2013-11-09 - Matthew
The Disciple Series ~ Part 7
Matthew, who was a tax collector in Capernaum, was called Levi in the Gospels of Mark and Luke. In Jesus' time, tax collectors were considered dishonest and were disliked by the Jews. Matthew served as an employee of Herod Antipas, who ruled the Promised Land for the Romans. Matthew was a tax collector on an important highway which ran from Damascus to Jerusalem to Egypt. In his position, he was familiar with the value of goods of all descriptions. Some examples of common goods were wool, flax, pottery, silver, gold, olives, wheat and barley. Matthew also was required to be knowledgable about local and foreign money systems. Matthew was a smart man who was disliked, because tax collectors were known to collect too much and pocket some for themselves. Matthew was performing his duties, when Jesus approached him, saying "Follow me." (Matthew 9:9, NIV)
After being called to be a Disciple, Matthew threw Jesus a large banquet. In Luke 5:29, we find that Matthew invited "sinners" to the banquet. These sinners were his fellow tax collectors. He wanted them to hear the Good News from Jesus. Aside from his calling and his subsequent banquet, Matthew is rarely mentioned in the Gospels. After Jesus' death, resurrection, and ascension, Matthew preached the Gospel for fifteen years in Jerusalem. He later served as a missionary to other lands. Matthew is probably best know for writing the Gospel which bears his name. He died as a martyr in Ethiopia.
What can we learn from Matthew? No matter what our past sins, including cheating others, we can still serve Jesus. We can bring our fellow "sinners" to hear the Good News of Jesus, and we can spread the Gospel wherever we go.
Series to be continued.
Richard Moser, Jr