The apostle Matthew has two names in the Gospels: Matthew and Levi. Since only the name Matthew is entered in any scriptural mention of the 12 apostles, it is commonly held that his name was Levi until Jesus called him to be a disciple, then he was called Matthew which means ‘gift of God’ in Aramaic.
Mark and Luke record that Levi, the son of Alphaeus, was sitting in the tax office when the Lord called him. A Jewish tax collector for the Romans, Matthew would have been considered impure and socially unacceptable by the Jewish community.
After Pentecost, Matthew worked in a church made up mostly of Jews who believed that Jesus was the Saviour. The Gospel bearing his name was composed around AD 85 and was written for Jewish-Christians. In it, Jesus is shown as the fulfillment of God’s Old Testament promises of a Messiah. Notice how often Matthew says, “As it is written”, or “”This is the one of whom the prophet spoke”, or “All this took place to fufill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet”.
Tradition holds that after the Resurrection, Matthew preached in Ethiopia, where he was martyred. He is a patron saint of custom officers and accountants.