(Genesis 29, Matthew 28; Optional Psalm 22:22-31, Proverbs 6:12-15)
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GENESIS 29 – God is efficient, simultaneously bringing about multiple wise and good purposes. Jacob, who deceived his father Isaac in Gen 27 is about to learn the deep pain of being tricked by his father-in-law, Laban. AND God begins establishing the twelve tribes of Israel, using even the sinful tricks of Laban and the polygamy of Jacob to fulfill His good and wise purpose. AND we see another glimpse of the pain for everyone when God’s ideals are ignored. AND we get reminded that God notices and helps the hurting and marginalized.
Gen 29:18 – Marrying a close relative was still fine at this time. God gave laws to Moses several hundred years later about not marrying a close relative.
Gen 29:31-30:24 – God putting in place the fathers of the tribes of Israel. Jacob will be renamed Israel in Gen 32:28, and his sons are the names of the tribes. Even among all the sin and pain of this section, God is at work, fulfilling His plan.
Gen 29:31-35 – Yahweh DOES notice Leah’s hurt and graciously opens her womb. But notice the sadness that persists when she keeps putting her hopes in her husband’s affection. Of course, a husband SHOULD love his wife, but our HOPES and identity must be found in GOD, not any person.
Some, noticing the polygamy allowed by God here, try to infer allowance for “homosexual marriage.” But God NEVER recognizes “homosexual marriage,” and expresses only judgment for those who have sex outside male/female marriage (Heb 13:4). God DOES recognize, allow and regulate polygamy and divorce. But both polygamy and divorce violate His pattern in Gen 2:24 of one man and one woman for life. And Gen 29:31-30:24 is one more time when God allows us to see the pain for all when His pattern is violated.
MATTHEW 28 – The whole book of Matthew has trumpeted that “Jesus is the promised King from David’s line” (Matt 1:1, 6, 17). But NOT a king like we’d expect! The genealogy in Matt 1 listed five women (shocking already for that time) with shocking backgrounds. In Matt 2, the wise men showed up in Jerusalem (the capital city with both the palace and the Temple) where you’d EXPECT God’s King would be born but found that He was a few miles away in little Bethlehem. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) Jesus shows that the values of His Kingdom are opposite from the world’s. He keeps teaching the disciples that the greatest in His Kingdom will be the best servant. Jesus is both the triumphant Son of Man (Matt 26:63-64, Dan 7:13-14) AND the Suffering Servant (Isa 53, Matt 26-27). And now the Gospel of Matthew closes with some more surprises…
Matt 28:1-10 – At this time in history, women were often devalued. But God chose them as the first witnesses of the resurrection! This shouldn’t surprise us, as Gen 1:27 says that men and women are EQUALLY created in God’s image.
Matt 28:1 – Under the law of Moses, Jews were clearly commanded to observe the Sabbath (Saturday) as a day of rest. All through Matthew we’ve seen Jesus confront the legalistic and burdensome ways that Sabbath keeping had been misinterpreted and abused. And Jesus rises from the dead early Sunday morning. Although there is not a COMMAND ever given for believers to meet on Sundays, from the earliest days of church history believers have tried hard to gather for worship on Sunday, as a mini “Resurrection memorial” each week. Many of the early Christians were slaves and could not get a full day off on ANY day of the week. But they tried to assemble at least early Sunday morning before the day’s labor.
Matt 28:8, 17 – Jesus received their worship, because He is God in the flesh.
Matt 28:18 – “All authority” – He is God in the flesh, King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16). AND He is joyfully submissive to His heavenly Father (“has been GIVEN to me”). BOTH are true! In John 5:23 Jesus is clear that He is to be worship and honored JUST AS God the Father is worshiped and honored (and don’t miss Jn 5:18). AND in Jn 5:19, 30 Jesus is clear that He is fully SUBMISSIVE to God the Father. And it will be like this for all eternity (see 1 Cor 15:24-28) – God the Son has all authority AND is submissive to God the Father. Jesus is fully equal in essence and happily submissive in role. There are applications to marriage, made clear in 1 Cor 11:3.
Matt 28:18-20 – The GREAT COMMISSION… The central command in Greek is “MAKE DISCIPLES”. A disciple is one who follows in order to learn from and be like the One they’re following.
WHY make disciples? Here the answer is: “Because Jesus, our Commander-in-Chief with all authority tells us to.”
WHO should make disciples? Well, the promise Jesus gives at the end of this is “to the end of the age,” until He returns, so this commission is for all believers until He returns!
WHERE should we make disciples? The Greek is literally “as you are going,” so wherever we find ourselves. And since we’re to “make disciples of all nations,” some of us need to go to places around the world where the Gospel is not, and all of us need to pray and help send them!
WHAT do we do with these disciples? 1) Baptize them. 2) Teach them, and the curriculum is ALL that Jesus commanded. Are you feeling the hugeness of this commission?! That’s why it closes with such a huge promise – Jesus’ own presence (through His indwelling Holy Spirit)!
Tomorrow we start the Gospel of Mark! Here’s a 10-minute video overview: https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/mark/
Optional Psalm 22:22-31 – So much of Ps 22 has given detailed prophecies that were fulfilled on the cross, but there’s a real turn to victory and praise at the end. A Christian will be reminded of the victory of the resurrection and beyond (compare Ps 22:27 and the Great Commission in Matt 28:18-20)!
And all this victory purchased by Jesus on the cross. The last phrase in Ps 22 – “He has done it” is very similar to Jesus’ closing cry on the cross “It is finished!”
Optional Proverbs 6:12-15 – Yet another reminder that the wicked may SEEM for a while to be getting away with their evil, but “calamity WILL come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.”