Matthew the Apostle of Jesus Christ
The first book in the New Testament of the Christian Scriptures is called "The Gospel according to Matthew." It was allegedly written by one of Jesus of Nazareth's twelve apostles named Matthew (also known as Levi). Like all of Jesus' original 12 apostles, Matthew was a Jew and, before he left everything to follow Jesus, he was also a hated tax collector. This hub highlights seven biblical attitudes and characteristics exemplified in the life of Matthew.
Desired the Finer Things in Life
The first attitude exemplified in the life of the apostle Matthew was a desire for the finer things in life. This desire is inherently seen in that Matthew was a money grubbing tax collector for the Roman Empire. Yes, he was extorting his own Jewish people to get rich and gain possessions, but in doing so he shows that he wanted the best of life and he was willing to do anything he could to have it.
Made the Most of a Bad Situation
The second characteristic exemplified in the life of the apostle Matthew was making the most of a bad situation. Matthew's home country Israel was undersiege by the Roman Empire. He like many others could have thrown up his hands and moped and complained about the adverse circumstances, but he didn't. He chose to make the most of a horrible situation even if it was at the expense of his fellow Jews. The point here is not to advocate living by situational ethics, but only to point out that Matthew demonstrated a positive attitude in the midst of troubles.
Endured Ridicule and Scorn to Get What He Wanted
The third characteristic or attitude exemplified in the life of Matthew the apostle was perseverance i.e. he was willing to endure ridicule and scorn to fulfill his desires. Of course, before he left everything to follow Jesus, Matthew was a dirty, nasty, moneygrubbing scoundrel. At first glance one would think Jesus was crazy to choose him to be one of his disciples. But, on the positive side, Matthew obviously had a thick skin for he was willing to endure ridicule and scorn from his fellow Jewish countrymen in order to get want he wanted. He obviously did not care about the opinions of ordinary man. He did care about being popular with the in-crowd. He knew what he wanted and did whatever was necessary to have it in spite of the attitudes of others around him.
Open-Minded and Teachable
The fourth attitude exemplified in the life of this follower of Jesus was that he was open-minded and teachable. If proven wrong he was willing to change course to go in a better direction. Even though Matthew sacrificed everything including reputation to gain what he wanted, he was not closed-minded or locked into one path of life. It seems he was constantly studying the horizon to find something better. And, when Jesus came along and called him to follow him, Matthew left everything behind including his wealth for something even more valuable.
Reconciled with Enemies to Fulfill a Greater Purpose
Another biblical attitude or characterisitic exemplifed in the life of Matthew was willingness to reconcile with enemies to fulfill a greater cause. Matthew was a tax collector and therefore a collaborator with the hated Roman occupiers; he seemed to think that survival came trough cooperation. Another of Jesus' chosen apostles was Simon the Zealot who hated the Romans with a passion to the point of violence and revolution. Before he was a follower of Jesus, Simon most certainly saw Matthew as an enemy of the nation of Israel; as a treasonous traitor. Matthew probably didn't love Simon the Zealot too much either. Yet he was willing to reconcile with his enemy to fulfill the greater purpose of introducing the good news of Jesus Christ to the rest of the world.
Became a Student of His Cause
A sixth attitude displayed by Matthew was to become educated and knowledgeable in a desired pursuit. Matthew's account of Jesus' life is well-researched with important references to the Hebrew Scriptures (also known as the Old Testament in the Christian Bible). Of course, Matthew had been an eyewitness of Jesus' life, but as an educated Jew Matthew knew that Jesus could only be the long awaited Messiah if he fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. So Matthew did not rest his belief in blind faith, but rather studied to make sure this was the real thing. After he was sure it was the real thing, he circulated the account to others so that they too could be sure that Jesus was the Messiah.
Left a Legacy to Bless Generations after Him
The seventh positive characteristic exemplified by Matthew is seen in his account of Jesus' life. Matthew wanted to leave a positive legacy. In order that others after him might also believe that Jesus was the Savior of the world, he left a written record of Jesus' life and work. Matthew left a positive legacy behind in order to bless the generations after him.
What kind of legacy will you leave behind?
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 24, 2010:
I like the way you simplified Matthews life and calling into understandable sections that we can all learn from. This is a very good hub. I really enjoyed it.