Matthew, author of the 1st book of the New Testament, written anywhere from 9 to 20 years after the death of Jesus.
One of Jesus 12 hand selected apostles.
Matthew gave a little history.
Such and such happened that it the prophesises might be fulfilled (completed).
In Greek, the name Matthew means “gift of God”
He was a “Publican“ a person who held a job working for the Roman government.
Job: Collect money from the Hebrew people for the Romans, public taxes, tariffs, and customs.
There was no salary! In order to have money for himself, a tax-collector had to cheat people, to collect a little extra for himself. Also the highest bidder got the job.
Zacchaeus a Publican in Jericho was probably a colleague.
He knew Aramaic and Greek. He could write, read, multiply, divide, handle many figures and calculations, be precise. Know prices of grain, oil and olive oil. He ran money tables.
He knew geography, history, politics, religion, the writings of the Old Testament and current events.
He skilled in dealings with other people.
He was rich enough to own 2 houses.
His work place”, and his huge villa home in Capernaum, used for large gatherings of the publicans.
He had influential social and political contacts.
He went to court in Tiberias to settle his accounts with Herod.
There was fraud, extortion and greed amongst tax collectors. A money lender for people who needed quick cash, maybe loan sharks.
A good Jew would not touch such scandalously earned money.
People also deceived, swindled, or robbed the tax collectors as pay back or revenge.
Good devout Jews considered these Jewish workers of the Roman government traitors of their own people and the Jewish religion.
Devout Jews called tax collectors a disgrace, thieves, and robbers, and lumped them with murders, assassins and criminals.
A good Jew would not touch such scandalously earned money.
Matthew had a deep belief and great trust in the word of God.
What was the use of all this money if his own people outlawed him.
Matthew may have himself been disgusted by Herod and the whole tax collecting system.
If Herod asked for a fatter purse, Matthew had to squeeze more money out of the people, in order to maintain his own high standard of living. .
What an unjust system.
Matthew was ready to be freed from the curse of money.
Jesus had started preaching “Change your life. God’s kingdom is here”.
That beginning right now they were under God’s government, a good government.
Matthew must have thought this new life was a true salvation, a source of real happiness.
Plus Jesus had been working miracles.
Jesus Invitation to Matthew to “Come along with me”changed the whole world for Matthew.
Was Matthew thinking of himself when he quoted from Isaiah’s. The people who sat out their lives in darkness in the country of death, saw a huge light, watched the sun come up.
Mark & Luke called him Matthew “Levi” tax collector. Was he a descendant of the old tribe of Levi who collected tithes for the temple? Or was it because of his job working for the Roman government collecting taxes?
Did Jesus change Matthews name to show Matthew was converted to living a better life, and to remove any prejudices towards Matthew?
Matthew threw a big banquet to celebrate his retirement from his old way of life.
At the banquet table a great gathering of publicans (many of them made rich by lying and cheating people). Others were at the table with them, and Jesus was there.
The scribes and the Pharisees said Jesus was setting a bad example being cozy with crooks and riffraff. Matthew 9: 10-11.
Matthew gives Jesus answer to the Scribes & Pharisees. “Who needs a doctor the healthy or the sick?” “I am after mercy not religion”. Matt: 9:12-13
Matthew alone noted a further remark. “Go and figure out what this means”.
Matthew became a ray of hope for sinners who thought they are beyond God‘s mercy and love. It was available to Social Outcasts, even tax-collectors.
Matthew stuck to the facts. An orderly logical account of the words of Jesus, with frequent writings about money and coins. Mentioning 10 different pieces of money.
Matthew recorded Jesus words about money. “Do not hoard treasure here on earth where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or -worse!-stolen by burglars.” 6:19-21 You can’t worship God and money.” 6:24
Matthew “You have been treated generously, so live (give generously).’’ 10:5-8.
Matthew went into more detail about what wasn’t needed on their mission journey.
The others wrote don’t take money. Matthew added do not keep gold, or silver, in your girdles.
He recorded finding the coin in the mouth of the fish for Jesus & Peter to pay their taxes. Matt: 17:26-27.
He recorded the parable of the treasure hidden for years in a field and accidentally found by a trespasser, who proceeded to sell everything he has to buys the field . Matt: 13:44.
Matthew 16:24-26 Money is good only when it is put to good use at the disposal of love and more important justice. “What kind of deal is it to get all the profit, gain, everything material you want, but lose your own soul?’’
Matthew explained 18:23-35 The King who erased a servants debt of $100,000 was furious when that servant grabbed his fellow servant who owed him only$10 and had him arrested. Since the man who received mercy from the King did not show mercy the King but the boots to this servant to make sure he repaid the whole $100,000.
Matthew wrote about the estate manager hire labourers at the town square early in the morning to work in the vineyard. Then hired more labourers at 9, 12, 3 and 5 o’clock. At the end of the day the manager gave all the workers the same pay for the day. To the ones who worked longer and were grumbling they should then get more than what they had originally agreed to, the manager answered, “Can’t I do what I want with my own money. Are you going to get stingy because I am generous.”
Only Matthew wrote about the man going abroad and entrusting 5 talents to each of 3 servants. Matt:25; 14 -30.
Matthew carefully noted how many pieces of silver Judas settled on being paid by the high Priest. To betray Jesus. Matt: 26: 14-16. Matt: 27: 1 -2
Matthew wrote on 6 occasions about Jesus words that contradicted the Jews notion of an earthly, National Messiah. It wasn’t about an earthly royal kingdom.“ You have heard it said to the ancients… But I say to you…
In this new Messianic Kingdom there are no races, no classes, no castes.
For 15 years Matthew preached in Hebrew to the Jewish community in Judia.
Later he preached in Ethiopia, Macedonia, Persia, & Parthia.
In the year 200. Pantaenus, head master of the Catechetical School of Alexandria went to India-Arabia the southern part of present day Arabia. He mentioned the Gospel of Matthew, written in the language of the Hebrews was brought to the sections of India that bordered Ethiopia, by the apostle Bartholomew.
Even Muslim/Islamac writings speak of Matthew and Andrew who went to Ethiopia to preach the message of God.
It is also recorded that in Pontius, Andrew saved Matthew from the cannibals who wanted to consume him.
An Ethiopic legends says Matthew raised the King’s daughter from the dead, and that act converted the royal family and the entire district under its rule.
But Matthew was opposed the brother of the King’s brother’s intention to marry his niece, the girl Matthew had raised from the dead. So the King’s brother had Matthew killed by the sword.
Others record Matthew died a martyrs death by the spear or sword.
Matthew’s remains were supposedly taken to Paestum an ancient Greco-Roman, City of Southern Italy. Then in the 10th century moved 40 KL north to Salerno, Italy where they are honoured today.
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