The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 133

Passion Week ~ Monday

In our last post, we examined the final days of Yeshua’s life and ministry. In this post, we walk with Yeshua as He returns to Yerushalayim for the final time.

Introduction [1]

On Monday, Yeshua’s popularity is still at a high peak, and the children sing His praises as if to thank Him for His continual remembrance of them. But, in contrast, Mattityahu, Mark, and Luke each record an incident almost identical to one recorded by Yochanan at the beginning of Yeshua’s ministry (Yochanan 2:13-21). Yeshua may be purifying the Temple one last time if these are two separate incidents.

Yeshua begins to speak freely of His pending crucifixion and makes a special effort to explain its purpose. Some multitudes still disbelieve in Him, but as Yochanan observes, even their disbelief is the fulfillment of prophecy.

The Unfruitful Fig Tree

12 The next day, as they came back from Beit-Anyah, he felt hungry. 13 Spotting in the distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if He could find anything on it. When He came up to it, He found nothing but leaves; for it wasn’t fig season. 14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His talmidim heard what He said. 

If Yeshua’s cursing and drying up the fig tree had been a petulant reaction to disappointment because He couldn’t satisfy His hunger, it would be unworthy of anyone, let alone the Messiah. But Yeshua is making a point utilizing prophetic drama, an acted-out parable (possibly Luke 13:6–9). Even out of season, a fig tree in leaf – it must have been in leaf to be seen in the distance (v. 12) – holds forth the promise of fruit. The typical early season for figs in Isra’el is June, but the early unripe fruit (Song of Songs 2:13) begins to show itself even before the spring leaves appear on the branches, often before Pesach.

Yeshua Cleanses the Temple

15 On reaching Yerushalayim, He entered the Temple courts and began driving out those who were carrying on business there, both the merchants and their customers. He also knocked over the desks of the money changers, upset the benches of the pigeon dealers,16 and refused to let anyone carry merchandise through the Temple courts. 17 Then, as He taught them, He said, “Isn’t it written in the Tanakh, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all the Goyim.” But you have made it into a den of robbers!”  [2]

The Plot to Kill Yeshua Delayed

18 The head cohanim and the Torah-teachers heard what He said and tried to find a way to do away with Him; they were afraid of Him because the crowds were utterly taken by His teaching. [3] But they couldn’t find any way of doing it because all the people were hanging onto his every word. [4]

In our next, we continue to follow Yeshua into Yerushalayim for His Crucifixion by the end of the week.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order by F. LaGard Smith
[2] Mark 11:12–17.
[3] Mark 11:18.
[4] Luke 19:48.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 132

Passion Week ~ Sunday (continued)

In our last post, we examined the final days of Yeshua’s life and ministry. In this post, we walk with Yeshua as He returns to Yerushalayim for the final time.

Yeshua Enters Yerushalayim

33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34, and they said, “Because the Lord needs it.” 35 They brought it to Yeshua, and, throwing their robes on the colt, they put Yeshua on it. 36 As he went along, people carpeted the road with their clothing; 37 and as he came near Yerushalayim, where the road descends from the Mount of Olives, the entire band of talmidim began to sing and praise God at the top of their voices for all the powerful works they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the King who is coming in the name of Adonai!” [1]
“Shalom in heaven!” and “Glory in the highest places!”

39 Some of the P’rushim in the crowd said to him, “Rabbi! Reprimand your talmidim!” 40 But he answered them, “I tell you that if they keep quiet, the stones will shout!” [2] 8 Many people carpeted the road with their clothing, while others spread out green branches which they had cut in the fields. [3]

Carpeting the road with their clothing was a public declaration of political allegiance (compare 2 Kings 9:13). Yeshua enters Yerushalayim as its king, and the people accept Him as such.

Yeshua Foresees Destruction

41 When Yeshua had come closer and could see the city, He wept over it, 42 saying, “If you only knew today what is needed for shalom! But for now, it is hidden from your sight. 43 For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will set up a barricade around you, encircle you, hem you in on every side,

This mode of punishment for Yerushalayim is spoken of in Isaiah 29:3, Jeremiah 6:6, and Ezekiel 4:2. The very explicit prophecy of this and the following verse was fulfilled in the Roman conquest of Yerushalayim, 66–70 CE.

