The First Conflict with the Scribes and Pharisees.
SUMMARY.--The Palsied Man Healed. The Charge of Blasphemy. The Calling of Matthew. The Feast at the House of Matthew. Not the Whole, but the Sick Need a Physician. Fasting. New Wine in Old Bottles. Plucking Corn on the Sabbath Day. The Son of Man Lord of the Sabbath.
1. Again he entered Capernaum. After his first missionary circuit of Galilee.
2-12. Many were gathered together. For notes on the healing of this paralytic see Matt. 9:2-8. Compare Luke 5:17-26 . As we learn from Luke, among those gathered were Pharisees and scribes from Judea, Jerusalem, and Galilee, <! -- [Lu+5:17] --> evidently by a preconcerted arrangement. The whole incident illustrates: (1) The Divine power of Christ. He could assert that he forgave sins without blasphemy. (2) The difference between Christ and his apostles, none of whom claimed to forgive sins (see Acts 8:22-24 ). (3) It affords a test for all priests who claim to forgive sin. If they possessed power to forgive sins they would have power also to relieve the body of the physical consequences of sin.
14. He saw Levi the son of Alphæus. Matthew Levi; the apostle after this, but now a publican. On the call of Matthew and Matthew's feast see notes on Matt. 9:9-17, and compare also Luke 5:27-39 .
15. Sat at meat. At a meal. In his house. Matthew's. Many publicans. Gatherers of the Roman tax. Sinners. Persons excommunicated from the synagogue.
18. Why do the disciples of John . . . fast? See notes on Matt. 9:14, 15.
21. No man also seweth, etc. On this figure and that of old and new bottles see notes on Matt. 9:16, 17.
23. He went through the corn fields on the sabbath. See notes on Matt. 12:1-8. Compare Luke 6:1-11 .
26. In the days of Abiathar, the high priest. In 1 Sam. 21:1-9 , Ahimelech is represented as the high priest. Abiathar was his son and successor. The Revised Version gives the text of the best MSS. by omitting "the high priest."
27. The sabbath was made for man. The Sabbath rest; that is, a rest of one day in seven was made for man, not for Jews only. This implies that it is to be a universal institution; that the good of man requires it, and that it is not an arbitrary enactment, but a wise and benevolent provision for the welfare of the race. Experience shows that men are happiest, most moral, most prosperous and healthiest where it is devoutly observed.
28. The Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. This affirms the Divine nature of Jesus. None but the Divine is Lord of a divine institution. Since Christ is Lord of the Sabbath day, he has the right to modify it, to adapt it to the new dispensation, and to change the time of its observance from the last day of the week to the first, so as to make it the memorial of the beginning of the New Creation, instead of commemorating the rest from the first creation.