The Apostles – Becoming Unified Through Diversity

Lesson 7: “Matthew - A First-Century Businessman Who Learned To Put God First”


“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…” Matthew 6:19


Corruption Personified

·        The Roman government was a strange dichotomy. It had a great system of laws and justice, but it was also corrupt, and bribery was common. Tax collectors were a part of this system. The job went to the highest bidder, and collectors could keep for themselves anything above and beyond what the government required. A successful collector could even develop his own infrastructure, with others working for him, taking a cut of what they bring in. No wonder then that tax collectors were not highly regarded (Matt. 9:10)

·        Zaccheus is an example of what collectors could achieve (Luke 19:2, 8)

·        Matthew was wealthy. His booth in Capernaum was on a heavily traveled trade route. Perhaps he even collected taxes from Peter's et. al.  fishing business. If so, those four men must have wondered why Jesus wanted Matthew as a disciple!


A decision few men make

·        Compare Matthew and Mark's account of Matthew's calling (Matt. 9:9; Mark 2:13) Like the first four disciples, Matthew probably knew of Jesus before being called.

·        Matthew had probably heard the message Jesus later declared in Matt. 6:19-21. Matthew had seen Peter, James, John and Andrew leave their fishing business.

·        Matthew gave a great banquet, a clue to his wealth (Luke 5:29) Interesting how the so-called religious men of the day reacted (Luke 5:30) These people placed great importance on outward appearances of piety, but Jesus declared why he came (Luke 5:31,32)

·        Matthew received a new name, rather like Peter. Mark and Luke identify Matthew as 'Levi' before he became an apostle (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27) But after his calling, they both used the name 'Matthew' (Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15). Matthew used the new name exclusively. Perhaps he was ashamed of the name 'Levi'. His new name meant 'gift of Jehovah'.


What he wrote

·        Matthew recorded more of the words of Jesus than any other Gospel. He recorded more of the Sermon on the Mount, perhaps indicating the impact its message had on him

·        Matthew was writing to a Jewish audience, to convince them that Jesus was the Messiah. He was more quotations and allusions from the OT than any other NT author. He traces Jesus' ancestry from Abraham. He records the coming of the Magi to worship the infant king (Jesus). He emphasizes Jesus as the 'Son of David'. He doesn't explain Jewish customs, whereas Mark does (Mark wrote for Romans)

·        His Gospel contains 5 great discourses, perhaps to reflect the 5 books of Moses


3 Principles


#1) Jesus wants all Christians to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness

#2) Jesus is still looking for people of mean who will faithfully use their resources to build the kingdom

#3) Jesus wants generous Christians to become models and examples to others


Thank you for being such a wonderful class!