An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the first encounter between the disciple, Matthew, and Jesus.
Preparation and materials
Have available several biographies of famous people, or have the covers of the biographies displayed on a large screen.
You will need a copy of the Bible so that you can show the children the first book in the New Testament: the Gospel of Matthew.
The main story used in the assembly can be found in Matthew 9.9-13.
Show the biographies to the children and comment on the people whose story is told within them.
Name a person whom the children know well and ask the children what information about that person could appear in their biography. Your chosen person could be famous or a staff member in school.
Ask the children to name one thing that they would like to appear in their own biography. How would they like to be remembered?
Show the copy of the Bible to the children and explain that the book is divided into two sections: the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament is about the time before Jesus was born. The New Testament is about Jesus’ life and the time afterwards. Explain that the Old and New Testaments are arranged in sections called ‘books’. These books are written by different people.
Ask the children if any of them know the name of the first book in the New Testament. Invite a child to find the New Testament in the Bible and to read out the name of the first book.
The first book in the New Testament is the Gospel of Matthew. It is named after one of Jesus’ 12 disciples.
Tell the story of Matthew that is found in Matthew 9.9-13.
Before Matthew met Jesus, he was called Levi. He was very unpopular because he was a tax collector and worked for the Romans. Tax collectors were often greedy and would cheat people by charging them too much money. Levi was no exception; all he wanted to do was make money and become rich. Then, one day, he met Jesus, who asked him to become one of his followers. Everyone was surprised that Jesus had even spoken to Matthew. They could not understand why Jesus was befriending him; they were even more surprised when Matthew agreed. Jesus accepted Matthew’s invitation to go to his house to have a meal with his friends, but many onlookers were shocked at Jesus’ action. They thought that Jesus should just choose good, honest people to be his friends.
From this extraordinary day, Levi became known as Matthew, which means ‘gift of the Lord’. He left behind his old life, his wealth and his power, and gave up everything to become one of Jesus’ followers. He devoted his life to telling others about Jesus. He also wrote down his story of Jesus’ life, which is called the Gospel of Matthew, the first book in the New Testament.
Time for reflection
When Jesus was on Earth, he often spent time with people who were disliked or unpopular with others. Jesus believed that everyone should be allowed a chance for their lives to be changed so that they could have a fresh start.
Ask the following questions, pausing to allow the children to think after each one.
- Do we give people a second chance?
- Do we allow people to change?
- Do we need to change the way we live our lives?
Help us to be willing to give people a second chance,
even when we don’t think they deserve it.
Help us to love and bring peace and joy to people’s lives.
Help us to serve others and to help them whenever we get opportunities.
‘Love will never come to an end’ (Come and Praise, 99)