|@January 10, 2024
|M’Cheyne Plan 2024
Genesis 11:4 (ESV) 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”
The people’s aversion to dispersion points to the antisocial nature of sin. Admittedly, this understanding is fresh in my mind having recently finished Paul Tripp’s book, “Marriage”, in which he speaks of antisocial self-love in the context of marriage. However, the underlying principle applies to all aspects of our lives, a constant battle between living for self vs. living for God and the serving others.
Matthew 10:5–6 (ESV) 5 These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Jesus’ initial instruction to the twelve apostles was to focus on the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This was not to undermine the Great Commission and the grafting in of Gentiles, but rather specific in purpose to let the people know that the kingdom of heaven was near.
Matthew 10:41–42 (ESV) 41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
In reading this, I was reminded of Jesus speaking about reward in Matt. 6 a few days ago, contrasting the reward of the hypocrites vs. those who give in secret. I did not realize until now just how much Jesus emphasized the concept of reward. It seems fitting then for us to remain mindful of what kind of reward we are building for ourselves.
Ezra 10:7–9 (ESV) 7 And a proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles that they should assemble at Jerusalem, 8 and that if anyone did not come within three days, by order of the officials and the elders all his property should be forfeited, and he himself banned from the congregation of the exiles. 9 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month. And all the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain.
It is telling how all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem after being given the order and that noncompliance would result in forfeiting their property. It underscores both the severity of the situation and the importance of property at this time.
Acts 10:10–16 (ESV) 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.
Peter’s vision of the sheet and animals is striking enough but all the more in that it came to him three times. It also points to the recurring theme of threes with Peter (ex’s. denying Jesus three times in Luke 22:34, Jesus asking him three times if he loves Him in John 21:15-17, etc.).
Carson on Matthew 10
as the Judeo-Christian heritage of the West weakens, we may one day be caught up in realities that missions specialists know but that the rest of us sometimes ignore: the last century and a half have seen more converts, and more martyrs, than the first eighteen centuries combined.
It is alarming to read this and the loss of life that has come through the spreading of the gospel, but it gives weight to Jesus’ words that the faithful will suffer for the sake of His name.
- J. I. Packer et. al, The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016)
- D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: Volumes 1 & 2 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006; hosted on thegospelcoalition.org)
- Faithlife Study Bible (Lexham Press, 2016)
- Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
- CSB Study Bible Notes (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017)