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Archive for September 21st, 2016

Prayer of the Day:

O Son of God, our blessed Savior Jesus Christ, You called Matthew the tax collector to be an apostle and evangelist. Through his faithful and inspired witness, grant that we also may follow You, leaving behind all covetous desires and love of riches; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

About St. Matthew

St. Matthew, also known as Levi, identifies himself as a former tax collector, one who was therefore considered unclean, a public sinner, outcast from the Jews. Yet it was such a one as this whom the Lord Jesus called away from his occupation and wealth to become a disciple (Matthew 9:9-13). Not only did Matthew become a disciple of Jesus, he was also called and sent as one of the Lord’s twelve apostles (Matthew 10:2-4). In time, he became the evangelist whose inspired record of the Gospel was granted first place in the ordering of the New Testament. Among the four Gospels, Matthew’s portrays Christ especially as the new and greater Moses, who graciously fulfills the Law and the Prophets (Matthew5:17) and establishes a new covenant of salvation in and with His own blood (26: 27-28).  Matthew’s Gospel is also well-known for the following:

  • The Visit of the Magi (2: 1-12)

  • The Sermon on the Mount, including the Beatitudes and The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 5-7)

  • The Institution of Holy Baptism and the most explicit revelation of the Holy Trinity (Matthew 28: 16-20). 

Tradition is uncertain where his final field of labor was and whether Matthew died naturally or a martyr’s death. In celebrating this festival, we therefore give thanks to God that He has mightily governed and protected His Holy church through this man who was called and sent by Christ to serve the sheep of His pastures with the Holy Gospel.

St. Matthew was an excellent, noble man–not only one of the 12 fountains of consolation, the apostle of Jesus Christ of paradise, a holy evangelist, whose  words flowed from the great fountain in paradise, Jesus Christ.  He not only praised the Lord in his heart and with his tongue but also put his quill to paper and wrote his account as a memorial…pay attention so that everything in and about you is directed toward the glory of the Lord, according to David’s example in Psalm 103:2. In the kingdom of God it is said…”Strive with every skill and word, to please your Savior, Christ the Lord.”   None of the other evangelists described the history of  the Lord Jesus to such an extent as Matthew. He also has many beautiful passages that cannot be found in the others.

  • Here the Lord Jesus says (Matthew 11:27-29), Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

  • And again (Matthew 18:19-21), “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I among them.”

  • And in Matthew 28:19-20“Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

These three passages, which should cause the legs of all devout Christians to run quickly to the Church, were written only by Matthew.

—Valerius Herberger

(Quotes above from The Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House)

 Reflection:  One word that can not be found in the other three Gospels is “church”.  The two times the word “Church” is spoken is by the Lord:

Matthew 16:18

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 18:17

If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

The context of the first passage is Peter’s Confession of Jesus as “Christ, the Son of the living God”.  The second is our Lord’s preaching on the forgiveness of sins.  The two passages are intimately related.  At the heart of the Church is the confession of Faith:  You are Christ, the Son of the living God”and it is upon this Word that Christ builds His Church.  Flowing forth from Christ, the true Temple (John 2:21) are the rivers of God’s forgiveness (John 7:38) which forms the Church day by day in His Presence and by His grace.  It is also significant that in all four Gospels that St. Matthew’s  begins and ends in Baptism:   the Lord’s Baptism in the river Jordan and the Lord’s command and promise to baptize in God’s Name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.   Holy Baptism formally ends the written Gospel of St. Matthew but by no means does the Gospel end!  As the Lord said recorded in the last chapter of Matthew that His Baptism goes to the ends of the earth! We have brothers and sisters in Christ in the United States, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Siberia, Germany etc, etc.  Gospel (written, preached, taught and administered in the Sacraments) and Church and Baptism are all one Christ as He builds His Church.  These are the means, the living tools of the Holy Spirit to build us up in His Church.

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