Who Was Matthew in the Bible: A Concise Overview of the Apostle and Author

In the Bible, Matthew was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ and played a significant role within the early Christian community. He was originally a tax collector, a profession often looked down upon in ancient Judaism. However, Jesus called Matthew to leave his occupation and follow Him, thus beginning Matthew’s transformation from a sinner to a disciple and spreading the teachings of Jesus.

A Concise Overview of the Apostle and Author
A Concise Overview of the Apostle and Author

As we delve deeper into Matthew’s life, we discover his contributions as a crucial figure in Christian history. Not only was he an apostle, but he is also traditionally regarded as one of the four Evangelists, having authored the Gospel of Matthew. This gospel, part of the New Testament, provides valuable details about Jesus’ life, his genealogy, teachings, and the numerous miracles he performed. By understanding the life of Matthew, we gain a greater appreciation for his significant role in shaping the Christian faith.

Identity of Matthew in the Bible

who was matthew in the bible
Identity of Matthew in the Bible

Matthew’s Early Life and Occupation

Matthew, also known as Levi, was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ. He is traditionally regarded as the author of the Gospel of Matthew. Before he became a disciple, Matthew worked as a tax collector in the ancient Roman province of Judea. Tax collectors during this period were often greatly disliked because they were seen as collaborating with the oppressive Roman regime.

As a tax collector, Matthew was likely familiar with the Roman system of taxation, their language, and their customs. This knowledge may have influenced his gospel, which often emphasizes Jesus’ teachings on social justice and the proper use of wealth.

Matthew’s Calling by Jesus

The Bible provides accounts of Matthew’s calling to become a disciple of Jesus in the books of Matthew 9:9-13, Mark 2:14-17, and Luke 5:27-32. In these passages, Jesus approaches Matthew at his tax booth and invites him to follow Him. Matthew immediately leaves everything behind and follows Jesus, becoming one of His twelve apostles.

Throughout their time together, Matthew and the other apostles witnessed the life, teachings, and miracles of Jesus. They also played a significant role in the early Christian church after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

In addition to his gospel account, Matthew is mentioned in the lists of the twelve apostles in Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, and Acts 1:13, which further solidify his status as one of the important figures in early Christianity.

Matthew’s Role in the Gospel

Matthew's Role in the Gospel
Matthew’s Role in the Gospel

Authorship of the Gospel of Matthew

Matthew, also known as Levi, was one of Jesus Christ’s twelve disciples and is best known as the author of the Gospel of Matthew. As a tax collector, Matthew had a unique perspective on Jesus’ teachings and the events of His life. His Gospel offers an accurate and inspired account of Jesus’ life, making it an essential part of the Christian faith. Some scholars believe that the Gospel of Matthew was the first to be written among the four Gospels.

Themes in the Gospel of Matthew

The Gospel of Matthew emphasizes numerous themes and messages which help illuminate Jesus’ teaching and his mission. Some of the key themes include:

  1. Fulfillment of Old Testament Prophecies: Matthew frequently quotes the Old Testament to show that Jesus fulfilled many of its prophecies. This demonstrates that Jesus is indeed the long-awaited Messiah (Matthew 5:17).
  2. Kingdom of Heaven: The Gospel of Matthew often refers to the “Kingdom of Heaven,” highlighting the importance of this concept in Jesus’ teachings. Through His parables and actions, Jesus teaches about how to enter and behave in the Kingdom of Heaven.
  3. Teachings and Parables: Numerous teachings and parables of Jesus can be found in the Gospel of Matthew, including the Sermon on the Mount and parables like the Parable of the Sower or the Parable of the Talents. These teachings provide guidance on living a moral and righteous life.
  4. The Great Commission: One of the most well-known passages in the Gospel of Matthew is the Great Commission, where Jesus instructs His disciples to go to all nations, teaching and baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:16-20). This command is fundamental to the Christian faith and has inspired generations of believers to spread the Gospel.

Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, we can see Matthew’s unique role as an author, providing a detailed account of Jesus Christ’s life, teachings, and mission. His Gospel remains an essential part of the foundation of Christianity and continues to inspire and guide believers today.

Historical Context of Matthew’s Life

who was matthew in the bible
Historical Context of Matthew’s Life

Jewish Society and Expectations

As we delve into the historical context of Matthew’s life, it is essential to understand the Jewish society and expectations at the time. Matthew was a Jew living in Israel during the Roman occupation. This period was marked by the Jewish people’s yearning for the long-awaited Messiah to deliver them from oppression.

In this society, adherence to the Mosaic Law and traditions held great importance. The religious leaders, known as Pharisees and Sadducees, played significant roles in regulating religious and social practices. They were deeply knowledgeable in the Torah and often held positions in the Sanhedrin, the Jewish council.

