Back in Biblical times the religious leaders lumped sinners and tax collectors together saying they’d all go to hell. According to the Bible, a man named Matthew collected taxes for the Roman Empire which had an occupying force throughout much of the Middle-East so he was despised by many of his fellow Jews.
This is why it became such a big surprise to everyone that Jesus chose Matthew to be one of his disciples. He saw Matthew at a table collecting taxes and he walked up to him and said: “Follow me” and without question he did. The priests of the Jewish community used the fact that Jesus added a tax collector to his group to attack his ministry. Plus Jesus’ disciples were worried that Matthew would negatively affect their image so he had a lot of challenges trying to blend in with the group.
Jesus didn’t judge Matthew by what others saw but instead he judged his heart and it was a good call. Matthew was an outstanding disciple and he became one of their greatest evangelists who travelled to other countries spreading the word about Christianity. While on a mission trip he was captured and killed for preaching the gospel and became a martyr for the Christian church.
Many scholars attribute the Book of Matthew in the Bible to him and say that he was there when Jesus was crucified and witnessed Jesus’ resurrection which is what inspired him to preach the gospel. The Book of Matthew is amazing in so many ways but it’s Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount that he shares in his book that is the greatest speech I’ve ever known. The words Jesus spoke during this sermon thousands of years ago would still directly apply to us today and would make our world such an awesome place if we would live by them.