Bonus Points: Day 4

Disciples: Matthew /Thomas

7. Matthew

Levi, the Son of Alphaeus, Matthew was a tax collector–the most despised people in all of Israel. They were known for taking extra money from the people of Israel to pay off the Romans and to pad their own pockets.

Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. When the scribes of the Pharisee’s saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, Why is he eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners? And hearing this, Jesus said to them, It is not those who are healthy that need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners. (Mark 2:16)

As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, Follow Me! And he got up and followed Him. (Matthew 9:9)

Matthew brought the gospel to Ethiopia and Egypt. Hircanus the king had him killed with a spear.

8. Thomas

Usually nicknamed “Doubting Thomas,” Thomas was also called Didymus, meaning The Twin (although a twin brother or sister is never mentioned in the Bible.) He was an outspoken skeptic to the point of being known as a pessimist. No details are given about Thomas in the first three Gospels other than the mention of his name. John’s first mention of Thomas is in John 11:16. Lazarus had died and the disciples feared for the life of Jesus and themselves if they were to go back to Bethany. Thomas speaks up. “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” (John 11:16 NASB) Here we see the character quality of courage and loyalty to Christ, a quality not often attributed to Thomas.

His devotion to Christ is further displayed when Jesus told the disciples that He was going to go away and prepare a place for them. “And you know the way where I am going. Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” (John 14:4-5) Thomas didn’t want to be left behind. And then Thomas’ love for Jesus and his desire to see and touch before he believed and then his declaration, “My Lord and My God!” (John 20:28)

Tradition strongly suggests that Thomas started the Christian church in India. Some suggest being run through by a spear killed him, ironically, similar to Jesus being pierced by a spear.

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