The apostle Matthew, also known as Levi, was one of the twelve disciples chosen by Jesus Christ to accompany Him during His ministry. Prior to his call to discipleship, Matthew worked as a tax collector, a profession that was often despised in his time.
Matthew’s transformation from a tax collector to a disciple of Jesus is a notable testament to the transformative power of Jesus’ teachings and his call to follow Him.
As one of the twelve apostles, Matthew played a crucial role in witnessing Jesus’ miracles, listening to His teachings, and spreading the message of Christianity after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
Traditionally, Matthew is believed to be the author of the Gospel of Matthew, which bears his name and is the first book in the New Testament.
This Gospel provides a detailed account of the life and teachings of Jesus, emphasizing His role as the Messiah and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. The apostle Matthew’s story serves as an inspirational example of faith and obedience to Jesus’ call.
Matthew in the Bible Facts
1. Author of the Gospel of Matthew
Matthew is traditionally believed to be the author of the Gospel of Matthew, one of the four canonical Gospels in the New Testament. This Gospel is an account of the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
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While the Gospel itself does not explicitly state that Matthew was the author, early Christian tradition attributed it to him. This tradition has been passed down through the centuries.
2. Was a tax collector before becoming a disciple
Before becoming one of Jesus’ disciples, Matthew worked as a tax collector in Capernaum. Tax collectors in ancient Israel were often viewed with suspicion and considered traitors because they collected taxes for the Roman authorities.
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In the New Testament, Matthew’s call to discipleship is described in Matthew 9:9-13. Jesus saw Matthew sitting at the tax booth and called him to follow Him. Matthew immediately left his tax collection duties to become a follower of Jesus.
3. One of the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus
After responding to Jesus’ call, Matthew became one of the twelve apostles, who were chosen by Jesus to be His closest followers and to play a significant role in spreading His teachings.
As an apostle, Matthew was part of the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples and witnessed many of His miracles, teachings, and interactions with people.
Matthew’s role as an apostle and Gospel writer highlights his importance in the early Christian community and his contribution to preserving the life and teachings of Jesus for future generations.
4. Wrote the first book in the New Testament
Matthew is credited with writing the Gospel of Matthew, which is the first book of the New Testament in the Christian Bible. It holds a prominent position as the opening Gospel, introducing the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
This Gospel is written in Greek and is believed to have been composed sometime between 70 and 90 AD. It provides a detailed account of Jesus’ ministry, emphasizing His role as the Messiah and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies.
5. Gospel directed toward a Jewish audience
The Gospel of Matthew is often seen as having a particular focus on a Jewish audience. It contains numerous references to the Old Testament, including quotations from prophetic passages and connections to Jewish history and tradition.
Matthew’s Gospel presents Jesus as the fulfillment of Jewish messianic expectations, tracing His genealogy back to King David and Abraham to establish His rightful lineage.
6. Begins with a genealogy of Jesus
The Gospel of Matthew opens with a genealogy that traces the lineage of Jesus Christ, highlighting His ancestry and connecting Him to significant figures in Jewish history. This genealogy serves to establish Jesus’ royal and Messianic credentials.
Matthew’s genealogy is divided into three sets of fourteen generations, symbolically structured to emphasize key moments in Israel’s history, leading up to the arrival of Jesus as the Messiah.
7. Contains the Sermon on the Mount
The Gospel of Matthew is famous for containing the “Sermon on the Mount,” one of the most significant and revered teachings of Jesus. This sermon is found in chapters 5 to 7 of Matthew.
The Sermon on the Mount includes the Beatitudes, a series of blessings that describe the character and values of those who are blessed by God. It also contains teachings on subjects such as love, forgiveness, prayer (including the Lord’s Prayer), and ethical behavior.
Many of these teachings set high moral and ethical standards for believers, emphasizing qualities like humility, righteousness, and a love for one’s enemies.
8. Records numerous miracles and parables of Jesus
The Gospel of Matthew records various miracles performed by Jesus, showcasing His divine power and compassion. These miracles include the feeding of the five thousand, walking on water, healing the sick, and raising the dead.
Matthew also includes a collection of parables told by Jesus. Parables are short, memorable stories with spiritual or moral lessons. Some well-known parables found in Matthew include the Parable of the Sower, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
9. Includes the Great Commission
Toward the end of the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 28:16-20), Jesus gives His disciples what is known as the Great Commission. He instructs them to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Great Commission is a call to spread the message of Jesus and His teachings to people of all nations, a mission that has been foundational to Christian evangelism and missionary work throughout history.
10. Concludes with the account of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
The Gospel of Matthew concludes with an account of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. It describes Jesus’ betrayal, trial, crucifixion, burial in a tomb, and His triumphant resurrection on the third day.
This narrative is central to Christian theology, as it signifies Jesus’ victory over sin and death, offering the promise of salvation and eternal life to believers.