In the first few chapters Paul is outlining our need for grace, righteousness given by faith…
It would be quite easy to look down on the list of sins of Romans 1 and pass judgement, but Paul says that’s hypocritical – who doesn’t gossip, boast or holds envy? We are all sinners outside of Christ. Whether we have the Law because we are Jewish or not as Gentiles (v14), making up our own Law.
In the next paragraph Paul tackles the pride for those who are Jewish – having the Law and relationship to God. If you break it, you are in just as much trouble!
Jacob’s relationship with Laban is getting rockier – Laban’s upper hand is not so upper as the speckled flocks increase under Jacobs careful interbreeding! God speaks to Jacob – there has been a maturing of his walk with God over the school of hard knocks of the previous 20 years(v41-42). He can see God’s hand in his life.
Rachel and Leah feel estranged from Laban anyway v14.
As ever with human nature, everyone can see the dodgy morals of others but not themselves!
Sadly Rachel had got even with her father to by stealing his gods.
Finally all the differences are settled and Laban gets to kiss his children and grandchildren goodbye. They didn’t live happily ever after together, but they did sort it out enough to move on well.
The day of the banquet arrives – Esther, the King and Haman are together. The king grants Esther a request. She asks for her people to be spared from being sold to annihilation. The Kind asked who did it. And she points to Haman. The King is angry and storms out and Haman foolishly throws himself on Esther to beg mercy. The king walks back in at this inopportune moment and seals his fate.
I’ve always loved the story of the friends bringing the paralytic guy to get healed – I was in a sketch of it at the age of ten in a church weekend away at Ashburnham, playing the light to carry paralysed man!
“Son your sins are forgiven” brings the wrath of the teachers of the law – because only God can fogive sins generally. So doing means Jesus is claiming to be God! The miracle was proof that He could do it. He is God!
The calling of Levi/Matthew is significant. The first thing he does is invite Jesus for a meal mixing his new Christian friends with his non Christian friends. Great principle for life – food and mixing Christians with non-Christians and trusting God to make some divine appointments happen!
Jesus is radically changing things – getting rid of the odl winseskin of being under the law and bringing the new wineskin of life under grace and filled with the Spirit, which has real power for relationship with God and radical faith filled obedience to be the kind of people God wants us to be and do the exploits he has for us too!