Calling of Matthew
The Calling of Matthew is an episode in the life of Jesus which appears in all three synoptic gospels, Matthew 9:9-13, Mark 2:13-17 and Luke 5:27-28, and relates the initial encounter between Jesus and Matthew, the tax collector who became a disciple.
A tax collector could be either an independent contractor with the Roman government, who paid a fee to Rome to obtain the right to extract taxes from the people in a certain area, with an added fee for the collector and his employees; or he might have also been a toll collector for Herod Antipas, Capernaum was an area with a high traffic of people and merchants. In any case, Levi-Matthew would have been a very unpopular individual.
The Greek: τὸ τελώνιον (to telōnion) is often translated as "the tax collector's booth" (e.g. NIV) or "tax office" (e.g. RSV). The King James Version says Matthew was "sitting at the receipt of custom". Wycliffe's translation was "sitting in a tollbooth", and the Expanded Bible suggests that the telōnion was "probably a tariff booth for taxing goods in transit".
In all three synoptic gospels, this episode takes place shortly after the miracle of healing the paralytic at Capernaum and is followed by Jesus' image of the danger of putting new wine into old wineskins. In the Gospels of Mark and Luke, the person called is called Levi, the son of Alpheus.
Also in all three synoptic accounts Jesus is then invited to a banquet, with a crowd of tax collectors and others. The Pharisees then complain:
"Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
The calling of Matthew has been the subject of works of art by several painters, including:
- Caravaggio (1599-1600) at Contarelli Chapel in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome
- Hendrick ter Brugghen (1621)
- Juan de Pareja (1661)
- Gospel harmony: Matthew 9, Mark 2, Luke 5
- Commissioning the twelve Apostles
- First disciples of Jesus
- Great Commission
- Life of Jesus in the New Testament
- The Calling of St Matthew (Caravaggio)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Calling of Saint Matthew.|
- The Gospel of Matthew by R. T. France 2007 ISBN 0-8028-2501-X page 349
- Brown, Raymond E. et al. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary Prentice Hall 1990 ISBN 0-13-614934-0
- Kilgallen, John J. A Brief Commentary on the Gospel of Mark, Paulist Press 1989 ISBN 0-8091-3059-9
- Expanded Bible: Matthew 9:9
- The Life of Jesus by David Friedrich Strauss, 1860 published by Calvin Blanchard, page 340
- St Matthew the Apostle from The Golden Legend
- Apostle and Evangelist Matthew Orthodox icon and synaxarion
Calling of Matthew
Hometown Rejection of Jesus,
Physician, heal thyself
| New Testament
New Wine into Old Wineskins