Matthew's Story by Lyndon Perry
One sunny morning in the region of Galilee…
Visitor: What’s an obol?
Matthew: A sixth of a drachma, of course. You must not be from around here. Entry tax, my friend. Entry tax.
Visitor: What’s going on today, some special holiday? Seems pretty busy.
Matthew: No, there’s no festival that I know of. Oh, you mean the crowd down by the lake? Yeah, the man sure has a following. He’s pretty hard to miss.
Visitor: Some entertainer?
Matthew: A teacher. I’ve seen him around, heard him tell a few stories. Likeable guy. Folks just seem to flock to him.
Visitor: How do you mean?
Matthew: Well, if he’s out teaching by the Sea of Galilee, crowds show up. When he’s at Synagogue, the place is packed. Visiting one of his friends at home? Standing room only.
Visitor: Wonder what his appeal is.
Matthew: I’ll tell you. People around here are pretty convinced. The word is, he’s God’s agent. Know what I mean?
Matthew: You don’t? We might be talking about the Messiah here. Don’t tell me you haven’t heard of Jesus! Oh my, first an obol, now this. He’s headline news, friend. You’re certainly a strange one.
Matthew: Anyway, a lot of people knew who Jesus was even before he started teaching. Worked as a carpenter and craftsman around the area. Born and raised near here, in Nazareth.
Visitor: Can anything good come from Nazareth?
Matthew: I know, right? By the way, what’s your name?
Matthew: Like the river? Very cool. I’m Levi. Tax collector. Now, you gonna pay that obol or what?
Later that day...
Matthew: Hey, good to see you again, friend. Jordan, right? You get settled someplace in town?
Jordan: Yeah, I’ve decided to spend a few days here. Take a look around, maybe go fishing.
Matthew: Very nice, but If I’d known you were staying, I could have recommended an inn. I’ve got some pretty good connections.
Jordan: That’s okay. But I am a little curious about this man, Jesus. Everyone seems to be talking about him.
Matthew: You got that right. And you won’t believe what happened to me after you left. When Jesus finished teaching down by the lake, he came this way. You just missed him!
Jordan: That’s disappointing. Tell me what happened.
Matthew: I was right over there in my booth, busy collecting tolls, when he joined the line. He waited until it was his turn, and when I said, “Next,” he looked me in the eye and said, “Follow me.”
Jordan: What? Like, leave your booth and take off after him?
Matthew: Exactly! I did one of those ‘who me?’ moves and shot a glance behind me, but nope, I was his audience.
Jordan: That’s pretty wild.
Matthew: You’re telling me. I asked Jesus, “You sure about that?” You know, me being a tax collector and all.
Jordan: I’m not following.
Matthew: What? You don’t know about tax collectors? Well, let me educate you.
Jordan: Educate me.
Matthew: We’re despised by Romans because we’re Jews. And we’re despised by our fellow Jews because we work for the Romans collecting money. Get it?
Jordan: Ah, a collaborator! A traitor to your people. Scum of the earth. A sinner.
Matthew: Hey now! Watch your language. Anyway, Jesus waved me out of my chair. Said, “I’ve not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jordan: See there?
Matthew: I won’t deny it. So I left my booth. Just like that! I’m one of his followers now.
Jordan: Wow! That’s incredible. Why aren’t you with Jesus, then?
Matthew: I’m throwing a party tonight in his honor and I’m off to invite a few friends over. I’m going to introduce all of them. Hey! Why don’t you swing by tonight?
Jordan: Are you serious? I can go to your party and maybe meet this Jesus?
Matthew: Sure you can! You’d be welcome, I know it. There’s always room for one more sinner!
You just read the first chapter of my story about Matthew, a disciple of Jesus. The rest of the story can be found in our free app called Faith Journeys. Once you download the app (free from Apple Store and Google Play), you can read Matthew for free as well as the story of Adam for free. Other stories are available for purchase (cheap!) and there are no advertisements! I invite you to check it out. Artwork is by Jacbo Aybara. We're excited about this new project. Please spread the word! Thanks!