Historic Jesus

Character Profile

Matthew (disciple)

Father: Alphaeus (Mark 2:14)

Brother: James the less (one of the 12 apostles) may have been his brother.

First mention: Matthew 9:9

Final mention: Acts 1:13

Meaning of his name: Matthew means "gift of God" Levi means "joiner"

Frequency of his name: Referred to eight times

Biblical books mentioning him: Four books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts)

Occupation: Tax collector before becoming an apostle (Matthew 9:9, 10:3)

Place of birth: Possibly Capernaum, a Galilean city (Matthew 9:1,9)

Place of death: Tradition says he died in Ethiopia.

Important fact about his life: He authored the book of Matthew.

Copyright 1999, used by permission from Dr. H.L. Willmington.

His original name was Levi. He was the son of Alphaeus and his home was at Capernaum. His business was the collection of dues and customs from persons and goods crossing the Sea of Galilee, or passing along the great Damascus road which ran along the shore between Bethsaida, Julius and Capernaum.

Christ called him from this work to be His disciple. He appears to have been a man of wealth, for he made a great feast in his own house, perhaps in order to introduce his former companions and friends to Jesus. His business would tend to give him a knowledge of human nature, and accurate business habits, and of how to make a way to the hearts of many publicans and sinners not otherwise easily reached.

After the resurrection of Christ, he is mentioned only once in Acts, but he must have lived many years as an apostle, since he was the author of the Gospel of Matthew which was written at least twenty years later. There is reason to believe that he remained for fifteen years at Jerusalem, after which he went as missionary to the Persians, Parthians and Medes. Tradition says that he died a martyr in Ethiopia.