Summary: Jesus and Matthew. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:

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“Sign on door: "Gone out of business. Didn't know what our business was.”

That of course could never be said of Jesus Christ:

• He came for a purpose; he had an objective:

• And Matthew made it clear that Jesus has come to forgive sins.

• In these five verses, and in a very personal way,

• Matthew reveals how he had discovered that forgiveness first hand.

Jesus and Matthew (verses 9-10):

• In these verses this morning;

• Matthew actually records his own call to discipleship,

• And as he records his testimony, you will notice there is no exaggeration or boasting,

• But humility is very much a quality of his character that will shine through.

(1). An occupation (Verse 9a):

Matthew was a ‘tax-collector’.

• The main trade route from Syria to Egypt went through Galilee,

• And Capernaum acted as a tax station;

• It was a good station to be at, besides regular taxes paid by residents;

• Travellers had to stop, present their imported products to the tax official,

• And pay their taxes,

• Before they were allowed to go on.

• Matthew was apparently one of the tax officials working at this tax station..

• And each day he went to ‘the office’ or in his case the ‘tax-booth’.

These tax officials were very unpopular with the Jews (3 reasons why):


• Often they were extortioners,

• Making themselves rich by taking too much money from their fellow Jews.

• The Roman government devised a system;

• To collect taxes as efficiently and as cheaply as possible.

• They did this by auctioning the right to collect taxes in a certain area.

• The man who bought that right was responsible to the Roman government for an agreed sum;

• Anything he could raise over and above that;

• He was allowed to keep as commission.

Tax-collectors were very fraudulent:

• Not only did they fleece their own countrymen,

• But they also did their best to swindle the government,

• And they made a flourishing income by taking bribes from rich people;

• Who wished to avoid taxes which they should have paid.


When they asked John the baptiser, how they should live;

His reply was basically; “be honest!”


• They were also hated because they were working for the Romans,

• Although they worked for them indirectly.

• Again the Romans contracted out to people like the Herod’s.

• He ran the region on behalf of the Romans.


• They were disliked because they ignored the Jewish laws.

• This explains why the Pharisees called them ‘sinners’ (verse 11).


A sinner was someone who chose to live outside of God’s laws.

• e.g. If you worked on the Sabbath,

• e.g. If you did not follow dietary laws (ate pork).

According to Jewish law a tax-gatherer was excluded from the synagogue;

• He was included with things and beasts that were unclean,

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