Roman Occupation and Taxation Practices

During the time of Matthew, Israel was under Roman occupation, which brought new complexities to the lives of the Jewish people. The Romans had a vast empire, and to maintain control over their provinces, they employed regional governors. Their influence over the Jewish population was evident in taxation practices, economic structures, and even architecture.

Taxation was a critical aspect of the Roman administration and was often met with resistance from the Jewish people due to both religious and socio-economic reasons. Tax collectors were recruited from among the local population, and Matthew, also known as Levi, was one of them.

Working for the Romans as a tax collector, Matthew would have been seen as a traitor to his fellow Jews, since collectors were not only considered collaborators but also notorious for financial exploitation. Often, they would collect more than what was due and keep the excess for themselves, further intensifying societal animosity.

In conclusion, understanding the historical context of Matthew’s life provides essential context for comprehending his experiences and perspectives.

Theological Significance of Matthew

Theological Significance of Matthew
Theological Significance of Matthew

Genealogy and Fulfillment of Prophecy

In the Gospel of Matthew, the author emphasizes the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, starting with the genealogy of Jesus in the first chapter. The genealogy presents Jesus as the descendant of important biblical figures like Abraham and David, highlighting that Jesus is of the royal line and thus the promised Messiah.

We can see how Matthew portrays Jesus as the fulfillment of these prophecies:

  • Abraham: As the father of the nation, the promise made to Abraham was that through him, all nations would be blessed (Genesis 12:3). Matthew demonstrates how Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of this promise as the Messiah for both Jews and Gentiles.
  • David: Matthew’s Gospel emphasizes that Jesus is the Son of David, the promised king who would sit on David’s throne forever (2 Samuel 7:12-13). This connection solidifies Jesus’ role as the prophesied ruler of God’s kingdom.
  • Messiah: Numerous prophecies in the Old Testament foretold the coming of the Messiah. In his Gospel, Matthew quotes these prophecies and demonstrates their fulfillment through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Examples include Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:5-6) and His entrance into Jerusalem riding a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:4-5).

Matthew as Bridge Between Old and New Testament

The Gospel of Matthew serves as a bridge between the Old and New Testaments. By connecting Jesus to the Old Testament, Matthew emphasizes that the Gospel is a continuation of God’s plan, rather than a new and separate religion.

We can see this bridge in key themes found within Matthew:

  • Kingdom of Heaven: Matthew frequently refers to the “kingdom of heaven,” emphasizing how Jesus brings the reign of God on earth. This connects to Old Testament expectations of a coming kingdom (Daniel 2:44).
  • Teachings and Sermons: Jesus’ teachings, such as the Sermon on the Mount, demonstrate a new and deeper understanding of the law and prophets of the Old Testament. Jesus proclaims that He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, not to abolish them (Matthew 5:17).
  • Parables: Through His parables, Jesus reveals the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven in a way that connects with the Old Testament wisdom literature and prophetic tradition. These stories serve to illuminate the truths of God’s kingdom and invite the reader to reflect on their own spiritual journey.

By revealing the Old Testament foundations of Jesus’ ministry and mission, Matthew helps us understand the continuity of God’s plan and the significance of Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy and the bridge between the Old and New Testaments.

Matthew’s Legacy

who was matthew in the bible
Matthew’s Legacy

Matthew, also known as Levi, was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ and has had a significant impact on the early church. As a former tax collector, he was considered an outcast in ancient Judaism, yet found redemption in following Christ. This transformation is an excellent example of how Jesus accepts even those with a troubled past.

Upon being chosen as a disciple, Matthew played a crucial role in the growth of the early church. He is best known as the author of the Gospel of Matthew, which is the longest of the four Gospels in the New Testament. This Gospel provides an accurate and detailed account of the life and teachings of Jesus, making it an essential source of knowledge for Christians.

As tradition suggests, Matthew’s influence extended beyond his authorship of the Gospel. Many in the early church considered him a saint due to his dedication to establishing the Christian faith. His passion for spreading the teachings of Christ inspired others to carry on his work, leading to the rapid growth of the church.

Matthew’s life also symbolically represents the power of redemption and forgiveness. As a tax collector, he was once despised by his community; however, his acceptance by Jesus and his subsequent work in the early church demonstrates that even those with a tarnished past can find healing and purpose through Christ.

Unfortunately, like many of his fellow apostles, Matthew is believed to have faced martyrdom, yet his sacrifice further solidified his commitment to the faith. His unwavering dedication to the Gospel and the Christian community established a lasting legacy that continues to resonate in the hearts of believers today.

In summary, the impact of Matthew’s life and work on the early church, as well as his authorship of the Gospel of Matthew, have made him an essential figure in Christian history. His story serves as a powerful reminder of redemption, perseverance, and the transformative power of faith.

Frequently Asked Questions

who was matthew in the bible
Frequently Asked Questions

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top