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.
~ Apart from Christ, Matthew was on his own. -- Christ's call to follow Him was a promise of salvation and fellowship.
~ Matthew was suddenly transformed, Yesterday, Matthew was a companion of sinners; today, a disciple; he would pen the great gospel called "Matthew".
~ Matthew would become the Lords fellow-worker, and an apostle, apostle means, "One sent, -- a special messenger."
~When Matthew obeyed the call "Follow Me," he surrendered to a Person. ~ Obedience, confession, and fellowship with Christ are all involved in the Lords command to follow Him. -- Matthew arose, left all, and followed Jesus.
~LEVI was his Jewish name; the name "Levi" was a link with a godly ancestry, all the priest were of the tribe of Levi, the 3rd. son of Jacob. [The 12 son's of Jacob make up the nation of Israel- 12 tribes] -- Only the Levites carried out the tasks to do with the portable Tabernacle, and later the stationary Temple. [When Israel was in their wilderness journey, the Levites would dismantle the Tabernacle when the LORD directed them to do so, and they would erect it again when they would stop for a time, the LORD led them by a pillar of cloud in the day time, and a pillar of fire by night.] and later the stationary Temple.
~ Zechariahs, the father of John the Baptist was a Levite, which means John was too.