See the notes at Matthew 9:9-13.
Made him a great feast - This circumstance “Matthew,” or “Levi” as he is here called, has omitted in his own gospel. This fact shows how little inclined the evangelists are to say anything in favor of themselves or to praise themselves. True religion does not seek to commend itself, or to speak of what it does, even when it is done for the Son of God. It seeks retirement; it delights rather in the consciousness of doing well than in its being known; and it leaves its good deeds to be spoken of, if spoken of at all, by others. This is agreeable to the direction of Solomon Proverbs 27:2; “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth.” This feast was made expressly for our Lord, and was attended by many publicans, probably people of wicked character; and it is not improbable that Matthew got them together for the purpose of bringing them into contact with our Lord to do them good. Our Saviour did not refuse to go, and to go, too, at the risk of being accused of being a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners, Matthew 11:19. But his motives were pure. In the thing itself there was no harm. It afforded an opportunity of doing good, and we have no reason to doubt that the opportunity was improved by the Lord Jesus. Happy would it be if all the “great feasts” that are made were made in honor of our Lord; happy if he would be a welcome guest there; and happy if ministers and pious people who attend them demeaned themselves as the Lord Jesus did, and they were always made the means of advancing his kingdom. But, alas! there are few places where our Lord would be “so unwelcome” as at great feasts, and few places that serve so much to render the mind gross, dissipated, and irreligious.
Sitting at his toll booth one day, the publican saw Jesus approaching. Great was his astonishment to hear the words addressed to himself, “Follow Me.” DA 273.1
Matthew “left all, rose up, and followed Him.” There was no hesitation, no questioning, no thought of the lucrative business to be exchanged for poverty and hardship. It was enough for him that he was to be with Jesus, that he might listen to His words, and unite with Him in His work. DA 273.2
So it was with the disciples previously called. When Jesus bade Peter and his companions follow Him, immediately they left their boats and nets. Some of these disciples had friends dependent on them for support; but when they received the Saviour's invitation, they did not hesitate, and inquire, How shall I live, and sustain my family? They were obedient to the call; and when afterward Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything?” they could answer, “Nothing.” Luke 22:35. DA 273.3Read in context »
In Personal Interviews—The work of Christ was largely composed of personal interviews. He had a faithful regard for the one-soul audience; and that one soul has carried to thousands the intelligence received.—The Review and Herald, May 9, 1899. Ev 58.1
At the Feasts—When invited to a feast, Christ accepted the invitation, that He might, while sitting at the table, sow the seeds of truth in the hearts of those present. He knew that the seed thus sown would spring up and bring forth fruit. He knew that some of those sitting at meat with Him would afterward respond to His call, “Follow Me.” Ours is the privilege of studying Christ's manner of teaching as He went from place to place, everywhere sowing the seeds of truth.—Manuscript 113, 1902. Ev 58.2
Christ's Follow-up Plan—Christ sent out His disciples two and two, [See also pp. 72-74, “Two and Two.”] to go to places to which He would afterward follow.—Manuscript 19, 1910. Ev 58.3Read in context »
The Lord desires all who bear the message for these last days to understand that there is a great difference between professors of religion who are not doers of the word, and the children of God, who are sanctified through the truth, who have that faith that works by love and purifies the soul. The Lord speaks of those who claim to believe the truth for this time, yet see nothing inconsistent in their taking part in politics, mingling with the contending elements of these last days, as the circumcised who mingle with the uncircumcised, and He declares that He will destroy both classes together without distinction. They are doing a work that God has not set them to do. They dishonor God by their party spirit and contention, and He will condemn both alike. FE 482.1
The question may be asked, Are we to have no union whatever with the world? The word of the Lord is to be our guide. Any connection with infidels and unbelievers which would identify us with them is forbidden by the word. We are to come out from them and be separate. In no case are we to link ourselves with them in their plans or work. But we are not to live reclusive lives. We are to do worldlings all the good we possibly can. Christ has given us an example of this. When invited to eat with publicans and sinners, He did not refuse; for in no other way than by mingling with them could He reach this class. But on every occasion He gave them talents of words and influence. He opened up themes of conversation which brought things of eternal interest to their minds. And this Teacher enjoins us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” On the temperance question take your position without wavering. Be as firm as a rock. Be not partakers of other men's sins. Acts of dishonesty in business deal, with believers or unbelievers, should be reproved; and if they give no evidence of reformation, come out from among them and be separate. FE 482.2
There is a large vineyard to be cultivated; but while Christians are to work among unbelievers, they are not to appear like worldlings. They are not to spend their time talking politics or acting as politicians; for by so doing, they give the enemy opportunity to come in and cause variance and discord. Those in the ministry who desire to stand as politicians should have their credentials taken from them; for this work God has not given to high or low among His people. God calls upon all who minister in doctrine to give the trumpet a certain sound. All who have received Christ, ministers and lay members, are to arise and shine; for great peril is right upon us. Satan is stirring the powers of earth. Everything in the world is in confusion. God calls upon His people to hold aloft the banner bearing the message of the third angel. We are not to go to Christ through any human being, but through Christ we are to understand the work He has given us to do for others. FE 483.1Read in context »
Often He met those who had drifted under Satan's control, and who had no power to break from his snare. To such a one, discouraged, sick, tempted, fallen, Jesus would speak words of tenderest pity, words that were needed and could be understood. Others He met who were fighting a hand-to-hand battle with the adversary of souls. These He encouraged to persevere, assuring them that they would win; for angels of God were on their side and would give them the victory. MH 26.1
At the table of the publicans He sat as an honored guest, by His sympathy and social kindliness showing that He recognized the dignity of humanity; and men longed to become worthy of His confidence. Upon their thirsty hearts His words fell with blessed, life-giving power. New impulses were awakened, and to these outcasts of society there opened the possibility of a new life. MH 26.2
Though He was a Jew, Jesus mingled freely with the Samaritans, setting at nought the Pharisaic customs of His nation. In face of their prejudices He accepted the hospitality of this despised people. He slept with them under their roofs, ate with them at their tables,—partaking of the food prepared and served by their hands,—taught in their streets, and treated them with the utmost kindness and courtesy. And while He drew their hearts to Him by the tie of human sympathy, His divine grace brought to them the salvation which the Jews rejected. MH 26.3Read in context »