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Main Page The great Gospel of John Volume 1 GGJ01-120 Chapter

Chapter 120 - Matthew the tax-collector

120,1. Once we were out of view to the people, I called for a landing, as it was high noon and there was nothing to eat in the boat. After a good two hours from the previous house, we disembarked and had to go back some way to a village where we intended spending our lunch-time.

120,2. Just before the village there was a principal toll-gate. And see, at the desk sat that same young man (he was only 35 years old, which was regarded as young by the Jews) who at the previous house was one of the eight brothers who had brought the palsied and who had spoken so wisely.

120,3. When the scribes and Pharisees caught sight of him, they said: ‘This does not look too good. This one turns out to be a Roman tax-collector. He is going to hit us hard with the tax. What are we going to do?’

120,4. I said: ‘Don’t be troubled, for here it will not be necessary. I shall arrange it best.’

120,5. With these words I step up to the tax-collector, saying to him: ‘Matthew (that was his name), hand this table over to someone else and (you) follow Me. And at once he got up, delegated the table and followed Me without comment. And when the disciples and Pharisees and scribes at the gate asked what the charges were.

120,6. Matthew said: ‘This time the Lord has fixed up your tax, for He has healed my uncle. How should I now accept tax from Him, the godly Master?’

120,7. Therewith the barrier was opened and all passed through free of charge.

120,8. When we reached the village however, Matthew led us into his house, where all those tax-collectors employed at the principal toll-gate, together with a great many officials and other “sinners”, according to the assessment and judgment of the Jews, Pharisees and Scribes, were having their lunch. For Matthew’s house was big and also a guest-house, where only those Jews who paid could eat and drink, whereas the tax-collectors, officials and “sinners” were not charged, as they were one and all employees of the house leased by the Romans for tax-purposes.

120,9. I was however immediately invited to lunch by all the tax-collectors, while bread and wine in adequate quantities were served to My disciples and also to the Pharisees and scribes outside. And the disciples were happy with that. Not so the Pharisees and scribes with them, for these were peeved at not also being invited to the table.

120,10. But while I was already seated at the table with a great many tax-collectors and sinners, another large number of them were arriving from other areas, because Matthew's house was known far and wide as a well-to-do and hospitable one and there were large gatherings there, particularly on Sabbaths. They all greeted Me most friendly, all saying that a greater honor could not have come upon the house than to have Me as their guest, even as they were extending the table and all accommodating themselves at My table.

120,11. But the Pharisees and scribes crowded the big open doorway, to watch what I should do and say. Seeing that I got on most friendly with the tax-collectors and sinners however, they were secretly enraged, asking My disciples who were outside with them: ‘Why does your Master dine with tax-collectors and all those obvious sinners? Is he perhaps one of them?’

120,12. As I perceived such question, I turned to them from the table and said, briefly and with abandon: ‘They that are strong and well need no doctor, but only the sick. But go and learn what it means:

120,13. ‘For I desired mercy and not sacrifice’.

120,14. For I have come to call the sinners to repentance and not the righteous, who need no repentance’. (Mt.9,13)

120,15. These words the Pharisees and scribes interpreted in their favor and said nothing more, as they felt flattered.

120,16. I then engaged the company’s attention with all kinds of parables, shedding light on how human life and its weaknesses can end in degeneration. I thus also gave them firm outlines for the rearing of children, showing them how deficiency in rearing children has, with time, resulted in every kind of evil, spiritually and physically.

120,17. In this way I also taught the company the reason for God’s creation of man and how as a free being he should try to meet God’s purpose, in order to therewith become a perfect, indestructible spiritual being.

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