The Birth and Infancy of Jesus
There is a knock on the door, and you open it to find a royal messenger ''The king is coming to your home tomorrow!'' he announces. ''He wants to visit you and get to know you.'' Then the messenger gives you a book. ''You may read all about the king this book,'' he says. ''It will help you know him better when he comes.''
When the messenger leaves, you anxiously open the book. You want to read every word, again and again. You want to know all about the king before he comes to see you.
''King Jesus, Messiah, has come,'' the book of Matthew tells us. He wants to know you, love you, and bring you into his royal Kingdom of Heaven. You may live with him there forever and ever. As we read this book you will get to know him better.
Matthew, the author of this book, was once a Jewish tax collector named Levi. He had been hired by the Romans, who controlled the land, to collect taxes from his own people. Matthew soon learned he could make a lot of money-and a lot of enemies. With the authority of the Roman government behind him, it was easy to charge higher taxes than were required and then pocket the difference. Yes, Matthew was rich, but he was spiritually bankrupt. Crowds flocked to his booth each day to pay their taxes but he was probably one of the most lonely men in Israel. Busy at his work one day, he looked up to see Jesus. ''Follow me,'' Jesus told him. Incredibly, Matthew did! He left all-his work, his money, his position with the Romans, his prestige-to become one of those who later became known as the 12 disciples or the 12 apostles. Only one thing could have motivated him to do such a thing: He saw the value of the person he followed was far greater than the worth of what he had left behind. He saw a person who was willing to love and accept him. He saw a man who cared enough to help him change. He saw God, and he knew it.
Now there was no turning back. Matthew had to tell others a ...
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