An Apostle of Jesus Christ and the author of the first book in the New Testament. Matthew, a Jew who was a tax collector for the Romans at Capernaum, was probably in the service of Herod Antipas. He was known before his conversion as Levi, son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14). Soon after his call to become Jesus’ disciple, he gave a feast at which the Lord was present (Matt. 9:9–13; Mark 2:14–17; Luke 5:27–32). Matthew probably had a wide knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures and was able to see the detailed fulfillment of prophecy in the Lord’s life. Of the Apostle’s later life little is known. One tradition asserts that he died a martyr’s death.
The first book in the New Testament. Matthew’s Gospel was probably written initially for the use of Jews in Palestine. It uses many quotations from the Old Testament. Matthew’s chief object was to show that Jesus was the Messiah of whom the Old Testament prophets spoke. He also emphasized that Jesus is the King and Judge of men.
For a list of events in the Savior’s life described in the Gospel of Matthew, see Harmony of the Gospels in the appendix.