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The Gospel of Matthew

Updated on February 1, 2010

Matthew is traditionally considered the author of the First Gospel. He is described in Matthew 2:14 and 9:9 and in Luke 5:27-29. In Mark and Luke he is called Levi. Matthew is described as a publican, or tax gatherer, employed by the Romans to collect customs duties on trade goods passing through the town of Capernaum. Although most Jews despised publicans for their greed, Jesus asked Matthew to follow Him and Matthew immediately obeyed. Matthew's name also appears in various official lists of the Apostles (Matthew 10:13; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13).

The Gospel of Matthew is the first of the three Synoptic ("similar view") Gospels. Written in Aramaic, it is traditionally ascribed to St. Matthew, one of the 12 Apostles.

Its author was probably a Jewish Christian who was interested in proving that Jesus was the Messiah, or Savior, whose life fulfilled the Hebrew prophecies of the Old Testament. The Gospel traces Jesus' ancestry through the royal house of David.

It contains some information on Jesus' birth not mentioned in Mark or Luke. It is also unique in its presentation of the Sermon on the Mount and in its emphasis on the Church, which is seen as the means by which Jesus remains present with men on earth.

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