44 and dash you to the ground, you and your children within your walls, leaving not one stone standing on another—and all because you did not recognize your opportunity when God offered it![4]

Yeshua’s Popularity Recognized

10 When He entered Yerushalayim, the whole city was stirred. “Who is this?” they asked. 11 And the crowds answered, “This is Yeshua, the prophet from Natzeret in the Galil.” [5] 17 The group that had been with Him when he called El’azar out of the tomb and raised Him from the dead had been telling about it. 18 It was because of this, too, that the crowd came out to meet Him – they had heard that He had performed this miracle. 19 The P’rushim said to each other, “Look, you’re getting nowhere! Why the whole world has gone after Him!” [6]

Yeshua Returns to Beit-Anyah

11 Yeshua entered Yerushalayim, went into the Temple courts, and took a good look at everything, but since it was now late, He went out with the Twelve to Beit-Anyah. [7]

In our next, we continue to follow Yeshua into Yerushalayim for His Crucifixion by the end of the week.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Psalm 118:26.
[2] Luke 19:33–40.
[3] Mark 11:8.
[4] Luke 19:41–44.
[5] Mattityahu 21:10–11.
[6] Yochanan 12:17–19.
[7] Mark 11:11.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 131

Passion Week ~ Sunday

In our last post, we examined the final days of Yeshua’s life and ministry. In this post, we walk with Yeshua as He returns to Yerushalayim for the final time.

Background

It is now late March, and Pesach is near. The time has come for Yeshua to be delivered up as our Pesach Lamb. Both Pesach and Hag HaMatzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread) are tied to the remembrance of the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. The principal Scriptural reference for Pesach is in B’midbar (Exodus) 12:1-13 and Hag HaMatzah in Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:5-8. Yeshua is about to be slain for the salvation of all who would recognize and accept the power in His blood.

Even as He approached Yerushalayim, His enemies were plotting His death. Riding on a lowly colt, Yeshua is met by multitudes who shout praise to God for having sent this “great prophet” in whom they now believe. He knows that most of them still do not understand the true nature of His messiahship and deity. He is now given the most incredible welcome of His ministry. His enemies now let Him have His day of glory. [1]

12 The next day, the large crowd that had come for the festival heard that Yeshua was on His way into Yerushalayim. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet Him, shouting,

“Deliver us!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of Adonai, the King of Isra’el!”  [2]

29 As he approached Beit-Pagei and Beit-Anyah, by the Mount of Olives, He sent two talmidim, 30 instructing them, “Go into the village ahead; on entering it, you will find a colt tied up that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks why you are untying it, tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.'” [3]

This happened in order to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet,

“Say to the daughter of Tziyon,
‘Look! Your King is coming to you,
riding humbly on a donkey
and on a colt, the offspring of a beast of burden!'” [4]

16 His talmidim did not understand this at first, but after Yeshua had been glorified, then they remembered that the Tanakh said this about Him and that they had done this for Him. [5]

They went off and found a colt in the street tied in a doorway, and they untied it. The bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They gave the answer Yeshua had told them to give, and they let them continue. They brought the colt to Yeshua and threw their robes on it, and he sat on it. [6]

In our next, we follow Yeshua into Yerushalayim for His Crucifixion by the end of the week.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  F. LaGard Smith, The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order.
[2]  Yochanan 12:12–13.
[3]  Luke 19:29–31.
[4]  Mattityahu 21:4–5 (quoting Zechariah 9.:9).
[5]  Yochanan 12:16.
[6]  Mark 11:4–7.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 130

Yeshua’s Final Journey ~ Part 7

In our last post, we have been dealing with the final days of Yeshua’s life and ministry. In this post, Yeshua Goes Toward Yerushalayim.

Yeshua Goes Toward Yerushalayim

After telling the Parable of the ten manim Luke reports that Yeshua went on ahead toward Yerushalayim. (Luke 19:28).

55 The Judean festival of Pesach was near, and many people went up from the country to Yerushalayim to perform the purification ceremony prior to Pesach. 56 They were looking for Yeshua, and as they stood in the Temple courts, they said to each other, “What do you think? that he simply won’t come to the festival?” 57 Moreover, the head cohanim and the P’rushim had given orders that anyone knowing Yeshua’s whereabouts should inform them so that they could have him arrested.

The purification ceremony prior to Pesach. Those who had become ritually unclean because of touching a dead body had to purify themselves by immersion (Numbers 9:10, 13). Sometimes the purification required seven days (Numbers 31:19–20). What do you think? That he simply won’t come to the festival? That is since He knows the authorities seek His death, will He disobey the Torah and not show up to save His skin?

