The people of Capernaum welcome Jesus. Matthew gives a feast. The Pharisees rebuke Jesus for eating with sinners. He tells them that he is sent to save sinners. He gives lessons on fasting and on the philosophy of good and evil.
THE news soon spread through all the land that Jesus was at home and then the people came in throngs to welcome him.
2 And Matthew, one of the twelve, a man of wealth, whose home was in Capernaum, spread forth a sumptuous feast, and Jesus and the foreign masters and the twelve, and people of all shades of thought, were guests.
3 And when the Pharisees observed that Jesus sat and ate with publicans and those of ill repute they said,
4 For shame! This man who claims to be man of God, consorts with publicans and courtesans and with the common herd of men. For shame!
5 When Jesus knew their thoughts he said, They who are well cannot be healed; the pure need not be saved.
6 They who are well are whole; they who are pure are saved.
7 They who love justice and do right need not repent; I came not unto them, but to the sinner I am come.
8 A band of John's disciples who had heard that John was dead were wearing badges for their dead;
9 Were fasting and were praying in their hearts, which when the Pharisees observed they came to Jesus and they said,
10 Why fast the followers of John and your disciples do not fast?
11 And Jesus said, Lo, you are masters of the law; you ought to know; perhaps you will make known your knowledge to these men.
12 What are the benefits derived from fasts? The Pharisees were mute; they answered not.
13 Then Jesus said, The vital force of men depends on what they eat and drink.
14 Is spirit-life the stronger when the vital force is weak? Is sainthood reached by starving, self imposed?
15 A glutton is a sinner in the sight of God, and he is not a saint who makes himself a weakling and unfitted for the heavy tasks of life by scorning to make use of God's own means of strength.
16 Lo, John is dead, and his devoted followers are fasting in their grief.
17 Their love for him impels them on to show respect, for they have thought, and have been taught that it is sin to lightly treat the memory of the dead.
18 To them it is a sin, and it is well that they should fast.
19 * When men defy their consciences and listen not to what they say, the heart is grieved and they become unfitted for the work of life; and thus they sin.
20 * The conscience may be taught. One man may do in conscience what another cannot do.
21 * What is a sin for me to do may not be sin for you to do. The place you occupy upon the way of life determines what is sin.
22 * There is no changeless law of good; for good and evil both are judged by other things.
23 One man may fast and in his deep sincerity of heart is blest.
24 Another man may fast and in the faithlessness of such a task imposed is cursed.
25 * You cannot make a bed to fit the form of every man. If you can make a bed to fit yourself you have done well.
26 Why should these men who follow me resort to fasting, or to anything that would impair their strength? They need it all to serve the race.
27 The time will come when God will let you have your way, and you will do to me what Herod did to John;
28 And in the awfulness of that sad hour these men will fast.
29 They who have ears to hear may hear; they who have hearts to feel may understand.