Summary: Matthew was probably more notorious as a sinner than any of the 12, because he was a publican, tax collector for Rome. -- In Jesus' day, land and poll taxes were collected directly by Roman officials, but taxes on transported goods were contracted out.
#11~ MATTHEW: APOSTLES 2-15-14
~ Today we'll continue with our study of the 12 Apostles, and today we'll talk for a few minutes about the apostle Matthew.
Matthew was probably more notorious as a sinner than any of the 12, because he was a publican, tax collector for Rome.
~ He worked in or around Capernaum under the authority of Herod Antipas.
~ In Jesus' day, land and poll taxes were collected directly by Roman officials, but taxes on transported goods were contracted out to local collectors.
~ Matthew was such a person. - These middlemen paid an agreed-upon sum in advance to the Roman officials for the right to collect taxes in an area. Their profit came from the excess they could squeeze from the people.
~ The Jewish people hated these tax collectors not only for their corrupt ways but also because they worked for and with the despised Romans, when a Jew accepted such a position, he was looked upon as one who had sacrificed his patriotism and sold himself for gain to Rome.
~ They were as offensive to Jews for their economic and social practices as lepers were for their uncleanness; both were excluded from the people of God.
~Tax collectors were ranked with murderers and robbers, and harlots; a Jew was permitted to lie to them if necessary.
~ Matthew may have been among the multitude that heard Jesus when He preached the Sermon on the Mount. -- found in Matt. chapters 5-7.
~ In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus states the spiritual character and quality of the kingdom which He would have established if the JEWS had received Him.
~ But HE knew that they would reject Him. -- In the parable about the certain nobleman going into a far country to receive a kingdom for Himself but was rejected, He was talking about Himself.
> Luke 19:11-12 & 14 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. -- 12He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. ---- 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
~ There on the Mt. Jesus began His teachings by stating the way to happiness.
~ We've all heard of "The Beatitudes" (5:2--12) --- "The Beatitudes" are for us today as well. = the eight declarations of blessedness made by Jesus at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount.
~ A "beatitude" is a state of supreme happiness in regard to the blessedness of those who are distinguished by certain specified virtues.
~ The Beatitudes describe the ideal disciple, and his rewards, both present and future. --- The person whom Jesus describes in this passage has a different quality of character and lifestyle than those still "outside the kingdom."
~ All of the 12 left what ever had been their previous occupations, but Matthew probably would be leaving a more prosperous occupation than the rest.
~ In Matthew case, none of the Jews would have fellowship with him, he was a publican, an out cast in their eyes, -- but Jesus offered Matthew Himself, as Savior and Friend.