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Day 240 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Matthew.
Matthew 9 & 10 – Just as the reign of God brings victory over demons, so it brings forgiveness of sins. Eventually, when the heavens and earth are fully healed from the destruction of sin, all death, mourning, crying, and pain will be gone forever (Revelation 21:4). Here, for this moment, Jesus brings the future kingdom of God into the present. He graciously forgives this paralyzed man’s sins on the basis of his faith, and He restores him to health.
The gracious nature of God’s reign is clear in Jesus’ invitation to the tax collector Matthew to follow Him, and in His table fellowship with other tax collectors and sinners. The coupling of tax collectors with sinners demonstrates how unsavory the business of tax collection was in Jesus’ time (see also 5:46; 11:19; 21:31–32; Luke 18:11). It frequently involved extortion of money from people who were already very poor (Luke 3:12–13; 19:8). God is merciful to the sinner, however, who knows that he or she is unrighteous (9:13), and who turns away from sin to the salvation that Jesus brings (Luke 5:32; 19:5–10).
Once again, wherever Jesus goes the kingdom of God goes with Him, demonstrating that God is merciful and gracious. He gives life to the dead, heals the sick, restores the disabled, and banishes demonic powers.
The religious leaders’ opposition to Jesus (9:34) is a sobering reminder that religious scholarship, professions of religious conviction, and observance of religious ritual do not make one a follower of Jesus. One can do all of this and yet so strongly resist the implications of Jesus’ call for repentance and faith that one attributes the works of Jesus to the forces of evil. The hardheartedness of the Pharisees against Jesus demonstrates how deep human sin runs, and that religious people are not exempt from its destructive power.
Jesus commissioned His disciples to help Him in His work. This work was motivated by “compassion” for the “harassed and helpless” (9:36) and was to be done without any cost to those who benefited from it, just as the disciples’ relationship with Jesus came to them without any cost (10:8). The disciples’ ministry, then, was to imitate Jesus’ ministry and to communicate the life-giving, restorative, utterly free grace of God so clearly displayed in Jesus’ ministry. Like Jesus, the disciples would encounter rejection (10:14) and opposition (10:24–25), even from their own families (10:21–22, 35–37).
Jesus’ disciples today are also called to live and minster in this way. The character of their lives and the practical methods they use in ministering to others in the name of Jesus should always bear the stamp of God’s joyful, gracious, and utterly free forgiveness and restoration of His creatures. At the same time, no matter how good the news, how honest their methods, and how winsome their appeal, the message of the gospel will sometimes meet with harsh, even violent, rejection—as was true for Jesus Himself.
How does knowing that all you have in Jesus (forgiveness, bringing the kingdom of God with you, the opportunity to share the gospel of God’s grace, and so much more), allow you to share all you have received regardless of how other react to the message?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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