How did someone so hated become a disciple?

There is hope for us..

St Matthew
Matthew was the son of Alphaeus and he was born in Galilee.

He was a tax collector and tax collectors were a hated group of people, they worked for the Romans. His work involved applying pressure on unwilling people to pay their taxes.  People weren’t happy when they met him and he didn’t have many friends.  The system of tax collecting in those days was open to great abuse, the collectors made themselves rich by taking some of the money for themselves.  No Jewish Rabbi would consider eating with them as they were considered ceremonially unclean, due to working on the Sabbath and from their constant contact with the Gentiles. 

Jesus approached Matthew in Capernaum with friendliness something he wasn’t used to, I imagine a smile and gentle eyes.  Jesus asks Matthew to leave his work and become a disciple.  Matthew doesn’t even have to think about it.. He immediately responds to the invitation from Jesus and enters into a new life. 

Think about Matthew and how quickly he responds to the call of Jesus.  He just gets up and goes with Jesus.  I wonder has Jesus called you?  Has he called you to be a Christian?

It must have been incredible coming face to face with Jesus and even more incredible that Jesus asked him to join Him as one of his disciples. 

Matthew joined the other disciples of Jesus without hesitation and entered into his new work wholeheartedly, He committed himself to the work which Christ has called him to do with eagerness and enthusiasm. 

To celebrate his new life Matthew gave a feast at his home for everyone he knew at which Christ as the guest of honour.  This was one way Matthew could tell the world that he had accepted Jesus as the Messiah.

Matthew knew that the answer to life couldn’t be found in gold, but in God – not in money, but in the Master Jesus.

He quietly listened and learned from Jesus and unlike the other disciples who went back to fishing, Matthew never returned to being a tax collector.

Alexander Whyte, a great Scottish preacher of a bygone generation, said of Matthew: “When he rose up and left all to follow the Lord, the only things he took with him from his old occupation were his pen and ink.  And it is well for us that he did, since he used them for such a good and wonderful purpose.” 

Whilst Matthew is not mentioned in the gospels, other than when he was called and in Acts on the day of Pentecost.  He is thought to have written the Gospel of Matthew. He wrote his Gospel to emphasise the fact the Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God. 

Matthew was a true disciple, committed fully to Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God and he never looked back.

Why not make a stained glass window as a reminder of St Matthew.
If you photocopy this outline of St Matthew onto an acetate, then you can get the children to either colour it in with permanent felt pens (not ordinary ones or they will rub off) or put tissue paper on the back stuck on with pvc glue.. it's a bit messy but the results are great.  You can then cut around it leaving a place for a hole in the top for a string.
Have fun with it... :)

St Matthew stained glass

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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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