And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?
Read Chapter 9
Chromatius of Aquileia
According to the allegorical or mystical account, Matthew’s house is his mind, which Christ entered through Matthew’s faith in his grace. He is viewed as having truly “sat at table” there, for this same Matthew deserved to be the writer of this Gospel. Describing the Lord’s deeds and power, he presented a heavenly feast not only to the Lord and his disciples but also to all believers who, coming as publicans and sinners to the knowledge of Christ, deserved being included in so great a feast. In effect, Matthew’s house can be viewed as a church comprising publicans and sinners. He presents to all the leaders there the feast of his faith and preaching, with the Lord and his disciples seated at table.
The Jews were seething with envy that the Lord was spending time with publicans and sinners. He declared to them that the words of the law were being concealed under a cloak of faithlessness. He gave aid to the sick and medicine to those in need. For those who believed they were healthy, however, no cure was necessary. But in order for them to understand that none of his followers were healthy, he advised them to learn the meaning of “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” In other words, the law linked to the ritual of sacrifices was unable to give help, but health was in store for all in the granting of mercy. “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” He had come for all. So why does Jesus say that he did not come for the righteous? … No one is righteous by reason of the law. He therefore showed the emptiness of boasting about the law, because with sacrifices imposed on the sick for their health, mercy was needed for all things set down in the law. For if r...
But none of these things shamed the Pharisees, but they accuse Him to His disciples, saying,
Why eats your Master with publicans and sinners? Matthew 9:11
And when the disciples seem to be doing wrong, they intercede with Him, saying, Behold your disciples do that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath-day; Matthew 12:2 but here to them they discredit Him. All which was the part of men dealing craftily, and wishing to separate from the Master the choir of the disciples. What then says Infinite Wisdom?
Joyful because he had received Christ into his house, Matthew invited the publicans. Christ ate with them so that He might benefit them also, even though He was criticized for doing it. For the Pharisees wanted to separate His disciples from Him, and so they slandered Him for eating with publicans.