Day 244 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Matthew.
Matthew 17 – Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Moses represents the Law and Elijah represents the Prophets, indicating that all that has preceded in God’s Word and redemptive history leads to Jesus. He is thus shown to be the apex of redemptive history and the fulfillment of God’s promises of redemption. The Jesus-centrality of all the Scripture is most evident visually in this text as the transcendent glory of the incarnate Word of God is confirmed by the witness of the most significant representatives of the Word of God.
While Jesus, Peter, James, and John were on the Mount of Transfiguration, the other disciples were down below, attempting to drive out a demon that had produced in a boy the symptoms of epilepsy. Because of their “little faith,” however, they were unable to help the boy. It was not the intensity of their faith that was the problem, but its quality. Only a little of the right kind of faith is necessary to accomplish the work of the kingdom. The work of the kingdom depends on the power of God, not on the power or intensity of Believers. The disciples’ faith was probably faulty because it lay more in themselves (perhaps in using the right technique) than in God.
God enables Believers to do more and greater things than we think possible. This passage cautions Believers to rely on God rather than on themselves to accomplish the kingdom’s goals, but it also encourages them not to be timid in their expectation of what God can do. After all, God has done the hardest thing—He has atoned for the sins of His people, in Jesus.
The two incidents recorded in 17:1–20 provide a striking example for all Believers: Having just had his glory revealed on the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus did not hesitate to then immediately become involved in our world of pain and shame as He focused on the diseased child. Glory did not distract Jesus from compassion. Rather, compassion for the hurting became an expression of His glory.
How does this chapter remind you that the whole Bible points us to Jesus?
Matthew 18 – The theme that binds this section together is God’s concern for the spiritually needy: the powerless, those victimized by sin, and sinners who have victimized others. The kingdom of heaven is a place where everyone recognizes their dependence on God, just as children know they are dependent on loving adults to care for them. It is a place where the powerless are cared for, and abuse of them is not tolerated. The kingdom of heaven is a place where sinners are mercifully restored, and where people are quick to forgive and to seek reconciliation, knowing that God in His grace has forgiven them (Mark 11:25; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13).
We all fall into the categories of powerless, victimized by sin, and sinners who victimize others, so how does it feel to know Hod is all about restoring, forgiving and reconciling us?
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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