Gospel Harmony Project
Public Ministry of Jesus From 2nd to 3rd Passover
054:  Call of Matthew (Levi)

055:  Eating with Sinners at Matthew's House
Proper 5A
10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
15 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.
16 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?
17 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.
29 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.
30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.
32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
  1. Many disciples as well as many publicans are mentioned
  1. The house is identified as Levi's


  1. Time of the event:  Immediately after his calling or nearly a year later, (see Event 81, Healing of Jairus Daughter)
    1. Some time after his call, Matthew sought to bring his old associates to hear Christ. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
    2. The new convert most naturally called in his old friends, that they might have the advantage of our Lord’s teaching. Spurgeon's Devotional Commentary
    3. 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; Lu 8:40d 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. Jamieson-Faucett-Brown Commentary
  2. Matthew's purpose in holding a feast
    1. Matthew, who it appears, from Lu 5:29, made a great feast on the occasion, thus testifying his gratitude for the honour done him; and that his friends and acquaintances might profit by the teaching of his new master, he invites them to the entertainment that was honoured by the presence of Christ. Adam Clarke Commentary
  3. Publicans and Sinners
    1. Often coupled together in common scorn and in contrast with the righteous Robertson's New Testament Word Pictures
    2. Those who suppose their souls to be without disease will not welcome the spiritual Physician... It may justly be suspected that those have not the grace of God themselves, who are not pleased with others' obtaining it...  If the children of men had not been sinners, there had been no need for Christ to come among them.    Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
  4. Physician
    1. 1. Jesus Christ represents himself here as the sovereign Physician of souls. 2. That all stand in need of his healing power. 3. That men must acknowledge their spiritual maladies, and the need they have of his mercy, in order to be healed by him. 4. That it is the most inveterate and dangerous disease the soul can be afflicted with to imagine itself whole, when the sting of death, which is sin, has pierced it through in every part, infusing its poison every where. Adam Clarke Commentary
    2.  In other words, "If these people are as sinful as you allege, they are the very ones who need a Savior."  People's New Testament Commentary
  5. Go and Learn
    1. Nothing tends more to humble pretenders to devotion than to show them that they understand neither Scripture nor religion, when, relying on external performances, they neglect love to God and man, which is the very soul and substance of true religion. Adam Clarke Commentary
    2. The duty of keeping aloof from the polluted, in the sense of "having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness," is obvious enough; but to understand this as prohibiting such intercourse with them as is necessary to their recovery, is to abuse it.  Jamieson-Faucett-Brown Commentary
    3. He says to them, “Go ye and learn”; and this alone would be distasteful to men who thought they knew everything already.   They were to learn the meaning of a Scripture in Ho 6:6; and this would teach them that to have mercy upon sinners is a work more pleasing to God than the presenting of expensive sacrifices, or the performing of religious exercises.  Spurgeon Devotional Commentary
  6. Mercy not Sacrifice
    1.  It is a Hebrew mode of speaking, and means, I prefer mercy to sacrifice; or, I am more pleased with acts of benevolence and kindness than with a mere external compliance with the duties of religion.  Albert Barnes NT Commentary
    2. They scrupulously avoided the outward defilement of contact with publicans and sinners, while they had no compassion for their souls or bodies. No external observances will compensate for the want of a kind, compassionate disposition; and acts of mercy to the needy and to the guilty, from love to God and men, are peculiarly acceptable to him.  Family Bible Notes





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