Matthew: The Writer of the First Gospel

The New Testament of the Bible introduces us to Matthew, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ and the writer of the first Gospel. His Gospel account is a cornerstone of Christian scripture, providing unique insights into the life, teachings, and ministry of Jesus. In this exploration, we delve into the life of Matthew, his transformation from a tax collector to a disciple, and the significance of his Gospel.

The Tax Collector Called by Jesus

Matthew’s journey begins with an occupation that often drew disdain in his time: he was a tax collector. In the Roman-ruled region of Judea, tax collectors were seen as collaborators with the oppressors, and their profession was synonymous with greed and dishonesty.

However, Matthew’s life took a remarkable turn when he encountered Jesus. The Gospel of Matthew records this pivotal moment:

“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.” (Matthew 9:9, NIV)

With a single invitation, Matthew left behind his tax collector’s booth and embarked on a life-changing journey as one of Jesus’s closest disciples.

Matthew’s Gospel: A Unique Perspective

Matthew’s Gospel is distinct from the other three Gospels—Mark, Luke, and John—in several ways:

Jewish Perspective

Matthew’s account is notably focused on reaching a Jewish audience. He frequently references Old Testament prophecies, aiming to show how Jesus fulfills them. His Gospel emphasizes Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah.

Teaching and Discipleship

Matthew’s Gospel contains extensive collections of Jesus’s teachings, including the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), parables, and lessons on discipleship. It provides profound guidance on Christian living and faith.

Miracles and Healings

Matthew vividly describes Jesus’s miracles and healings, emphasizing His divine authority. These accounts reveal the compassionate nature of Jesus and His concern for those in need.

The Great Commission

Matthew concludes his Gospel with the Great Commission, where Jesus instructs His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19, NIV). This commission has been a guiding principle for Christian evangelism and missionary work.

Matthew’s Transformation: From Tax Collector to Evangelist

Matthew’s transformation is a testament to the power of Jesus’s call. He went from being a tax collector—viewed with suspicion and contempt by his fellow Jews—to becoming a disciple and an evangelist. His willingness to leave behind a lucrative profession to follow Jesus illustrates the radical change that Christ’s presence can bring to a person’s life.

Matthew’s story reminds us that no one is beyond the reach of Jesus’s transformative love and grace. It also emphasizes that God often chooses the most unlikely individuals to carry out His divine purposes.

Matthew’s Gospel and Its Timeless Significance

The Gospel according to Matthew continues to impact and inspire believers around the world. Through Matthew’s meticulous account, we gain profound insights into the life and teachings of Jesus. We witness the transformative power of faith and the extraordinary potential that lies within each of us when we respond to Jesus’s call.

As we read and study Matthew’s Gospel, we are invited to embrace its teachings, follow the example of Matthew’s transformation, and carry the message of Christ’s love and redemption to all nations, just as he did. Matthew’s legacy endures as a testament to the life-changing power of encountering Jesus Christ.