Six days before Pesach, Yeshua came to Beit-Anyah, where El’azar lived, the man Yeshua had raised from the dead; 2 so they gave a dinner there in His honor. Marta served the meal, and El’azar was among those at the table with Him. 3 Miryam took a whole pint of pure oil of spikenard, which is very expensive, poured it on Yeshua’s feet, and wiped His feet with her hair so that the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But one of the talmidim, Y’hudah from K’riot, the one who was about to betray Him, said, 5 “This perfume is worth a year’s wages! Why wasn’t it sold and the money given to the poor?” 6 Now, he said this not out of concern for the poor but because he was a thief – he was in charge of the common purse and used to steal from it. Yeshua said, “Leave her alone! She kept this for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

You always have the poor among you, as Deuteronomy 15:11 teaches, but you will not always have me. While Yeshua’s point is to call the attention of His talmidim to the importance of His brief remaining time on earth, some, noting the stress Judaism puts on charity, have regarded His remark as insensitive and selfish. It is not, for two reasons: (1) Miryam’s timely act of love toward the Messiah is valued by God precisely for its unselfishness, and (2) the marginal significance of the resources here withheld from the poor is negligible compared both with their need and with the opportunities available to potential givers.

A large crowd of Judeans learned that He was there, and they came not only because of Yeshua but also so that they could see El’azar, whom He had raised from the dead. 10 The head cohanim then decided to do away with El’azar too, 11 since it was because of him that large numbers of the Judeans were leaving their leaders and putting their trust in Yeshua.  [1]

Because of him, that is, because El’azar had been raised from the dead by Yeshua, large numbers of Judeans were leaving their leaders, the P’rushim and the Head Cohanim, and putting their trust in Yeshua, who, by demonstrating God’s power and holiness commends Himself as the true leader of Judeans in particular and Jews generally.

In our next, we will begin to follow Yeshua into Yerushalayim for His Crucifixion by the end of the week.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  Yochanan 11:55-12:11

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 129

Yeshua’s Final Journey ~ Part 6

In our last post, we have been dealing with the final days of Yeshua’s life and ministry. In this post, Yeshua Tells a Parable of the Ten Minas.

Yeshua Tells a Parable of the Ten Minah (Minas)

While at Zakkai’s house, Yeshua tells a parable about a nobleman who entrusts money to his servants. The parable explains that God expects his people to appropriately steward the resources He gives. The parable also emphasizes the importance of obedience to God’s commands. A parallel account appears in Matt. 25:14–30.

11 While they were listening to this, Yeshua went on to tell a parable because He was near Yerushalayim, and the people supposed that the Kingdom of God was about to appear at any moment.

Yeshua’s proximity to Yerushalayim heightened expectations about His Messianic Kingdom.

12 Therefore, He said, A nobleman went to a country far away to have himself crowned king and then return.

A country far away suggests a lengthy interval between the man’s departure and return.

13 Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten manim [a maneh is about three months’ wages] and said to them, ‘Do business with this while I’m away.’ 14 But his countrymen hated him, and they sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to rule over us.’

They sent a delegation after him, presumably to the ruler bestowing authority on the nobleman. According to the next verse, this delegation failed to block the appointment.

15 “However, he returned, having been made king, and sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, to find out what each one had earned in his business dealings. 16 The first one came in and said, ‘Sir, your maneh has earned ten more manim.’ 17 ‘Excellent!’ he said to him. ‘You are a good servant. Because you have been trustworthy in a small matter, I am putting you in charge of ten towns.’

I am putting you in charge of ten towns. The nobleman rewards the servant by assigning him territory in the newly acquired kingdom.

18 The second one came and said, ‘Sir, your maneh has earned five more manim; 19 and to this one, he said, ‘You be in charge of five towns.’ 20 “Then another one came and said, ‘Sir, here is your maneh. I kept it hidden in a piece of cloth, 21 because I was afraid of you—you take out what you didn’t put in, and you harvest what you didn’t plant.’ 22 To him, the master said, ‘You wicked servant! I will judge you by your own words! So you knew, did you, that I was a severe man, taking out what I didn’t put in and harvesting what I didn’t plant?

The servant will be judged severely. He disobeyed the master’s command to conduct business while he was away (Luke 19:13) instead of hiding the maneh (v. 20).

