Matthew the Disciple: From Sinner to Saint

William McEachern October 15, 2018

How Matthew progressed from being hated to celebrated


Matthew is one of the most recognizable names in the Bible, especially in the New Testament. Let’s go back in time and see how this gospel writer became one of the twelve disciples.

Prior to following Christ, Matthew was known as Levi, a tax collector. It was a profession hated by Jews during ancient Roman times due to their association with the empire that conquered them. Aside from the fact that they were working with their oppressors, Jews despised tax collectors as they were notorious for being corrupt.

Because he was stationed in Capernaum (one of Jesus’s bases at that time), Matthew was likely aware of Christ and His teachings. Being a tax collector guaranteed heaps of money and other material possessions—things he greatly treasured. It makes one wonder why he left his lucrative job without hesitations when Jesus approached Him at his booth.

Science can’t explain it, but faith can.

Jesus’s challenge to the former tax collector (see Matthew 9:9–13) is a sign of His love and mercy towards His people, even sinners. Christ’s openness extends to the other tax collectors; he did not even think twice about sharing a meal with them in Matthew’s home—a gesture the Pharisees scoffed at. Because Jesus demonstrated such kindness, the sinner’s heart was touched and took His invitation as a shot at redemption for his past sins. At first glance, one may think tax collectors like Matthew are unfit to become disciples due to their greedy nature. However, his observant nature would benefit him greatly as he preached the Good News and wrote his Gospel.

Matthew’s story is a testament to Jesus’s stance on righteousness. No matter how many times we turn our backs on Him, He is always ready to take us back. Let Christ’s fairness be a lesson to us all as we learn not to dismiss sinners as pure evil; they, too, are children of God. If you’re fully committed to live your life in accordance to His will, He will gladly accept you into His fold.

What are your thoughts on Matthew and his story? Feel free to leave a comment below. You may also share them through Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. If you’re interested, feel free to check out my books as well.


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Phillips, Richard. 2015. “The Gracious Calling of Matthew.” Ligonier Ministries. May 4. Accessed July 4, 2018.

West, Rey. 2016. “When Matthew Chose to Follow Jesus.” Odyssey. July 12. Accessed July 4, 2018.

Bible Bender. 2017. “Jesus Calls a Hated Tax Collector, Matthew, to Follow Him and Become His Disciple (Matthew 9:9 – 9:13).” Accessed July 4, 2018.

Creighton University Online Ministries. n.d. “Contemplating the Call of Matthew.” Accessed July 4, 2018.

ThoughtCo. n.d. “Meet Matthew the Apostle.” Accessed July 4, 2018.

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