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As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him,“Follow Me.”So he arose and followed Him.Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples”

Matthew 9:9-10

Liberal scholars insist that the Gospel of Matthew was written by some anonymous author in order to address certain concerns in his own faith community. Only later was the name “Matthew” added to it in order to give it more authority. Though this view of Gospel authorship is popular, it is also badly contradicted by the facts. For instance, Matthew’s Gospel is thoroughly Jewish. The writer is trying to show his fellow Jews that Jesus of Nazareth is God’s promised Messiah. Adding the name Matthew, the despised tax-collector working for Rome, to this work would have offended the very audience the book is intended to reach. The only sensible reason for his name being attached to this Gospel is that he was the one who actually wrote it. But there is more. Matthew 9:10 tells us that Jesus had dinner at Matthew’s house. Specifically the text reads, “Jesus sat at the table in the house.” The phrase “in the house” translates the Greek, “en te oikia.” Earlier, Matthew records an incident in which a centurion approached Jesus asking him to heal his servant. The centurion cried, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed(8:6). The key phrase “at home” is translated from the exact phrase used in Matthew 9:10 to describe how Jesus came to dine at Matthew’s house. In other words, Matthew 9:10 might legitimately be rendered, “And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat at home, . . .” In context, “at home” can only be referring to Matthew’s house. Even today we routinely speak of having people “over at the house.” Matthew 9:10 is one place where the author “peaks out” from behind the text, revealing that this Gospel was indeed written Matthew, the eyewitness to Jesus. Whereas a forger would have Matthew’s name prominently displayed in the text, God chose to embed a more subtle sign of Matthew’s authorship. These kinds of internal evidences reveal the manifold wisdom of God. Not only does He bestow upon us His perfect revelation, but that revelation is its own best defence. May God be pleased to reveal to us many more hidden gleams of authenticity in order to strengthen our faith and embolden our witness.

God bless you,

Pastor John

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