Word for the day Christian Education Forum
St. Mathew. The apostle day1 Thessalonians 1:3
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of God our Father.
The Gospel according to Matthew is considered one of the three synoptic Gospels. Matthew, a tax collector by profession, heeded the call of Jesus (Matthew 9:9) and became one of the twelve disciples. They were all hand-picked by Jesus from various strata of the contemporary society of Galilee and Judea. Some Bible scholars have expressed their view that Matthew wrote/recited the gospel in Aramaic, yet some others are of the view that it was expressed in Greek. The scholars, however, agree that the Gospel according to Mark preceded Matthew's version of the Gospel.
Unlike Peter, James, and John, the gospels are almost silent about the involvement of Matthew in the ministry of Jesus. We may infer that the Pharisees were complaining about Matthew when they remarked that Jesus was eating at the home of a tax collector. If we examine the Gospel according to Matthew, we can observe that this Gospel was written preliminarily for the Jewish converts in the years following Jesus’ ministry. The text of the Gospel is ordered according to the chronological events from the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The backbone of Jesus’ ministry was the parables he taught His disciples. The Gospel according to Matthew is generously filled with twenty-eight of such parables. They revealed in vivid and succinct terms the nature and proximity of the ‘Kingdom of God. There were also events of public discourses as well as public and private scenarios of His healing ministry.
Apostle’s Day, generally, is celebrated in the name of St. Thomas, the Apostle. However, September 21 is observed as Western Feast Day in honor of Apostle Mathew. Bible historians believe St. Matthew spread Christ’s teachings to Ethiopia and Persia. Many scholars are of the opinion that he later became a martyr for the cause of Christ.
During the second of his four missionary journeys, Paul visited Thessalonica of Macedonia (modern-day Greece). He was able to start a new church among the Jewish community there. We have reasons to believe that the Jewish population in Thessalonica was exposed to the teachings from the Gospel according to Matthew and were able to absorb the instructions from Paul. Paul is emphasizing three virtues in this verse:
1)Work of Faith
2)Labor of Love
3)Patience of Hope
Apostle Paul was aware of the wrong teachings that flourished among Thessalonian believers. These false teachings led some of the believers astray. He wrote the Epistle to reaffirm that Christ is coming again to gather His church. His Epistles were instrumental in keeping the church rooted in true faith and in hope for the second coming of the Lord.
Apostle Matthew experienced social bias and even ostracization from his own community. Apostle Paul also faced the same situation. Both were very concerned regarding the salvation of the Jewish brethren. Even in most adverse situations, they were able to follow their Master and carry out His mission. The disciples that followed Jesus after the time of Matthew and Paul were able to chart and accomplish their tasks better because of the pioneering groundwork these two Apostles laid out for them. The Lord had already rewarded their sacrifice and dedication when He announced: Along with Him, they will also judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28).
“As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow me’. And he rose and followed Him. – Matthew 9:9
Abraham Mammen, Sehion Mar Thoma Church, Dallas