On this day also, St. Matthew the Evangelist, was martyred. He was one of the Twelve Disciples and his name was Levi. He was the one sitting at the receipt of custom outside the city of Capernaum, when the Lord Christ said to him, "Follow Me." He left all, rose up, and followed Him. He made for the Lord Christ a great feast in his own house. That made the Pharisees murmur against Him saying to His disciples, "Why does your teacher eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Those who well do not need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:27-32)
He preached in the land of Palestine and Tyre and Sidon. Then he went to Ethiopia. He entered the city of priests and converted them to the knowledge of God. When he wished to enter the city, he met a young man who told him, "You will not be able to go in unless you shave off the hair of your head and carry palm branches in your hand." He did as the young man told him. And, as he was thinking about that, the Lord Christ appeared to him in the form of the young man who had met him earlier, and after He encouraged and comforted him, disappeared. He realized that this young man was the Lord of Glory Himself.
He then entered the city as one of its priests. He went to the temple of Apollo and found the high priest, and talked with him concerning the idols that they were worshipping. He explained to him how those idols did not hear or sense anything and how the true Mighty Lord is He who created the Heaven and Earth. The Lord made through him a wonder: a table came down to them from Heaven and a great light shone around them. When Hermes the priest saw this wonder, he asked him, "What is the name of your God?" The apostle replied, "My God is the Lord Christ." Hermes, the priest, believed in Christ and many people followed him.
When the Governor of the city knew that, he ordered them burned. It happened at that time that the son of the Governor died. St. Matthew the Apostle prayed and made supplications to God to raise the son and the Lord answered him and raised the child from death. When the Governor saw that, he and the rest of the people of the city believed. St. Matthew baptized them and ordained a bishop and priests, and built a church for them.
After he had preached in other countries, he went back to Jerusalem. Some of the Jews which had been preached to, and had believed and been baptized by him, asked him to write down what he had preached to them. He wrote the beginning of the Gospel attributed to him in the Hebrew language but he did not complete it. It was said that he finished it during his preaching in India, in the first year of the reign of Claudius and the ninth year of the Ascension. His martyrdom was consummated by stoning by the hands of Justus the Governor, and his body was buried in Carthage of Caesarea by some believers, in a holy place.
God move a mountain? Jesus insisted that he can, and many stories attest to
this being literally fulfilled. Unfortunately, many of those stories sound
invented. After I posted one such story [see the bottom] on my "Questionable
Illustrations" I received an email from a pastor in Pennsylvania who had read a similar
story that contained some fascinating details. They were especially fascinating
to me, because the church in question was only one mile from my home!
version originated in a book by Leslie B. Flynn: "19 Gifts of the Spirit"
on page 140. The name of the church is not given in the book, but it is "Grace
[Baptist] - The Church On the Mount." The church was built in 1973 on top
of KingtownMountain near Netcong, New Jersey. I received a booklet
from the church titled, "1943-1973: From Maple Avenue to the Mount." On
page 29 is a chapter called "Faith to Move Our Mountain." It reads in
finishing of the area around the church was completely up to the local people. There
began to be some serious thinking about the parking lot. Not that there had not
been some thinking already done, but we had been told by the Roxbury Planning
Board that they would not grant permanent occupancy until there was sufficient
parking in the rear. It did not have to be black-topped, gravel would do. ...
became evident that even with all the fill needed in front of the church, we
had a problem of far too much dirt. In fact IT WAS A MOUNTAIN WHERE A SECOND
AND THIRD PARKING LOT SHOULD BE [emphasis is theirs]. The cost of removing this
mountain would be prohibitive for the church. But wait, had not the Lord
promised that a mountain would be moved by faith? The next Sunday morning
Pastor Crawford reminded the congregation of Christ?s promise, "If ye have
faith as a grain of mustard see, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence
to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you"
(Matt. 17:20). Then he added, "If you believe that, come on Wednesday
night to pray with me that God will move this mountain in back of our church."
next morning the phone rang. It was the telephone company. They were planning
to erect a new building just east of us and they needed fill for a large swampy
area. Could we sell them some dirt? Well of course! And Pastor Crawford was
sure our dirt would have the right proportions of clay, sand and rock for the
fill they needed. In about a month the phone company had hauled away 40,000
square yards of our dirt, for which they paid the church $25,400, and also leveled
the ground for the required three parking lots and prepared them for paving. The
Lord makes good on His promises and He knows where to find the answer we need.
[italics throughout is theirs]
photos accompany the chapter. One shows a two-story white house with a pile of
dirt on two sides. The dirt seems to go up to the top of the first story. The
second picture shows the house sitting about ten feet above a parking area.
"Mountain" is certainly a stretch but 40,000 square yards is a fair
amount of dirt. Pastor Crawford died several years ago; in the fifteen years I
have been in the area, the Church on the Mount has grown from 200 to more than
a thousand in attendance.