Gibbs, Jeffrey A. “9:9-13: Jesus calls Matthew and Others to Believe." Matthew 1:1-11:1. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2006, pp. 463-474.
Gibbs' textual notes on Matthew 9:9-13 are brief and tend to focus on the textbook constructions in the passage. There is an excellent illustration of a definite article as a pronoun, an objective genitive, and a contrast which negates one element of the comparison (Gibbs 2006, 463-464). He then moves on to commentary on the content.
Gibbs sees Matthew 9:9-13 not only as the call of Matthew but also as an important reflection on the many others called by Jesus who elect not to follow him (Gibbs 2006, 465). Jesus' call to Matthew was brief and powerful. Matthew's response was to get up and follow Jesus. Gibbs is moved by the event to consider the identity of the tax gatherers and of the other sinners mentioned, as well as the function of table fellowship.
The nature of tax farming in Palestine is not well documented and probably involves considerable variation between different regions. Gibbs suggests that Herod may have been relatively open to allowing Jewish customs to be respected, when compared with other leaders (Gibbs 2006, 466). Matthew may not have been a high official. He was actually in the tax office, rather than being less visible, as would be likely of an important official (Gibbs 2006, 467).
The "sinners" mentioned in Matthew 9:10-11 draw complaints from the Pharisees (Gibbs 2006, 467). They may have simply been classed this way because they were not Pharisees. However, Gibbs thinks these are more likely people who were "more flagrant in their disregard for God's Law" than average (Gibbs 2006, 468).
Jesus' gathering for dinner with tax collectors and sinners raises the question of the purpose of gatherings for meals (Gibbs 2006, 469). While the meal could certainly have deep significance of shared purpose and a close relationship, Gibbs observes that it might not have that connotation. Gibbs suggests four reasons that this meal could have offended the Pharisees. They may have objected to the free acceptance he showed for people they considered flagrant sinners (Gibbs 2006, 470). Jesus also could have been seen as violating the customs of polite society by breaking down social barriers even when he was a guest at someone else's table. A thid reason could be the exclusive nature of Jesus' calling people to himself. He may have been expected to be shutting out others who would be worthy guests (Gibbs 2006, 471). Finally, the fact that Jesus offered transformation to those around him may have been offensive. Table fellowship was normally seen as a way of reinforcing the status quo, but Jesus used it to break down the status quo (Gibbs 2006, 472).
Gibbs notes that Jesus uses fellowship at a table as a foreshadowing of an eschatological feast. In Church practice, the Sacrament of the Altar serves this same function (Gibbs 2006, 473). There, sinners of all types are called to eat in the presence of the forgiving God.