Sue continued her series on the writers of the four Gospels and this week we finished with Matthew. Sue left Matthew till last because there is so little about him in the Bible! It doesn’t really matter as all we really need to know is that he was chosen by Jesus.
What we do know is that he was Jewish, sometimes called Levi, son of Alphaeus and was an educated man and a tax-collector. When he was called, he rose up and followed Jesus and left everything except one thing – his pen! He used his pen and deep knowledge of the Old Testament to write down the sayings and teachings of Jesus in Aramaic and they were translated into Greek by others. The book of Matthew is very much a Gospel for the Jews relating the Old Testament prophecies about their long-awaited Messiah to their fulfilment in Jesus.
Matthew would have been despised because of his profession as most were dishonest but he left his comfortable life for a life on the road following an itinerant and unknown teacher. Jesus accepted him just as he was and because He befriended sinners and visited them in their homes, many came to follow Him when they heard His teaching and saw how He spoke and lived His life. We thought about Zacchaeus another tax collector whose life was radically transformed after meeting Jesus and who may have known Matthew!
Sue challenged us to think about our attitudes towards people who have a bad reputation or whose lifestyle or preferences we don’t like or agree with! Do we really believe that God can transform lives?
We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God – Romans 3 v 23 yet when we meet Jesus and accept His call we are saved and changed by His undeserving grace because of God’s unfailing love for us.
We sang the lovely old hymn – “Just as I am” written by Charlotte Elliott to finish, but Sue concluded her talk with highlighting a particular verse:
Just as I am, thou wilt receive, wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because Thy promise, I believe, Oh Lamb of God, I come.