To continue about the Bible, much of its most deceptive information is ascribed to the four apostles, and somewhere along the line we were given saint status. Some scholars think Luke and I copied parts of what Mark wrote in his gospel and added them to ours, but I’m curious as to why they left out John—the blatant lies that were put in our gospels were put in his, too. Some modern versions of the Bible dropped our sainthood; however, in my mother’s old, well-worn King James edition, it is the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, and she will accommodate me by copying the parts I request.
First, though, I shall describe Jesus and Mary Magdalene so you can imagine them as I speak about them. Jesus was outgoing, not as vivacious as Mary but always pleasant of temperament. He was what I would call a commanding figure—taller than most men and slender but strong and muscular, with erect posture. His fair skin had tanned from years in the sun and his gray eyes sometimes had a tinge of blue; his hair was light brown and long, as was the style, but he kept his beard and mustache closely trimmed. Mary was an extremely pretty and delightfully personable, gracious young woman. In appearance she was petite, fair-complexioned and had sparkling brown eyes and cascading brown hair.
Both of them were born into respected upper-class families, intelligent, well-educated for the times, and the finest of friends for many years before they married. They had a large, happy family, and after long, full lives, they left their bodies and moved on to lifetimes of service to God in other places in this universe; however, the power of their love-light energy always is with souls on Earth, just as elsewhere.
But I’m getting ahead of myself and way ahead of the gospel of St. Matthew. As a young man I started keeping a journal of interesting encounters and, like my notes before I met Jesus, those afterwards were meant to serve only as reference and reading enjoyment in my old age.
My records did not begin with the lineage from Abraham to Joseph, Jesus’ father, but since St. Matthew does, I shall speak about that. Several months after I met Jesus, the genealogy was shown to me by a man who copied it from someone’s record who copied it from another’s record and so on and so on. I tucked into my journal the list I wrote with the note that I’d been told its accuracy couldn’t be verified. It was not a broadly literate society, thus lore and legend were handed down from one generation to the next, and it was commonly understood that often the accounts were embellished or details forgotten by successive storytellers. Yet, it became biblical “history.”
Next in St. Matthew comes: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” …. “Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.” None of that was in my records, and why would it be? I didn’t meet Jesus until many years later, and neither he nor his parents ever told me anything like that. Nevertheless, it was attributed to me and written similarly in the other gospels to substantiate the Catholic Church’s version of Jesus’ birth.
Furthermore, all of my notes were about Emmanuel, the name everyone called him. I don’t know why it was decided that in the Bible, his name should be Jesus, and it’s odd, or an oversight, that this also was put into that chapter: “… and they shall call his name Emmanuel.” It’s because you know him as Jesus that I always have referred to him by that name.
Those were indeed harsh, cruel times. The slaughter of infant and toddler males is true—however, I didn’t note that in my journal—and so is the flight of Jesus’ family to Egypt and return to their homeland when it was safe. I recorded what they told me about their experiences then as well as numerous other family highlights during the many enjoyable evenings I spent with Jesus, his siblings and their parents. Often Mary Magdalene was there too, and conversations were lively. We spoke Aramaic, occasionally lapsing into Greek for an apt expression, and there was much laughter because we didn’t always talk about serious matters. Jesus listened attentively to whomever was speaking, and many a time I saw his eyes twinkle when Mary was excitedly chattering about something or other.
As a part-time teacher of elementary and advanced students—there was no word for tutor then—the closest I came to the tax collection profession was meeting Jesus on a street where men were busily engaged at the collecting and counting tables. I recognized him from a small group I had chanced upon the previous evening, so I greeted him, he invited me to accompany him, I did, and we talked as we walked along. That’s how I wrote about our meeting, along with discovering that we both enjoyed water sports and had a mutual acquaintance and Jesus said he recently started speaking in public. That was the point in my journal where my notes about our friendship started, and I wrote about it in first person—it was my experience.
However, according to St. Matthew: “And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.” Evidently it didn’t occur to whoever changed my notes that folks might think it strange that Matthew would write so awkwardly and briefly about a life-changing experience and very strange that our meeting came after the “sermon on the mount” that previously “I” had written in St. Matthew. It does explain, though, why I am thought of as the tax collector who became a disciple.
Jesus didn’t call us disciples. After he became known for his teachings, some in the Sanhedrin started referring to people who attended gatherings where he spoke as “his disciples.” As for the twelve the Bible gives that designation, Jesus met each of us in his travels around the Sea of Galilee and friendships were formed, but he didn’t ask any of us to forsake our livelihoods and “follow” him. I had the good fortune of living near him, which afforded me the enjoyment of his company far more often than the other “disciples” could spend time with him.
According to St. Matthew: “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them:… “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils.” That endows us with abilities none of us had! But we did know Jesus’ abilities and how he had come by them, so when I was along on a boat outing, I had no reason to put in my journal, we “marvelled” that “even the winds and the sea obey him!” and I didn’t.
In St. Matthew, after Jesus met two men “possessed with devils,” he cast them out and put them in a swine herd that“ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.” …. “And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.” As Jesus recounted the incident to me, after he ushered into the light the entities that were tormenting the men’s minds, he continued on his solitary way until he and I met up, and that’s how I penned my account of it.