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​The Apostle Matthew

​The Apostle Matthew

Posted by Linda Presley on 5th Jun 2024

The Apostle Matthew

Many people throughout history have earned the title of great. Those called great have done remarkable things. As wonderful as they each were, none of their deeds compared to the sacrificial atoning work of Christ Jesus.

Apostle Matthew wrote about the great things of Christ. Jesus sacrificed Himself for the good of people and impacted both human history and the New Testament record.

Christ called to His apostles, one by one according to His perfect will and plan. Among them was Matthew.

Who was Apostle Matthew?

Matthew was one of the men called by Jesus. In response Matthew immediately, left behind his life work, and followed Christ (Matt. 9:9).

Matthew wrote a divinely inspired Bible Gospel which bears his name. He wrote in a manner dissimilar from the other Gospel writers.

Matthew's given name was Levi, translated means gift of Yahweh* [*Hebrew term for God].

His occupation was tax collector, which made him most hated by the Jewish community.

The citizens perceived tax collectors not only as cheats, but also as mercenaries working for the Roman government, which ruled over everything.

Chosen by Christ Jesus, Matthew served as His disciple. Matthew applied what he learned from Jesus in ministry and became a divinely inspired author. He later became a pastor in Damascus (Matt. 9:9).

He passionately collected and preserved Jesus’ sermons and ministry accounts as he served Christ's ministry on the earth.

What are the themes of the Gospel of Matthew?

The important themes of the Gospel of Matthew are salvation, faith in Christ, called for special service, and following Jesus.

When Jesus called, all the disciples immediately responded and followed Him. They recognized the calling as a special duty. They stepped out in faith, leaving behind their old life and went eagerly to serve Jesus.

What were their rewards for following Jesus?

Christ first equipped those who followed Him for discipleship. There are many rewards for following Jesus. Importantly, the reward was knowing Him more intimately. Jesus taught them about Himself, His ministry, revealed Himself and God to each person in unique and detailed ways.

They, in turn, each made an impact upon the world after spending just a few years with the LORD.

Consider for a moment how the disciples must have felt coming from a small town, leaving, and becoming famous worldwide for centuries! That was the outcome of saying yes to His calling.

The most important aspect of following Jesus was that they would become like Him (Matt. 10:25).

This renewing of heart and mind is the same promise for all followers of Jesus. He will make each more like Him. And equip many to go throughout the world, serving and making disciples.

At the start of Christ’s ministry on earth few people knew of Jesus. He had not broadcast that He was the Son of God. His reputation was of an excellent rabbi, knowledgeable of Jewish religion.

Why did the apostles so readily follow Him?

The Jewish community in Galilee, where the twelve grew up, was known as the most religious at that time. Additionally, they had more interaction with the outside world living along the sea trade route.

This gave them more opportunities to hone their evangelistic skills. These factors worked to strengthen their spiritual commitment to the LORD.

Matthew and the other disciples were also more educated in the scriptures and had developed a deep, sincere reverence for God. They had a powerful desire to be faithful to Him.

Their upbringing taught, supported, and focused them to be disciples. They desired to be like their teachers, the rabbis.

Jesus entered their lives and they saw an impressive man with a good reputation as a respected teacher. Jesus was calling to their hearts and minds to follow Him. They grabbed the opportunity before them.

Christ, all-knowing, stepped into His creation to save His own. In His perfect timing and location, He came to bring mercy and justice. It is an offense to God to acquit the guilty, or to condemn those who are not guilty (Proverbs 17:15). Jesus came to fulfill His perfect plan. The men were ready to follow Him.

Why did Jesus choose the disciples?

God was upholding His character as merciful and just. He sent His one and Only Son, Jesus to spread His gospel message, and build up the future church and its leaders.

The men and women He chose as disciples would be an example of serving others. The faithful who followed him would witness firsthand His miracles and fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies.

How did Jesus choose His Apostles?

Jesus called to the ones He foreknew would follow Him. The Psalm of David, Psalm 139:4NIV supports Christ’s all-knowing abilities. It reads: You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. He defined their paths.

Christ Jesus knew what the apostles-to-be would answer before He called to them. To Andrew and Peter, Christ said, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.

One after another each accepted and followed Christ’s calling. (Matt. 4:19-22). From the perspective of these chosen men, the invitation was a vote of confidence for them personally.

The call filled a desire within them to learn more about their faith and religious beliefs. In the moment Christ Jesus called to them, they truly had no idea just how much they would learn and be exposed to through the Son of God (Matt. 4:19). Their lives drastically changed.

How to apply Christ’s Wisdom and Purpose in Your Life.

A redeemed soul has the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide and direct a personal walk with Jesus. Starting with prayer, the next step is to seek His wisdom. Seeking the LORD’s wisdom is the central theme in a believer’s life.

King Solomon, from the Old Testament, is known for his wisdom. He advises everyone to seek wisdom and understanding, even if it means giving up everything we have (Matt 4:7).

Solomon learned this lesson the hard way. He lost his way, degree by degree. He turned away from divine wisdom and focused his life upon pride and luxury. Wisdom comes from learning about Jesus according to the Bible.

Keep in mind: There is a difference between “knowing” Jesus and “knowing of” Jesus.

Jesus pursued His apostles. We need to pursue Jesus.

Jesus asked, "Who do people say that I am?

Years after teaching His apostles, Jesus took them away from the crowds and onlookers and asked, “Who do people say that I am? (Matt. 16:13-14). Of course, He knew what they would say.

With His question, He was teaching and testing them and revealing the contents of their hearts. His words documented in the Holy Scriptures also reveal the effect of spending daily time with Him and the beneficial effects of developing years of Christ-centered ministry.

The redeemed must dig deep into the Word to discover Jesus' character and commands. In this the redeemed learns more about Christ's will and their unique purpose and personal journey with Jesus.

Who can be a Fisher of people?

In the broadest sense of the word Christ’s disciples were and are fishers of people. All redeemed are fishers of people.

The definition of disciple in the Greek is mathétés (math-ay-tes'). The basic usage of the term means a learner, disciple, pupil.

The Old and New Testaments document the many disciples of God.

The Book of Matthew specifically addresses the twelve apostles of Jesus, who were His disciples. He chose them, empowered them, and sent them out into the world to do His will.

The twelve were from various occupations. A few of the twelve were professional fisherman, brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew. They were highly skilled and knowledgeable fishers.

Jesus taught His apostles how to be fishers of men. He taught them with His words, witness, and commitment to God’s Truths.

Shields of Strength developed a line of men's and women’s Fishers of Men (People) Christian jewelry symbolizing some of the basic tools of the fishing sport and trade (Matt. 13:47-48).

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All redeemed are called to witness Jesus. No matter what career you have. You are called to toss out a big net for Jesus. To remind yourself of your personal calling, choose from among Shields of Strength’s treasure box of cross pendant necklaces or bracelets.

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Always Be intentional, your Lord is!