(Genesis 28, Matthew 27; Optional Psalm 22:12-24, Proverbs 6:6-11)
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GENESIS 28 – In Gen 27, we saw the sinful trickiness of Jacob in all its ugliness. Now he is fleeing for his life (see Gen 27:41-45), apparently all alone. And in Gen 28 we see the faithfulness of God in all His graciousness. While Jacob sleeps, Yahweh (“the LORD” – Gen 28:13) reminds the lonely Jacob that Almighty God and all the resources of heaven (see the stairway filled with active angels) are with him.
Gen 28:13-15 – Even though we have fresh reminders of Jacob’s sin in Gen 27, God reaffirms the Abrahamic covenant with Jacob. Compare the promise made to Jacob in Gen 28:15 with the promise made to every Christian in Heb 13:5-6. The reason believers can be confident (even in this fallen world and even though we are sinners) is that GOD IS WITH US, and HE will do what HE promised! Also see Phil 1:6.
Compare Jacob’s sleep and the disciples’ sleep from yesterday’s reading in Matt 26:36-46. In Scripture, we’ll often see the human actors asleep at key moments and be reminded that Almighty God never sleeps and is fulfilling His good and wise plan. This is an important part of the teaching about the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. Our actions really do matter, but the FOUNDATIONAL REALITY is the sovereign faithfulness of God and how HE will accomplish His plan. This never excuses our sin but should keep us from being paralyzed by our sin. And bring us yet again to worship God for His grace and faithfulness!
MATTHEW 27 – In all the darkness of the sin of this chapter, don’t miss that God is fulfilling His plan. Details were prophesied hundreds of years before (see Psalm 22 in yesterday and today’s readings), and Jesus had repeatedly predicted His own suffering, death, and resurrection. Now God is fulfilling His plan, not at all thwarted by sinful humans. Instead, He is gloriously (and mysteriously) USING their sin for His good purposes (I love the hymn “God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform”)!
Matt 27:1-2 – The powerful conspiracy against Jesus. Compare Psalm 2
Matt 27:3-5 – The treachery and suicide of Judas.
Matt 27:6 – The leader wanted to APPEAR righteous, so they’re straining to keep the LETTER of the law, ignoring that they’re dealing with money they paid to get Judas to betray the only perfectly innocent man who’s ever lived.
Matt 27:12-13 – “no answer” – Fulfilling Isaiah 53:7
Matt 27:15-24 – Note the sinful weakness of Pilate. He knows Jesus is innocent and keeps trying to get the crowd to release him. But he eventually caves to their demands.
Matt 27:20-25 – The wicked fickleness of the crowd. Just days ago, they were shouting “Hosanna” (meaning “Save us, we pray”). But they soon saw that Jesus wouldn’t be the kind of Rescuer THEY wanted (they wanted deliverance from Rome, and Jesus came to save His people from their sins). So now they’re calling out “Let him be crucified!”
Matt 27:26-27 – Fulfilling Ps 22:17 – “I can count all my bones”. The Roman soldiers would strip the prisoner then use a whip so deeply that bones and intestines could be seen. Isaiah 52:14 prophesied that the Suffering Servant would be so marred that He wouldn’t even look human. Christian, our own sin that we treat so lightly made all this suffering and death necessary.
Matt 27:35 – Fulfilling Ps 22:18
Matt 27:38 – Fulfilling Isa 53:12b – “numbered with the transgressors”
Matt 27:39-44 – Fulfilling Ps 22:6-8
Matt 27:46 – Jesus quoting Psalm 22:1, conscious that He is fulfilling every detail from Psalm 22. That psalm was written about 1,000 years before Jesus’ crucifixion, and written hundreds of years before crucifixion was even INVENTED as an execution.
Matt 27:50 – Jn 19:30 tells that Jesus cried out: “It is finished!”
Matt 27:51 – The thick curtain that separated off the Holy of Holies (symbolizing the presence of holy God) was torn (“from top to bottom” – from God’s side, reaching down to humanity). Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself opened the way into God’s presence!
Matt 27:52-23 – Only Matthew is inspired by God to record this detail. It’s a reminder that the resurrection of believers was purchased by the death of Jesus. The Getty’s song The Power of the Cross summarizes Matt 27:45-53 like this: [“Now the daylight flees; Now the ground beneath quakes as its Maker bows His head. Curtain torn in two, dead are raised to life; “Finished!” the vict’ry cry.”]
Optional Psalm 22:12-24 – See notes from Matt 27 today about how this Psalm is fulfilled so powerfully at the cross. Note that there’s a clear turning point near the end of Ps 22, reflecting confidence in God even in suffering. These are hints of the resurrection and beyond!
Optional Proverbs 6:6-11 – Proverbs is balanced about WHY poverty exists. Upcoming sections certainly warn about how oppression can be linked (and how God is watching and will judge the oppressors). But today’s reading makes clear that a key reason for SOME poverty is laziness. I’ve written in my margin next to Prov 6:9-11 – “BALANCE to Ps 127:1-3, Mark 4:26-29.” In those Scriptures we see PROPER sleep as a gift from God – we do what we can, then rest in God.