Matthew is a tax collector. The Jews who followed this profession may have been more educated, but their fellow countrymen hated them. What did Matthew think when Jesus called him? Was he curious about Jesus? Had he heard stories about Him? Watched him? Listened to Him? Was he surprised at the call? Matthew was considered an outside, a sinner due to his profession. Did he ever go to the synagogue or Temple?
Did Matthew “sit” in his tax collectors booth and think about his life? Regret some of his decisions? Why would he be so eager to follow Jesus? Was he willing to do anything to be loved?
In verse 13 we read that Jesus again went beside the sea to teach the crowds which gathered around Him. Was this common for Him?
In verse 15 we read many sinners followed Jesus. It is still true. But Jesus accepts and welcomes us – me. Jesus said that he had not come to call the righteous – did anyone think that was an insult, as who can be righteous before God? What was His tone of voice when He made that statement? Abraham was considered righteous because he believed in God’s promise to him.
Question about fasting – perhaps it was in preparation for a Jewish religious feast. Here Jesus identifies Himself as the “bridegroom” – a clue to who He is. When Jesus speaks of new wine and wine skins, is that an allusion to the New Covenant?
On a sabbath day Jesus and His disciples walked through a field of grain. Where was this? We are not told. The Law limits how far one can walk on the sabbath. It sounds as though this is the first rule Jesus broke that day – that had been seen by His enemies. Then the disciples pick some grain and eat it – another broken rule either stealing or working to gain food on the sabbath. The Pharisees witness the event. Were some following Him everywhere He went? They would have broken a rule as well – walking more than allowed. When the Pharisees question Jesus, He reminds them why there is a sabbath. Yes, it is to worship God, but it is for the benefit of man – to allow man a time of refreshment, a time to praise God, to meditate on God and life, to enjoy the fruits of his labor and his family. The Pharisees, by their strict interpretation of the Law, have enslaved man, not given them the freedom God wants for us. They Jesus says, because of all of this, He, the Son of Man, is “Lord of the sabbath”. So once again Jesus gives strong clues as to Who He is.
After this Jesus enters a synagogue. It is still the sabbath. Again the Pharisees are watching to see what He would do – they should have been worshiping, meditating not casting their eyes about watching. Knowing this, Jesus asks them if it would be against the Law to cure the man with the withered hand. They will not answer. Have they no compassion on the suffering of the man? Why is the man allowed in the synagogue? Is it only the Temple where sick people are not allowed? Jesus became angry and grieved that the Pharisees would be so heartless, to not recognize the suffering. So Jesus heals the man, incurring the rancor of the Pharisees again, who enlist Herodians to help them destroy Jesus.