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