23 Then why didn’t you put my money in the bank? Then, when I returned, I would have gotten it back with interest!’ 24 To those standing by, he said, ‘Take the maneh from him and give it to the one with ten manim.’ 25 They said to him, ‘Sir, he already has ten manim!’ 26 But the master answered, ‘I tell you, everyone who has something will be given more; but from anyone who has nothing, even what he does have will be taken away. 27 However, as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be their king, bring them here and execute them in my presence!'”  [1]

Will be given more indicates that the new king will reward faithful obedience, which leads to greater responsibility in managing the kingdom’s resources. Yeshua made this same point in the parable of the lamp. (8:18; compare note on Matt 25:29).

These enemies of mine are those who opposed the nobleman’s reign (Luke 19:14).

In our next, we will continue to explore Yeshua’s, Final Journey.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  Luke 19:11–27.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 128

Yeshua’s Final Journey ~ Part 5

In our last post, we have been dealing with the final days of Yeshua’s life and ministry. In this post, Yeshua Visits Zacchaeus and Heals Blind Bartimaeus.

Yeshua Visits Zacchaeus (Zakkai)

Yeshua entered Yericho and was passing through, when a man named Zakkai (The name, ironically, means “innocent” in Hebrew.) appeared who was a chief tax collector and a wealthy man. He was trying to see who Yeshua was, but, being short, he couldn’t because of the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed a fig tree in order to see him, for Yeshua was about to pass that way. When He came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zakkai! Hurry! Come down because I have to stay at your house today!” He climbed down as fast as he could and welcomed Yeshua joyfully. Everyone who saw it began muttering, “He has gone to be the house guest of a sinner.” But Zakkai stood there and said to the Lord, “Here, Lord, I am giving half of all I own to the poor; and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay him back four times as much.”

Four times as much. When a person confessed to fraud and made voluntary restitution, the Torah required him to return the amount stolen plus twenty percent (Leviticus 5:20–24(6:1–5), Numbers 5:5–7). An apprehended thief had to pay the victim double (Exodus 22:3, 6(4, 7)). But a man stealing what is essential and showing no pity was required to pay back fourfold (Exodus 21:37(22:1), 2 Samuel 12:6). Zakkai, fully repentant, not only acknowledged the heartlessness and cruelty of his behavior but voluntarily imposed upon himself the whole restitution required by the Torah for such acts.

 Yeshua said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, inasmuch as this man too is a son of Avraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.”  [1]

Salvation, Hebrew yeshu’ah, is the feminine form of Yeshua’s name. Thus, there is a wordplay: Yeshua/salvation has come to this house (compare 2:30, Mt 1:21). To seek … what was lost, as in chapter 15, and echoing Ezekiel 34:16, where God seeks His lost sheep.

Yeshua Heals Blind Bartimaeus (Bar-Timai)

46 They came to Yericho, and as Yeshua was leaving Yericho with His talmidim and a great crowd, a blind beggar, Bar-Timai (son of Timai), was sitting by the side of the road. 47 When he heard that it was Yeshua from Natzeret, he started shouting, “Yeshua! Son of David! Have pity on me!”

Son of David, a Messianic title. Therefore, by his shout, Bar-Timai was identifying Yeshua as the Messiah.

4Many people scolded him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the louder, “Son of David! Have pity on me!” 49 Yeshua stopped and said, Call him over!” They called to the blind man, “Courage! Get up! He’s calling for you!” 50 Throwing down his blanket, he jumped up and came over to Yeshua.51 “What do you want me to do for you?” asked Yeshua. The blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me be able to see again.” 52 Yeshua said to him, “Go! Your trust has healed you.” Instantly he received his sight and followed Him on the road. [2]

In our next, we will continue to explore Yeshua’s, Final Journey.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Luke 19:1–10.
[2] Mark 10:46–52.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 127

Yeshua’s Final Journey ~ Part 4

In our last post, we are now dealing with the final days of Yeshua’s life and ministry. In this post, Yeshua Hears the Request of the Mother of Ya’akov and Yochanan and Teaches on Humility.

Yeshua Hears the Request of the Mother of Ya’akov and Yochanan

The mother of Ya’akov and Yochanan boldly asks Yeshua to give her sons positions of honor in His kingdom of heaven. Yeshua uses this as an opportunity to teach about humility.

20 Then Zavdai’s sons came to Yeshua with their mother. She bowed down, begging for a favor from Him. 21 He said to her, What do you want?” She replied, “Promise that when you become king, these two sons of mine may sit, one on your right and the other on your left.” [1]

One at your right hand and one at your left refers to preeminent positions of authority and honor – the first and second in importance after Yeshua Himself.

