Ruth: 3:1-9; a study on chesed – our Lord’s use of the word.

Class Outline:

Title: Ruth: 3:1-9; a study on chesed - our Lord’s use of the word.  


Last time we saw Jesus tell a paralytic man that his sins were forgiven. It was significant that He did this in front of the religious leaders of Israel when they had first come to watch Him and hear Him speak.


MAT 9:3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This fellow blasphemes."


MAT 9:4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, "Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?


MAT 9:5 "For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, and walk'?


MAT 9:6 "But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" —  then He said to the paralytic —  "Rise, take up your bed, and go home." 


MAT 9:7 And he rose, and went home.


MAT 9:8 But when the multitudes saw this, they were filled with awe, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.


From this point on they would keep close tabs on Jesus. So they are following His movements, and what does He do next? He calls one of the most hated men in Israel, a tax-collector.


To the Jew a tax-collector was one of the most visible signs of the degradation of their nation, subjugated to Roman rule. These Jews collected taxes for the Romans. Taxes were taken for traveling on the roads and for crossing the Sea of Galilee, much like a toll, and Matthew (Jewish name Levi) likely was one of these collectors. They generally became wealthy men, which made them more hated, as it was seen to be at the expense of their fellow Jews.


MAT 9:9 And as Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man, called Matthew, sitting in the tax office; and He said to him, "Follow Me!" And he rose, and followed Him.


LUK 5:29

And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax-gatherers and other people [Matthew and Mark - sinners] who were reclining at the table with them.


Matthew likely threw himself a goodbye banquet, as he would no longer be collecting taxes or frequenting his usual associates since he would be following Jesus. It may be that as a believer and a follower that he wanted his associates to hear Jesus speak. In a way, this may have been an evangelistic meeting organized by Matthew. Just think of the things Jesus would have taught them, parables, OT prophecy concerning Him, forgiveness, redemption, etc.


MAT 9:10 And it happened that as He was reclining at the table in the house, behold many tax-gatherers and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples.


It doesn’t say the category of sin; just the generic word for sinners. The category therefore does not matter. They are all receiving mercy.


They served Jesus food and He served them the good news concerning Himself; freedom from sin and death.


MAT 9:11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why is your Teacher eating with the tax-gatherers and sinners?"


The Pharisees cannot see the value of chesed. They only see the value of their own laws, which they keep, and so they only see the value of themselves. There are dietary restrictions in the Law of Moses and Jesus is not violating any one of them. There is no law against eating with a tax-gatherer of a sinner.


When people don’t see the value of mercy, all they see are the laws that they keep and they project condemnation.


They could be bad laws or even good laws, but in every case, there is nothing but condemnation in their hearts. This does not in any way mean that we condone sin or bad behavior, or that we jump into the practice of sin with them. It does mean that we understand that the sinner will not find power over sin and evil without the gospel, without the understanding of the truth, without the Lord.


Let’s see an example of this in the Thessalonians.


1TH 1:1 Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.


1TH 1:2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;


1TH 1:3 constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,


1TH 1:4 knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you;


1TH 1:5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.


1TH 1:6 You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,


1TH 1:7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.


So we see that the gospel came to them (vs. 5) and that they hoped in Jesus (vs. 3) and that that hope remained steadfast (vs. 3). They were chosen of God (vs. 4), which is obviously connected with their faith, and that they, in a short time, became imitators of Paul and his team and imitators of the Lord (vs. 6).


1TH 4:1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more.


2PE 1:8

For if these qualities (virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly love, and agape love) are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.


1TH 4:2 For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.


1TH 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification [in practice]; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;


1TH 4:4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,


1TH 4:5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;


1TH 4:6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.


1TH 4:7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.


1TH 4:8 Consequently, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.


Those who reject the commands reject the HS - accept the commands, accept the HS. Can’t accept them without Him.


They are not rejecting man but the Holy Spirit. Paul tells the Thessalonians that whoever of them rejects these commands is not rejecting Paul but the Holy Spirit who was given to them. If they accept the commands, meaning they agree, are positive towards them, on board to do them, are they accepting Paul or the Holy Spirit who was given to them? It is clear that they could not accept the commands without the Holy Spirit being given to them.


Of course, and unbeliever could abstain from sexual immorality or not defraud his brother, but he could never do so because of inner love or inner acceptance of the command as given by God.


Plus, what other sins is the unbeliever hopelessly enslaved to when he gives up these out of shear human will?


I could tell a person to stop doing some form of sin, all in the spirit of condemnation, and not teach them of the power that will give them redemption and victory over that sin. The man may clean up his life due to shame and guilt imposed upon him by another, and then find after some time that the demons simply all come back and now he’s worse off than he was. The Jews had rid themselves of idolatry because they were ashamed of their ancestors who went into captivity in Babylon, however, they allowed a moral cult to fill their souls in the place of idolatry. These later ones crucified their Messiah. Their last state was worse than the first. The power over sin is to fill one’s life with the Lord, His truth, His word, His power, His love. Nothing else will fill the gaping hole in our hearts.


The love of Christ is needed by fallen men. The mercy of Christ is needed by fallen men. And then, only with that, could they follow His law (law of Christ, law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus).   


MAT 9:11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why is your Teacher eating with the tax-gatherers and sinners?"


MAT 9:12 But when He heard this [everything whispered will be shouted from the rooftops], He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 


MAT 9:13 "But go and learn what this means, 'I desire compassion [eleos], and not sacrifice, 'for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."


We have seen the principle of obedience over sacrifice, and that is just what chesed or eleos is, obedience to the law of God in loving one another as He has loved us. Samuel said that to Saul. David repeated it in Psa 40. I have come to do Your will, O God.