As the title suggests Matthew authored the first Gospel of the New Testament. Prior to preaching the word of God, he worked as a tax collector in Capernaum. He is one of the 12 apostles so he is an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus. We know nothing of his death.
When you read Matthew it is clear that it was intended for a Jewish audience. Everything from the genealogy, in the first chapter, that goes through David and the continual mention of prophesies that were being fulfilled through Jesus (approximately 68 Old Testament prophesies are mentioned in the text) is written to convince the Jews that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah.
Most scholars agree that Matthew was written between 48-65 A.D. It is important to note that it was written before the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.
Chapters 1-4 in Matthew mainly deal with the miracle birth of Jesus and the events surrounding His early life. This primarily involves the commonly told Christmas story but also includes the genealogy of Jesus, which goes all the way back to Abraham. "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" (1:21).
Chapters 5-25 consist of the ministry of Jesus from the interdiction of John the Baptist up to the point of His death at Calvary. These chapters are vital to our knowledge of Jesus Christ and are much of what we know about God living as a perfect man on Earth. These passages include Jesus' famous Sermon on the Mount, numerous miracles, and priceless teachings to all who would listen and follow.
Chapters 26-28, contain the death and resurrection of Jesus. These chapters present the truth of the "Good News" and about how Jesus took the sins of the world upon Himself. This is the central theme of salvation through faith alone in the complete and finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross. Salvation is possible only through His death, His burial, and His resurrection from the dead, all for the sake of sinners. Numerous and amazing Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled frequently in these final chapters. Some of these are His betrayal for thirty pieces of silver by Judas, crucifixion with two robbers, and those wagging their heads at Jesus while He was yet on the cross.