35 Ya’akov and Yochanan, the sons of Zavdai, came up to Him and said, “Rabbi, we would like you to do us a favor.” 36 He said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 They replied, “When you are in your glory, let us sit with you, one on your right and the other on your left.” 38 But Yeshua answered, “You don’t know what you’re asking! Can you drink the cup that I am drinking? or be immersed with the immersion that I must undergo?” 3They said to Him, “We can.” Yeshua replied,“The cup that I am drinking, you will drink; and the immersion I am being immersed with, you will undergo. 40 But to sit on my right and on my left is not mine to give. Rather, it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”  [2]

Yeshua Teaches Humility

24 Now, when the other ten heard about this, they were outraged at the two brothers. 25 But Yeshua called them and said, “You know that among the Goyim, those who are supposed to rule them become tyrants, and their superiors become dictators. 26 Among you, it must not be like that. On the contrary, whoever among you wants to be a leader must become your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave! 28 For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve—and to give his life as a ransom for many.”   [3]

Must become your servant is another paradoxical statement of role reversal (compare Mattityahu 19:30; 20:16). Rather than exercising authority, a godly leader willingly becomes a servant of others. This is true in both the secular and religious worlds.

In our next, we will continue to explore Yeshua’s Final Journey.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Mattityahu 20:20–21.
[2] Mark 10:35–40.
[3] Mattityahu 20:24–28.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 126

Yeshua’s Final Journey ~ Part 3

In our last post, we are now dealing with the final days of Yeshua’s life and ministry. Yeshua follows His discussion with the Rich Young Man in this post and explains The Love of Possessions.

The Love of Possessions

23 Then Yeshua said to His talmidim, “Yes. I tell you that it will be very hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 Furthermore, I tell you that it is easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.” 25 When the talmidim heard this, they were utterly amazed. “Then who,” they asked, “can be saved?” 26 Yeshua looked at them and said, “Humanly, this is impossible; but with God, everything is possible.”

Yeshua’s image may be literal, a camel and a sewing needle, or He may refer to the narrow protective passage at the entrance to a walled city called a “needle’s eye.” Either dramatizes His point, essentially the same as in Mattityahu 6:19–24.

27 Kefa replied, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. So what will we have?”28 Yeshua said to them, “Yes. I tell you that in the regenerated world when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Isra’el.

The Tanakh speaks of a regenerated world at Isaiah 1:25–2:5, 11:1–16, 65:17; Jeremiah 23:3–8, 30:1–31:40; Micah 4:1–5:3; Zechariah 12:1–14:21; Psalms 2, 22, 89; Daniel 7–12. Also, note Romans 8:19–23 and Revelation 21:1–22:5. Rabbinic literature speaks of the ‘olam haba (“world” or “age to come”).

You … will also sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. An important Brit Hadashah verse confirming God’s promises to national Isra’el, e.g., Isaiah 1:26, “And I will restore your judges as at first.” See Ezekiel 48, Isaiah 9:5–6(6–7). This verse gives a rationale for choosing twelve emissaries (10:2–4) and maintaining that number (Ac 1:15–26); also, compare Revelation 21:10–14.

29 Everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times more, and he will obtain eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. [1]

Yeshua Foretells His Death for the Third Time

32 They were on the road going up to Yerushalayim. Yeshua was walking ahead of them, and they were amazed – and those following were afraid. So again, taking the Twelve along with Him, He began telling them what was about to happen to Him. 33 “We are now going up to Yerushalayim, where the Son of Man will be handed over to the head cohanim and the Torah-teachers. They will sentence Him to death and turn Him over to the Goyim (Gentiles), 34 who will jeer at Him, spit on Him, beat Him, and kill Him; but after three days, He will rise.” [2] 34 However, they understood none of this; its meaning had been hidden from them, and they had no idea what he was talking about.[3]

Passages such as Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 were understood by the early church as referring to the sufferings endured by Yeshua (compare Acts 3:18; 17:2–3; 26:22–23).

In our next, we will continue to explore Yeshua’s Final Journey.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  Mattityahu 19:23–30.
[2]  Mark 10:32–34.
[3]  Luke 18:34.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 125

Yeshua’s Final Journey ~ Part 2

In our last post, we begin a new chapter dealing with the final days of Yeshua’s life and ministry to count down. In this post, Yeshua Blesses the Children and Talks to A Rich Young Man.

