Jesus' Precepts and Deeds through His Three Years of Teaching

At the house of Matthew, the tax collector

- Chapter 122 -
About the two Matthews - the tax-official and the scribe. Occasion with the fishermen. The disciples of John, and those of Jesus. Peter's reply about John's behaviour.

nd the young landlord Matthew, the tax-collector (who is not to be confused with the Matthew who was only a scribe - wherefore in the Scriptures, 'tax-collector' is added when referring to him) went and called My disciples, the Pharisees and the Scribes in and they came and were seated and quite heartily tucked into the food and drink, with the exception of Judas, who held back this time for fear of a large bill; and, as known, he was no good friend of payment.
When we were all together cheerfully, with the Pharisees and Scribes also gradually finding some rapport with the tax-collectors and so-called sinners, a young kitchen maid comes in to the landlord, saying, 'What is to be done? The fishermen have just arrived with fish and are asking to eat and drink; but having had all these guests by coincidence today, consuming nearly all our stores, we in the kitchen don't know what to do'. Says Matthew, the tax-collector, 'How many are they?' Says the maid, 'There are about twenty of them.' Says Matthew, the tax-collector, 'Then let them come in here; there is still plenty of provision here!'
The maid goes and tells the fishermen and these betake themselves to the large dining room, taking up a small table from which the lunch guests had already departed.
But when the fishermen caught sight of Peter and several others of their former mates, they exchanged greetings and the fishermen, somewhat moody because of the relative lean look of their table, say to Peter, 'For us this will do, no doubt, as we still are true disciples of John and our law is fasting. But you new disciples of Jesus can eat to your heart's content, as we see, since with you, fasting is no longer a problem!' (Matt. 9:14)
Says Peter, 'John fasted on account of what we have and we used to fast with him in accordance with his doctrine and strict sermons. John proclaimed Him with Whom we are now, testifying of Him. When this One came however and even accepted John's baptism with water, John did not fully trust his senses, nor did you. Because even whilst John, prompted by the Spirit, testified of Jesus as He was approaching, saying, 'Behold, this is He of Whom I said, after me cometh a man who is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to loose', he yet secretly doubted, like yourselves and still does to this hour. Wherefore he still fasts and you fast also. But with us believers, fasting is at an end! It is your own fault that you still fast. It suits you thus, for just as the blind cannot fortify his vision with the light and its colours, just so the blind in heart shall fortify neither his heart nor his stomach. Do you understand that?
Had John believed, he would have followed the Lamb, which according to his testimony, takes away the sins of the world. But because his soul itself doubted Him of Whom his spirit thus testified through her, he stayed behind in the desert until Herod arrested him, as we heard.
Why did he not follow Him, since he said to us through his spirit, 'Hear Him'? Why did he not want to hear Him? Why did he not follow Him, since it was on account of His coming that he lived his whole life so strictly? We are not aware of Him Who we followed ever forbidding him to follow Him. Hence give me one solid reason why John did not follow Jesus!'
Here John's disciples were perplexed, not knowing what to reply. Only one of them says that the news that John was arrested by Herod is wrong; Herod had only summoned him to his residence at Jerusalem in order to find out from him about the coming of God's Anointed. Herod regards John too highly to put him in prison.
Peter however said somewhat humorously, 'If it has not yet happened in actuality, it is bound to do so soon. Because Herod is a cunning fox and is to be trusted no more than a snake.'