"And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him."
(Matthew 9:9 KJV)
Matthew was a Galilean and the son of Alpheus. The Bible first talks of Matthew when he was in Capernaum in his tax booth on the main highway, collecting duties on imported goods brought by farmers, merchants, and caravans and Jesus told him, "Follow Me."(Matthew 9:9). Under the Roman Empire's rules, Matthew would have paid all the taxes in advance and then collected from the citizens and travelers to reimburse himself. No one could successfully object because the tax collector had Roman soldiers to back him up.
Matthew's real name was Levi before he was called by Jesus. It is unknown whether Jesus renamed him Matthew or whether Matthew changed it himself, but it means "the gift of God." He was a tax collector, he may have been the apostle with the best education because, he would have been literate in Aramaic and Greek and he kept detailed records for Rome. Matthew was known as an accurate record keeper and someone who observed people carefully. He used these traits 20 years later when he wrote the Gospel of Matthew. He used his experience for Our Awesome God's glory. He spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, God's Son wherever he went.
We are not certain of the rest of Matthew's life but it is told that he preached for 15 years in Jerusalem before going out on the mission field into other countries. He is said to have died a martyr for Jesus Christ, but we do not know where or when.
Matthew's life changed radically when he answered Jesus Christ's call. He did not hesitate nor did he ever seem to look back. As a tax collector, his life would have been one of wealth and security. He traded it for a life of poverty and uncertainty, then death, but he has eternal life with Jesus Christ!
Matthew changed because he, like the Christian, saw something in Jesus Christ that he saw in no other person. He knew that Jesus Christ was Our Awesome God's son when he was called to follow Him.
We (as a church) want all people in church, worshipping Our Awesome God with faith and obedience every Sunday. If you are not yet a Christian, it is time that you should know and love Our Awesome God as your Creator and Savior. Join us at Living Word Baptist Church as we pray and worship Him this Sunday at 10:30 AM and at 6:00 PM for Bible Study and AWANA, a program for children which goes until 7:30 PM. On Wednesdays, we meet at 7:00 PM for Prayer Meeting, and a Bible Study follows until 8:00 PM. We love visitors!
Flo & Bill