Previously, in part I, we highlighted that Matthew’s name appears in 4 lists: Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13. And we posed the question as to whether we could see some differences in the lists.
Did you notice that in three of the four, Matthew is listed with his name only and no descriptor. But in Matthew 10:3 we see: Matthew the tax collector.
Isn’t it interesting that only in the list that Matthew wrote that his occupation is highlighted?!
Flip back to Matthew 9:9-13 the one other place in the Gospel of Matthew that Matthew mentioned himself.
As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him. Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
What did Matthew feel when he began to follow of Jesus? Though we can’t read Matthew’s mind when he penned the Gospel passages here, but it probably isn’t too much of a stretch to suspect that Matthew had an overwhelming sense of the grace of Jesus in allowing him into the company of his followers. Tax collectors were hated people! Yet, Jesus had the audacity to talk to them and dine with them. This was scandalous! And so Matthew probably felt a mixture of joy and unworthiness. And indeed, isn’t that what grace is: unmerited favor?
And so when Matthew got to writing the episode of the selection of the Twelve, he remembered: Jesus called me to be one of the Twelve, yes me, a wretched hated tax collector.
What do you notice there?
Answers below the artwork.
We find out that Matthew was apparently also known by the name Levi.
We find out the party of “tax collectors and sinners” was at his home.
And we find out that he is the son of Alphaeus which might mean he was the brother of one of the other 12 disciples.
To be continued …