Calling of Matthew

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The Calling of St. Matthew, by Vittore Carpaccio, 1502.

The Calling of Matthew is an episode in the life of Jesus which appears in all three synoptic gospels, Matthew 9:9-13, Mark 2:13-17 and Luke 5:27-28, and relates the initial encounter between Jesus and Matthew, the tax collector who became a disciple.[1]

According to the Gospel of Matthew:

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me", he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.[2]

The Greek: τὸ τελώνιον (to telōnion) is often translated as "the tax collector's booth" (e.g. NIV) or "tax office" (e.g. RSV). The King James Version says Matthew was "sitting at the receipt of custom". Wycliffe's translation was "sitting in a tollbooth", and the Expanded Bible suggests that the telōnion was "probably a tariff booth for taxing goods in transit".[3]

In all three synoptic gospels, this episode takes place shortly after the miracle of Healing the paralytic at Capernaum and is followed by Jesus' image of the danger of putting new wine into old wineskins. In the Gospels of Mark and Luke, the person called is called Levi, the son of Alpheus.[4]

Also in all three synoptic accounts Jesus is then invited to a banquet, with a crowd of tax collectors and others. The Pharisees then complain:

"Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."[5]

In art

The calling of Matthew has been the subject of works of art by several painters, including:


  1. ^ The Gospel of Matthew by R. T. France 2007 ISBN 0-8028-2501-X page 349
  2. ^ Biblegateway
  3. ^ Expanded Bible: Matthew 9:9
  4. ^ The Life of Jesus by David Friedrich Strauss, 1860 published by Calvin Blanchard, page 340
  5. ^ Biblegateway

See also

External links

Calling of Matthew
Preceded by
Hometown Rejection of Jesus,
Physician, heal thyself
New Testament
Succeeded by
New Wine into Old Wineskins
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