Matthew 9:10-13. As Jesus sat at meat in the house Namely, of Matthew, (see Mark 2:15,) who, being desirous at once to show his respects to Christ, and to give his former companions and acquaintance an opportunity of enjoying his instructive conversation, made a great entertainment for him, Luke 5:29. And many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him Being invited by Matthew. The publicans, or collectors of taxes which the Jews paid the Romans, were infamous for their illegal exactions. With these were now present several other open, notorious sinners. When the Pharisees saw it When they observed that Jesus ate and openly conversed with these men, being offended, they said, Why eateth your Master, &c. Thus they commonly ask our Lord, Why do thy disciples do this? and his disciples, Why doth your Master? The Pharisees pretended to greater strictness than Christ in keeping at a distance from sinners, but they were far from being strict in reforming themselves, or in zeal for love and doing good to their fellow-creatures. When Jesus heard that The Pharisees, it seems, though they had not directed their discourse to Jesus, yet had spoken so loud as to let all the guests hear their censure. Hence it was necessary that Christ should show them the unreasonableness of it, and therefore he said, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick Implying that, since the Pharisees thought themselves righteous persons, they had no need of his company and instructions, whereas the publicans, whom they called sinners, being sick, had the best right to it: and that as nobody ever blamed a physician for going into the company of the patients whose case he had undertaken; so, they could not blame him for conversing with sinners, since he did it not as their companion but as their physician, and therefore with a view to reclaim them. But go ye and learn what that meaneth Ye that take upon you to teach others; I will have mercy, and not sacrifice That is, I will have mercy rather than sacrifice: I love acts of mercy better than sacrifice itself. See this explained at large in the note on Hosea 6:6; as if he had said, In bringing sinners to repentance, which is the highest exercise of benevolence, I do what is more acceptable to God than offering sacrifices, however many or costly, or observing the most important ceremonial institutions, so unreasonably magnified by the men of your sect, who observe them on many occasions at the expense of charity.
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