Yeshua Blesses the Children

13 Then children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray for them, but the talmidim rebuked the people bringing them. 14 However, Yeshua said, “Let the children come to me, don’t stop them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 Then, after laying His hands on them, He went on His way. [1]

Yeshua Talks to A Rich Young Man

16 A man approached Yeshua and said, “Rabbi, what good thing should I do in order to have eternal life?”

Eternal life describes life in the kingdom of the Messiah, which starts now but extends forever (compare John 3:16–17).

He said to him, 17 “Why are you asking me about good? There is One who is good! But if you want to obtain eternal life, observe the mitzvot.” 18 The man asked him, “Which ones?” and Yeshua said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t give false testimony 19 honor father and mother and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Yeshua names the sixth – ninth, and fifth of the Ten Commandments. These deal with interpersonal relationships, as does “Love your neighbor as yourself,” which subsumes the others (see Romans 13:8–10).

20 The young man said to him, “I have kept all these; where do I still fall short?” 21 Yeshua said to him, “If you are serious about reaching the goal, go and sell your possessions, give to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me!” 2But when the young man heard this, he went away sad because he was wealthy. [2]

If you are serious about reaching the goal. Usually, and with equal justification, rendered, “If you want to be perfect.” Yeshua sees the young man’s attachment to his possessions as a hindrance to faith. He commands the man to rid himself of whatever prevents him from committing to the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the only instance of someone declining to follow Yeshua after a direct invitation.

In our next, we will continue to explore Yeshua’s Final Journey.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Mattityahu 19:13–15.
[2] Mattityahu 19:16–22.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 124

Yeshua’s Final Journey ~ Part 1

In our last post, we conclude our examination of His Raising of Lazarus and saw Yeshua withdraw to a region near the desert, to a village called Ephraim. In this post, we begin a new chapter dealing with the final days of Yeshua’s life and ministry to count down.

Introduction

What occurs during this period, probably between January and March, is a microcosm of His entire ministry. There is more teaching to be done and more confrontations with the P’rushim. He once again blesses little children and reminds His followers of the burdens they must bear. As He has done twice before, Yeshua tells of His impending death.

More parables are taught, and still, more people are to be healed. He even has to admonish His closest talmidim of the spiritual nature of His kingdom and the need for humility and service. 1

P’rushim Question Yeshua on the Issue of Divorce

3 Some P’rushim came and tried to trap Him by asking, “Is it permitted for a man to divorce his wife on any ground whatever?” 4 He replied, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, 5 and that he said, ‘For this reason, a man should leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two are to become one flesh’? 6 Thus they are no longer two, but one. So then, no one should split apart what God has joined together.”

7 They said to him, “Then why did Moshe give the commandment that a man should hand his wife a get and divorce her?” 8 He answered, “Moshe allowed you to divorce your wives because your hearts are so hardened. But this is not how it was at the beginning. 9 Now what I say to you is that whoever divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery!” 2

The only text in the Five Books of Moshe dealing with divorce is Deuteronomy 24:1–4, and its discussion of grounds is perfunctory. Yeshua, in recalling Scripture, harks back to the beginning, in Gan-Eden (Mattityahu 19:4–5), to support His view that marriage must not be dissolved for anything less than the most direct insult to its one-flesh integrity, adultery. Verse 9 may imply that divorce without remarriage is allowable for lesser offenses.

The Talmidim Question Yeshua

10 The talmidim said to Him, “If that is how things are between husband and wife, it would be better not to marry!” 11 He said to them, “Not everyone grasps this teaching, only those for whom it is meant. 12 For there are different reasons why men do not marry – some because they were born without the desire, some because they have been castrated, and some because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever can grasp this, let him do so.” 3

Judaism has always considered marriage both normal and desirable – “The unmarried person lives without joy, without blessing, and without good …. An unmarried man is not fully a man” (Talmud: Yevamot 62b–63a). On the other hand, some branches of Christianity came to grant abnormally high status to celibacy.

Depending on the calling and preferences of the individual, Yeshua allows that either the married or the single life can be one of service to God and humanity; and He takes care to minimize needless guilt on the part of those making a choice.

In our next, we will continue to explore Yeshua’s Final Journey.

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1 F. LaGard Smith, The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order.
2 Mattityahu 19:3-9.
3 Mattityahu 19:10–12.