Matthew was a publican (tax collector) for the Roman or Herodian government. The Jews hated publicans because they were associated with Jewish oppression by the Romans and most of them were highly dishonest. They charged more taxes than were due and kept the excess for themselves.
In choosing His apostles, Jesus selected men from a cross-section of that day’s society. This led to criticism by the Pharisees because if Jesus was the Messiah as He had claimed to be, they objected to His association with “tax collectors and sinners.” Jesus answered that He did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
The gospel according to Matthew is commonly referred to as Matthew. Its exact time of writing is unknown. Several scholars think that it was probably written from an unknown location about the time that Paul was imprisoned in Rome around AD 60.
Matthew’s writing was directed toward the Jewish population as he introduced Jesus as the Messiah, the King of the Jews and recorded the events of His life, death, burial and resurrection.
Since Matthew was one of Christ’s apostles and had worked very closely with Him for about two years, he was an eyewitness to most of the events mentioned in this writing. He quoted extensively from the Old Testament and showed the Jews how the Law of Moses and the prophecies of the coming Messiah related to Jesus, the Christ, their King. He presented the life of Jesus as it related to the Jews.
Even in the beginning of his account, Matthew traced the genealogy of Jesus directly to Abraham, the fleshly father of the Jewish nation, spiritual father of the faithful and the one to whom God had PROMISED to bless all the nations through his Seed. He showed that the fleshly descent of Jesus came through David and that He was the Christ of prophecy.
The events recorded by Matthew were grouped according to topics instead of by strict chronological order.