|@January 18, 2024
|M’Cheyne Plan 2024
Genesis 19:4–5 (ESV) 4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”
The fact that every man of the city surrounded Lot’s house speaks to the level of depravity that this city had reached. God was justified in His destruction of the city, but He remained faithful to His promise to Abraham by preserving the righteous and “sending Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.” (Gen. 19:29). This incident also echoes others in Scripture in which God preserves a faithful remnant, one such being the Babylonian takeover of Jerusalem and subsequent regathering of His people from exile.
Matthew 18:27–28 (ESV) 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’
This parable provides such a powerful example on the importance of forgiveness. Failure to understand how much we have been forgiven by Christ’s propitiatory work will lead to an impoverish level of forgiveness at best or a complete refusal at worst. Our ability to forgive others is directly linked to our acknowledgment of and gratitude toward what has been done for us.
Nehemiah 8:8 (ESV) 8 They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
Ezra, along with thirteen Levites, read the Law to the people for several hours and also helped them to understand what was being said. According to the Believer’s Bible Commentary, “the Aramaic language replaced Hebrew after the captivity, [so] it was necessary to explain many words of the Hebrew Scriptures.” However, beyond translation, it is the exposition and shepherding that is important to capture here. This models for us the type of preaching we are to seek and promote. Beyond the pomp and dazzle, it is the faithful, weekly exposition of Scripture that will yield the most spiritual fruit.
Acts 18:14–17 (ESV) 14 But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint. 15 But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.” 16 And he drove them from the tribunal. 17 And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this.
So much of Gallio’s treatment of the situation with Paul reminded me of Pilate and Jesus. Both of them were obstinate with their respective plaintiffs and sought to distance themselves as much as possible. Both saw that it was a matter of Jewish law rather than civil (Pilate in John 18:31 and Gallio in Acts 18:15). Both left the matter in the hands of the people, Pilate washing his hands to be innocent of Jesus’ blood in Matt. 27:24 and Gallio turning a blind eye to the beating of Sosthenes in Acts 18:17. In these, we see two officials with no discernible virtue, honor or backbone and the type of conduct we should seek to avoid in the appointment of leadership.
Carson on Matthew 18
The primary point of the analogy [in Matt. 18:1-6] is established by the context of the disciples’ argument. While they fret over who is greatest in the kingdom, Jesus is at pains to draw attention to members of society whom no one would think great. Children are such dependent creatures. They are not strong, wise, or sophisticated. They are relatively transparent. Proud adults, then, must humble themselves so that they may approach God as do little children: simply, in unselfconscious dependence, without any hope of being the greatest in the kingdom.
What an important point Carson makes here, that we are to come to Him as children realizing our weakness and dependence. We as adults think ourselves to be so advanced and sophisticated, but this is all bravado rooted in the sin of self-sufficiency. In reality, we are as needy of God throughout our lives as the day we were born. The beauty of the gospel is that it crushes us with this truth, both of our great need for Christ but also that in Him is every need wholly satisfied.
- 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)