We are on day 17 of blogging through the Bible using the Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan
Three visitors come to Abraham and Sarah and receive hospitality (Heb 13:2 Do not forget to entertain (show hospitality) to strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it) – this time one of them is the Lord(v10) who prophecies next year Sarah wil have a son. The promise is near it’s beginning of fulfilment! Sarah laughs but not of faith. She is rebuked because nothing is too hard for the Lord v14.
Abraham pleads for Sodom and Gomorah because his son Lot lives there – this passage teaches about the power of persistent prayer. It shows the paradox of a sovereign God who answers prayer. A mystery – but believe and in both and practice prayer!
People matter to God! That’s why they are counted and named here! They have re-built the wall, now they will re-build the people of God
Jesus Transfigured, Triumphant and Taxed!
Transfiguration – three disciples and Jesus go up a hill, where Christ transformed and the Father speaks from heaven “This is my son whom I love, with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”
The Father commands the disciples to listen to Jesus not Himself. One would think that a voice from heaven would say, “Listen to me!” But the Father said, “Hear Him!” Everything points us to Jesus.
When they come down the come to a crowd and a demonised biy the disciples couldn’t heal.
On previous occasions the disciples were able to cast demons out (Luke 10:17). Yet in this case they could not cure him. This is because there are ranks of demonic powers (Ephesians 6:12), and evidently, some demons are stronger (more stubborn, resistant) than others. Since the disciples had been given the authority to cast out demons before (Matthew 10:8), apparently this demon was more difficult than most.
Their failure was in fact good for them. In taught them…
- It taught them not to get into a rut of mechanical ministry.
- It taught them the great superiority of Jesus.
- It taught them to linger in the presence of Jesus.
- It taught them to come to Jesus with the problem.
The issue was faith. Spurgeon: Little faith can accomplish great things; but great faith can accomplish even greater things. What matters most is what our faith is in, the object of our faith. “The eye cannot see itself. Did you ever see your own eye? In a mirror you may have done so, but that was only a reflection of it. And you may, in like manner, see the evidence of your faith, but you cannot look at the faith itself. Faith looks away to itself to the object of faith, even to Christ.”
The tax issue was a normal, but controversial, tax applied to every Jewish man. Peter gives teh simple answer yes he does. Jesus didn’t need to as a Rabbi or as our great High Priest, but he did so as not to cause offence. This time He does it miraculously!
Paul continues his journey, planting and strengthening churches.
In Thessalonica, a mob tries to find Paul at Jason;’s house but they escape at night to Berea.
The Bereans are famously more noble than the Thessalonicans because they checked the Scriptures to check the preacher’s preaching.
In Athens, Pauls does some “ethnographics”. He wanders round getting a feel for the place and working out who he can contextualise the Gospel. He spots lots of statues to lots of gods, so they are spiritual people and especially one to the unknown god – so he homes in on that for his gospel presentation. The Lord is that unknown god! The key and climax to his gospel presentation is the resurrection again!
The reaction is twofold – some sneering and some salvations. Keep pressing on, sharing the Gospel with friends and family!