Matthew Introduction: Author

13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.

15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew Introduction:  Author

The author of Matthew was the apostle Matthew, also called Levi.  It is possible that he was of the Levitical, priestly tribe of Israel, but he was engaged in tax-collecting.  He had some kind of toll booth on the road outside Capernaum in northern Galilee.  When caravans of goods would pass that way, they would have to pay a toll to the Roman Empire.  Those who ran the booths would take a cut for themselves.  As Jesus passed this way he came to one of the hated toll booths.  As far as we know, Levi (Matthew) was no exception to the rule that tax-collectors were corrupt.  However, Levi knew that there was more to life than making money.  When given the opportunity to care for his soul and put financial gain behind him, Levi ditched his crooked toll booth.

Levi was the son of Alphaeus.  James, another disciple was also a son of Alphaeus, but it was probably a common name, not that these two were brothers.  His family of the time, though, were the outcast prostitutes and corrupt officials of northern Galilee.  He brought Jesus to them knowing that they were in as desperate a need of an out as he was.

Jesus provided Levi with an opportunity to change that no-one else would.  Too many people are bound by their past.  Levi is so radically transformed that he recorded his experiences with Jesus in order to convince his Jewish and Gentile hearers that The Anointed One had come.


  1. Where was Levi when Jesus found him?
  2. What did Levi do for Jesus?
  3. How do you think people know Matthew (Levi) is the author when he makes no claim to be the author within the book?
  4. Why would it be encouraging to you personally that someone who lived with low-life was so transformed?
  5. Why is knowing the human author of Matthew important to understanding its contents?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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3 Responses to Matthew Introduction: Author

  1. Carrie says:

    1. Levi was working a tollbooth.
    2. Levi followed Jesus and invited Him to dinner.
    3. It doesn’t appear to be written by a disciple because it doesn’t appear to be from a person close to Jesus that would know His feelings but it was someone that was at the dinner. Someone that was interested in the tax collectors.
    4. I think to remember how amazing God is and He can teach anyone no matter how far from God they are.
    5. It comes from the eyes and mouth if someone that started far from God. It shows how unbelievable transformations can be. That a tax collector could write a book of the bible is cool!

  2. HeeJin Choi says:

    1.Where was Levi when Jesus found him?
    -He was sittint at tax collector’s toll booth
    2.What did Levi do for Jesus?
    -He gave up on finacial gain and followed Jesus.
    3.How do you think people know Matthew (Levi) is the author when he makes no claim to be the author within the book?
    -According to my reserch, many evidences are shown to explain Matthew’s authorship. However, the evidence which is made in today’s passage is that Matthew’s Gospel is the only one which identifies the tax-collector whom Jesus called with Matthew the apostle.
    4.Why would it be encouraging to you personally that someone who lived with low-life was so transformed?
    -because the transformation gives assurance that the transformation can be occured in any sinner’s life as Jesus claimed no matter how corrupt the sinner is. There is hope.
    5.Why is knowing the human author of Matthew important to understanding its contents?
    – Studying the author’s background and mind-set can help for readers to comprehend the content and to penetrate author’s very thoughts and the purpose of his writing easily.

  3. Kelli says:

    There are several things I love about this passage. In verse 13 Jesus is surrounded by a large crowd. He is teaching them. But as far as we know, he doesn’t call any one of them into a close discipleship relationship. Then Jesus “sees” Matthew. What that moment must have been like! To be singled out of the crowd. And what that look must have communicated! And the simple words, follow me, that caused Matthew to leave everything he knew and follow Christ.

    This is one point that encourages me personally. That Jesus sees me. Really sees me with all of the sin and fear and distraction. And he chooses to call me anyhow–into a deep relationship with him.

    And this calling to follow Christ isn’t an abstract concept. He comes right into my life. Into my home. Into my relationships. Into the muck. To bring healing. He is here.

    I pray that today I can live aware of his presence. Aware of his probing stare. Aware of his healing power.

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