, as well as to call to the duty of it; See Gill on Matthew 9:13. See Gill on Mark 2:17. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Luke 5:32. εἰς μετάνοιαν: doubtless a gloss of Lk.’s or of a tradition he used, defining and guarding the saying, but also limiting its scope.—καλέσαι is to be understood in a festive sense = I came to call sinners to the feast of the Kingdom, as I have called to this feast the “sinners” of Capernaum.

32. I came not to call] Rather, I have not come.

the righteous] This also was true in two senses. Our Lord came to seek and save the lost. He came not to the elder son but to the prodigal; not to the folded flock but to the straying sheep. In a lower and external sense these Pharisees were really, as they called themselves, ‘the righteous’ (chasidim). In another sense they were only self-righteous and self-deceived (Luke 18:9). St Matthew tells us that He further rebuked their haughty and pitiless exclusiveness by borrowing one of their own formulae, and bidding them “go and learn” the meaning of Hosea 6:6, “I will have mercy and not sacrifice,” i. e. love is better than legal scrupulosity; Matthew 9:13; Matthew 12:7. The invariable tendency of an easy and pride-stimulating externalism when it is made a substitute for heart-religion is the most callous hypocrisy. The Pharisees were condemned not by Christ only but by their own Pharisaic Talmud, and after b. c. 70 the very name fell into such discredit among the Jews themselves as a synonym for greed and hypocrisy that it became a reproach and was dropped as a title (Jost, Gesch. d. Juden. iv. 76; Gfrörer, Jahrh. d. Heils, i. 140; Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. on Matthew 3:7).

Luke 5:32. Μετανοίαν) Μετανοία is the transition of the mind from sin to righteousness, from sickness to health. This change is something of a delightful, not of a formidable nature: comp. the instance of Levi in proof of this, Luke 5:27-29.

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