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Matthew 9:9-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Pharisees Accuse When Matthew Is Called

Matthew 9:9-13 – Pharisees Accuse When Matthew Is Called

|| Mark 2:13-17; Luke 5:27-32

File:Loon Calling of Saint Matthew.jpg

Calling of Saint Matthew – Theodoor van Loon (1581/1582–1649) – National Museum in Warsaw (MNW)

MT9:9 Now leaving there Jesus saw a man called Matthew[1] sitting at the tax office, and Jesus said to him,

“Follow me.”

And Matthew rose and followed[2] Jesus. MT9:10 And when Jesus was staying in the house, look! many tax-collectors[3] and ‘sinners’[4] came[5] and reclined [at table] with him and his disciples. MT9:11 When the Pharisees observed[6] this they said to Jesus’ disciples,

“Why does your teacher[7] eat with tax-collectors and ‘sinners’?”

MT9:12 Hearing this Jesus told them,

“The healthy[8] do not need a healer but those who are sick. MT9:13 Go and learn what this is, ‘I wish mercy and not a sacrifice.’[9] [Hosea 6:6] For I came to invite,[10] not the righteous, but sinners.”[11]


[1] Matthew: The name means “Gift of Yah” and occurs 5 times in the Christian Bible (Matthew 9:9; 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). He is traditionally thought to be the author of the Gospel of Matthew. He is also known as “Levi.” This occurs near the end of 30 or early 31 AD.

[2] Matthew rose and followed: Consider the parallel accounts. Matthew leaves everything – stops right in the middle of his work and abandons his work. The later meal is evidently at Matthew’s house.

[3] Tax-collectors: Called “publicans” by the KJV. NEB: tax-gatherers.

[4] ‘Sinners’: Perhaps in truth, but certainly from the view of the ‘religious.’ NEB: bad characters; TCNT: outcasts; PME: disreputable people; NOR: bad repute; GDSP: irreligious.

[5] Many tax-collectors and ‘sinners’ came: Possibly guests invited by Matthew indicating his former associates.

[6] Pharisees observed: Like spies they begin to probe for a fault in the Nazarene. A large feast, possibly in an open patio visible to others, which attracted the attention of others. Likely the news of Jesus visiting Matthew spread rapidly. The man had left his work and the tax office immediately and that must have created talk.

[7] Teacher: Or, Master; Rabbi.

[8] Healthy: Or, “strong.” KJV: whole; WEY: in good health.

[9] I wish mercy and not a sacrifice: A quote of Hosea 6:6 also occurring at Mark 12:7.

[10] Invite: The Greek is KALESAI. KJV: call.

[11] Sinners: The KJV adds “to repentance.” TCNT: outcasts; GDSP: irreligious. We can imagine for a moment the hearts of these well up at the thought – one face turning to another, eyes meeting eyes – with delight. Surely the level of murmuring rose.


Preceding article

Matthew 9:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Messiah Forgives Sins and Heals Paralytic


Related articles

  1. Jesus Calls Matthew
  2. The Calling of Matthew (Levi)
  3. Matthew Joins the Team
  4. Meditation: Matthew 9:9-13
  5. September 21st Feast of St Matthew – Gospel Reading (Matthew 9:9-13)
  6. Gospel of the Day, September 21 (Matthew 9:9-13) [Feast of St. Matthew, apostle and evangelist]
  7. Matthew 9:9-13
  8. Matthew 9:10-13
  9. Daily devotional for 4 September 2017 – Matthew 9:12-13
  10. Son of a Tax Collector! (Matthew 9:9-13)
  11. We Might Have Missed Something in “Faith Like a Child”
  12. Following Jesus…

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