What if you were sitting at a table . . any table . . and Jesus walked up to you, His steady gaze waiting until you turned your head back and looked into His eyes?

What would you say? What could you say?

This picture stunned me.

Matthew was a tax collector. That meant he was employed by the Romans. Thus, he was hated by his own Jewish population. They thought of him as a quisling (one who co-operates with an enemy-occupying force- I had to look that up). His only friends were other tax collectors. Because of his occupation, he was barred from worship.

Matthew 9:9-13 and Mark 2:13-17 both say: "and he got up and followed Him". NAS

Luke 5:27-28 states "and he left everything behind and got up and began to follow Him". NAS

Dr. Alexander Whyte, a great preacher of the nineteenth century, used to say the only thing Matthew took with him was his pen and ink.

An early Church historian called Papias wrote "Matthew collected the sayings of Jesus in the Hebrew tongue". We are forever grateful to Matthew . . we owe him the Sermon on the Mount and much of the teaching of Jesus.

Look closely at the 3 men right behind Jesus . . plus the one standing back, holding a little piece of pottery . . and notice the look on their faces. Possibly they are portraying the disciples of Jesus who are NOT happy campers about Jesus talking to a tax collector . . and will be even more unhappy as Matthew joins their group. To most Jewish men, perhaps all, Matthew was a traitor.

Do you know anyone you consider a traitor?

I prayed during the short time my blog and podcast were on hold. What did the Lord want me to do next?

Do YOU ever have the opportunity to be alone and pray?

Toward the end of last week my interest was piqued in the Gospel of Matthew. But . . I had been sorting through a closetful of books, laying aside any about the Gospel of John. Yet, I kept being drawn toward Matthew.

How do you discern what God wants you to do next?

A devotional book that I color in The Illustrated WORDS OF JESUS for Women www.Amazon.com is predominantly Matthew. Then I saw a new workbook on Kari Denker's site: www.ordinarykari.com Watching Jesus through Matthew which I can recommend as a very interesting way to study Matthew. It is a download to print out.

Please note the icon of 3 money bags or purses above the sailboat. This is the icon assigned to Matthew to remember that he was a tax gatherer before Jesus called him.

But I would much rather remember he designed / arranged / wrote the Gospel of Matthew which is inspired by the Holy Spirit. (I know, I know some scholars do not agree it was Matthew who wrote it . . and I am not a scholar . . but that is my humble opinion . . makes sense to me).

How do you want to be remembered? Actually, the only way we all need to be remembered is by the Lord!

This gospel, after all, was written with the Jewish people in mind. One of Matthew's goals was to show that all the prophecies in the Old Testament were fulfilled in Jesus. Here is the phrase that runs through it as many as 16 times:

"All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet. saying . . ."

Matthew's first interest was in his brother and sister Jews, but he also gave the quote from Jesus to the church: "Go ye therefore and teach all nations". Matthew 28:19. He also wrote what Jesus stated about His own Second Coming, the end of the world as we know it and the judgment.

Most of all, Matthew is teaching the gospel. He wrote with a system. (Did he learn that as a tax collector?). He logged the teachings of Jesus into sections which all had to do with the Kingdom of God. He also wrote with an end toward memorization. There were no printing presses in that age. Books were hand written. He arranged things in 3's and 7's.

The genealogy of Jesus is a good example of that. It shows that Jesus is the "Son of David". Finally, Matthew stresses the truth of Jesus as King. Jesus is shown as Royalty. Jesus was born to be King.


I have only watched part 1 as above.

I was really impressed. Matthew organized everything into an amazing tapestry of themes. Between the introduction and conclusion there are 5 "books". Each one concludes with a long block of the teachings of Jesus.

Next time we'll look into the genealogy of Jesus . . there are women . . and it won't be boring!

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