The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 85

Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End ~ Part 7

In our last post, we examined Yeshua’s Concern for the Young. This post looks at several topics, including Works Done in Yeshua’s Name and other topics.

Works Done in Yeshua’s Name

38 Yochanan said to him, “Rabbi, we saw a man expelling demons in your name; and because he wasn’t one of us, we told him to stop.” 39 But Yeshua said, “Don’t stop him, because no one who works a miracle in My name will soon after be able to say something bad about Me. 40 For whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Indeed, whoever gives you even a cup of water to drink because you come in the name of the Messiah – yes! I tell you that he will certainly not lose his reward. [1]

He wasn’t one of us implies that since he wasn’t an Emissary (apostle), they were the only authorized agents of Yeshua. He will certainly not lose his reward alludes to the day of final judgment and the expectations that Yeshua’s followers treat all people with love and kindness. This distinguishes them from those who do not follow Yeshua.

Rebuke and Discipline

In this section, Yeshua explains how to handle a sinning brother or sister in the community.

15 “Moreover, if your brother commits a sin against you, go and show him his fault – but privately, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. 16 If he doesn’t listen, take one or two others with you so that every accusation can be supported by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to hear them, tell the congregation; and if he refuses to listen even to the congregation, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. [2]

Approaching the offender in private would avoid humiliating that person. It also would minimize the opportunity for misunderstanding and gossip. If he doesn’t listen, take one or two others with youemphasizes the importance of the issue, and provides the benefit of others’ wisdom. It is unclear if these additional witnesses are meant to verify the original charge as people who witnessed the wrongdoing or to witness that the person has been charged with wrongdoing. Either way, they become witnesses of the efforts to resolve it. See also D’varim (Deuteronomy 19:15).

The Emissaries Given Authority

18 Yes! I tell you people that whatever you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven. 19 To repeat, I tell you that if two of you here on earth agree about anything people ask, it will be for them from my Father in heaven. 20 For wherever two or three are assembled in my name, I am there with them.”  [3]

David Stern makes an interesting comment on this passage: food for thought:

Contrary to most Christian interpreters, I take the p’shat(“plain sense”) of this passage to be dealing with making legal judgments and halakhah, [4] not prayer.

The words rendered prohibit and permit (v. 18) are, literally, “bind” and “loose.” These terms were used in first-century Judaism to mean “prohibit” and “permit.” In this sense, Yeshua, when appointing His talmidim to be His successors, used the familiar formula (Matt 16:19, 18:18). By these words, He virtually invested them with the same authority as that which He found belonging to the Scribes and P’rushim who ‘bind heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will not move them with one of their fingers; that is, ‘loose them,’ as they have the power to do (Matt 23:2–4).

Yeshua is speaking to those who have authority to regulate Messianic communal life (vv. 15–17) and commissions them to establish Brit Hadashah halakhah, that is, to make authoritative decisions where there is a question about how Messianic life ought to be lived. In v. 19, Yeshua is teaching that when an issue is brought formally to a panel of two or three Messianic Community leaders (elders), and they render a halakhic decision here on earth, they can be assured that the authority of God in heaven stands behind them. [5]

In our next post, we conclude our exploration of Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End by looking at Kefa Asks About Forgiveness and The Parable of the Servants Debt.

Clcik here for the PDF version.

[1] Mark 9:38–41 (see also Luke 9:49-5).
[2] Mattityahu 18:15–17.
[3] Mattityahu 18:18–20.
[4] See the Glossary for the definition.
[5] David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary.

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