Matthew’s occupation as a tax collector was often associated with sinners, Gentiles, and harlots (Mt. 11:19; 18:17; 21:32). Tax collectors in the First Century were not merely looked down upon as the IRS is today but they were considered even worse, as Jewish traders. Tax collectors were often Jews who worked for the Romans, who were occupying Jewish land. (Hodges, 1). These tax collectors were known to not only collect taxes for Rome but often took extra tax and put into their own pockets. In Luke 3:12-13 when some tax collectors came to John the Baptist to be baptized by him, he told them to collect no more than they were authorized. This would imply that tax collectors were known to take more money than what was allowed. When Jesus came to Zacchaeus house, in Luke 19:1-9, Zacchaeus informed everyone that he would give to the poor and restore fourfold those he defrauded (Luke 19:8). Again implying that tax collectors stole from the people they collected taxes from, which would only have added to the great hatred and animosity the Jewish people had ...
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...10), writing the Gospel account of Jesus, and dying faithfully in Christ whether that be of natural causes or as a martyr.
All people can be useful to God, if one is willing to follow Christ whole heartily as Matthew did. It takes a humble spirit and been willing to turn away from ones old life of sin. It all begins with a humble heart as we see in Lk. 18:13 with the words of another tax collector, who said, “ 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner! '” Jesus then comments in Lk. 18:14, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
It is difficult to admit that one has sinned and lived a life contrary to the will of God but if one is willing to be humble before God, great blessing will come to them as one can see in the life of Matthew.
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