2010-09-09 - Matthew's Redemption
Rev 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (NASB)
When we meet Matthew in the gospels he is a tax collector for the Roman government that occupies Israel. He is a Jew working for the enemy. He and those like him were despised by their countrymen as traitors. The tax collectors padded the taxes they collected for themselves. While Matthew would have lived a life of many comforts, he would have not been permitted in the temple.
Then Jesus called him right out of this collection booth, "Follow Me". The disciples that Jesus had already called must have wondered to themselves what was going on. How could Jesus be asking someone of this man's character to follow Him? Matthew turned his back on everything else and followed Jesus.
The first thing Matthew does is throws a party and invites all his friends to meet Jesus. What did Andrew say to his brother Peter? "We have found the Messiah", and he brings Peter to meet Jesus. (John 1:41-42) And here Matthew is doing as Andrew has done. The word must have moved through the town quickly that Matthew had left his job to follow this itinerant Rabbi Jesus. His life had been changed in two words and he wanted his friends and associates to know how and why. What a fascinating evening it must have been.
This man Matthew, also called Levi, who had no place in the temple wrote one of the four gospels. Matthew will be one of the twelve that will judge the tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:30) The first book of the New Testament bears his name written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through the hand of Matthew. It is possible that Matthew will be one of the 24 elders seated around the throne of Christ - twelve from each of the Old and the New Testament. (Rev 4:4) And finally one of the twelve foundation stones of the New Jerusalem will bear his name. (Rev 21:14)
Matthew had fallen to the point where no one would have believed God would ever use him again. If you think you have reached that point then reconsider. God is in the business of fixing broken lives and healing broken hearts and relationships so that He can use them again. He offers salvation through His Son Jesus that turns death into eternal life.
He can use you again.
Grace & Peace,