June 6, Reading 1 – Deuteronomy 18:9-19:21

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

Detestable ways: child sacrifice, and all occult practices, such as the use of mediums to contact the dead or to prophesy the future. What Moses says about the prophet is fulfilled in Christ. (Acts 7:37+) The eye for an eye bit is just the requirement for judges that the punishment fit the crime!

SJA Notes

“A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed.”

These elements of law and command glimmer with reminders of what has come before and what will come after in God’s word.

We know that having more than a single witness to a crime is a good and wise structure to have in place in our legal systems.

But here Jesus gives us an example of how we can deepen and strengthen our understanding of God’s word.

Jesus takes this rule in Matthew 18 and drills down, establishing what we use in His church as our mechanism for discipline (usually of a moral, doctrinal or relational failing).

Jesus says in Matthew 18:16,

“But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”

This is a special link. Generally we would think of the 2-3 witness rule in judgement for the failure to keep the law.

Here though it seems Jesus is saying that once you’ve tried a 1-1 conversation, take another 2+ of God’s people so that they may witness the response of the one who refuses to listen.

This speaks to a biblical structure of leadership and law within our church governance. We should not be able to bring accusations to the court of the church body (the congregation) without first having followed this process.

As well there is mercy at each step before escalation. Meet one-on-one. Then a small number. Then the church body. At each point the purpose and hope is repentance rather than someone paying for their crimes.

Let us be as the Lord is,

“The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Psalm 45:8

* Dear God Above,

Please write Your word on our hearts today, that we might not sin against You.

Please plant Your word deep down in us and grow it, that we would be good soil and bear much fruit.

Please open the eyes and ears of our hearts to what You are saying to us today.

Amen.

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