We are reading the Bible through together this year, using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan published by the Navigators. You can download it free of charge from: https://www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans/
Two of today’s readings strike me on opposite sides of the spectrum. The record of Jesus’ humiliation in Matthew, and the wonder of God’s equitable system in Israel out of Deuteronomy.
If you’ve never spent much time reading the chapters in Deuteronomy we have today, and a few before and after – you’ve cheated yourself. The brilliance of the laws God gave cannot help but cheer you. They are so fair, so equitable. So pleasant to contemplate. They speak to a life of foundational love – much like what is spoken of in our Romans reading. Caring for lost goods with an eye toward restoring them to their rightful owner. Building your house so as to protect others from possible injury. The crime of manstealing. Mercy and shelter for refugees. Provision for the poor. The requirement to deal fairly both in business and at home in our familial relationships. What would make for sweeping prison reform and an overhaul of our entire judicial system if we would only hear it. On and on these chapters drip with wisdom, compassion, justice and blessing. They ought to greatly inform the Christian mind in their principles today.
On the other end of the spectrum is the account of Jesus’ crucifixion in Matt. 27. Yes, it is the very foundation of our salvation – but I cannot read this portion without it piercing my own heart. How humiliated He was. So mocked, mistreated and shamed. Even now the tears well up in my eyes again. What He suffered for us. What He went through. What He endured as His royal dignity was as soiled as fallen humanity was capable of doing. And this, to purchase rebellious and wicked men and women like you and me. To pay the price for your sin and mine The spectacle is truly stunning. And I think we pass over it way too quickly and unfeelingly. We need to pause at passages like these and let them really sink in. In less than 20 verses we are met with a spectacle of eternal importance, saturated with injustice, cruelty, human fallenness at its very worst, and the display of grace, humility and willingness do whatever it would take to secure our salvation. Stop at that passage. Wonder. Weep. And rejoice.
As we ponder both of these passages, we are once again allowed to glimpse the glory of God and the God of glory in 2 very different but awe-inspiring ways. His grace toward His people both in His societal framework, and in His saving wonder. How He blesses in every way possible. From the most mundane aspects of life, to the deepest needs of our eternal souls – He invades every part of human existence in love, mercy, compassion and grace.
What a wondrous God we serve.