Before we set the study of Matthew aside, we will look at a few more things we know about him and some of the burning questions that drive me to write about his life.
Unique to Matthew is that he is the only one to tell us about Joseph’s story during Jesus’ birth. Matthew alone tells about the visit of the Magi. Only through Matthew do we know about the escape to Egypt and the eventual return of the family to Nazareth. Perhaps he obtained this info through friendship with Mary as she intermingled with the disciples.
Matthew gives us the sermon on the mount as well as other teachings and parables that the other gospel writers do not include.
We know about the assignment of Roman guards to the tomb and their later conspiracy with the chief priests only through Matthew’s writing.
When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ ” Matthew 27:12-13
So what do we know about Matthew himself? Scripture tells us that Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” (Matthew 9:9) He obviously did follow Jesus because he was chosen as one of the twelve disciples. We know that he invited his sinner friends to a dinner where they could meet Jesus, which shows us his witnessing nature. We can surmise he too was a “sinner.” And of course we learn that Matthew has the tag, the tax collector.
However, we never hear, “and Matthew said…”
We never hear, “and Matthew did…”
But every time the disciples did something, Matthew would have been there, hearing, watching, and speaking occasionally
So we look at the gospel he wrote to find other things about this man who was one of the twelve. We find him listening intently and recording parables and teachings that the other writers did not record. He appears organized and detailed. He portrays Jesus as the promised one with plenty of prophesies to go with it. He has knowledge of the Torah and the Writings.
One of my burning questions then is, what would cause this smart, outstanding son of David to lower himself to become a hated, sinful tax collector? Thus, the first part of my book will deal with the early years leading up to that position.
Eventually, we’ll explore other questions about his life as a disciple. How did they interact with one another. Did they whisper behind Matthew’s back about this tax collector? How did he overcome the stigma? With whom did he find friendship? How did they respond to Jesus’ teachings? 16,000 words so far, about 79,000 to go.
And now in the next weeks before Easter, we will look at a few of the events leading up to and including the crucifixion and resurrection. Hmm, maybe we’ll look at it through Matthew’s eyes.
~ Joyce ~