The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 88

In Yerushalayim for Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) ~ Part 2

In our last post, we began our series on In Yerushalayim for the Feast of Sukkot. In this post, we learn that He goes privately to Yerushalayim and Teaches in the Temple.

Yeshua Goes Privately to Yerushalayim

10 But after His brothers had gone up to the festival, He too went up, not publicly but in secret. 11 At the festival, the Judeans were looking for Him. “Where is He?” they asked. 12 And among the crowds, there was much whispering about Him. Some said, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “No, He is deceiving the masses.” 13 However, no one spoke about him openly for fear of the Judeans. [1]

In verse 12, the Greek noun used here for whispering refers to behind-the-scenes talk that can be either positive or negative depending on context. In private discussions, people speculated about Yeshua and had positive and negative opinions about Him. The accusation that He was deceiving the masses is intended to depict Yeshua as one among the false teachers and messianic pretenders of the day (compare Matt 27:63). Based on this accusation, later Jewish tradition condemned Yeshua of sorcery and leading Isra’el astray.

Yeshua Teaches in the Temple

14 Not until the festival was half over did Yeshua go up to the Temple courts and begin to teach. 15 The Judeans were surprised: “How does this man know so much without having studied?” they asked.

Without having studied, that is, without having attended any of the usual yeshivot, sitting under the Rabbis and Torah teachers who taught the Pharisaic oral tradition of Torah. The implication is that the speakers regarded Yeshua as an ‘am-ha’aretz, that is, a “hick.”

16 So Yeshua gave them an answer: “My teaching is not My own; it comes from the One who sent me. 17 If anyone wants to do His will, he will know whether my teaching is from God or I speak on my own.

If anyone wants to do His will refers not merely to feelings, attitudes, or mental assent but to having decided to obey God. Such a person will come to know whether Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of God, as He himself teaches.

18 A person who speaks on his own is trying to win praise for himself, but a person who tries to win praise for the one who sent him is honest; there is nothing false about him. 19 Didn’t Moshe give you the Torah? Yet not one of you obeys the Torah! Why are you out to kill Me?”

Two quick observations: (1) the people are not obeying the Torah Moshe gave them, even though they suppose they are; for if they were, they would welcome Yeshua. (2) Yeshua was spiritually discerning: He spoke what they felt in their hearts (2:25) but did not want to admit (see next verse).

20 “You have a demon!” the crowd answered. “Who’s out to kill you?”

A godly person reacts to having his sin exposed by admitting it, being sorry for having done wrong, and resolving, with God’s power, to change. Here we see the typical reaction of a worldly person to having his sin exposed: the accusation of the exposer and denial of the sin.

21 Yeshua answered them, “I did one thing; and because of this, all of you are amazed.

I did only one thing, literally, “one work,” the miracle in Yochanan 5:9, and because of merely this, all of you are, in fact, amazed despite yourselves, even though at the same time you are out to kill Me because I did it on Shabbat.

22 Moshe gave you b’rit-milah – —not that it came from Moshe but from the Patriarchs—and you do a boy’s b’rit-milah on Shabbat. 23 If a boy is circumcised on Shabbat so that the Torah of Moshe will not be broken, why are you angry with me because I made a man’s whole body well on Shabbat? 24 Stop judging by surface appearances and judge the right way!” [2]

Moshe gave you b’rit-milah (circumcision) in the Torah at Leviticus 12:3. Not that it came from Moshe but from the Patriarchs, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya‛akov; for God gave the command of circumcision to Avraham in Genesis 17:1–27, and he carried it out on Yitzchak at Genesis 21:4, all centuries before Moshe. A boy is circumcised on Shabbat so that the Torah of Moshe will not be broken. The Torah states that a Jewish male child is to be circumcised on the eighth day of his life (Genesis 17:12, Leviticus 12:3), but it also prohibits work on Shabbat (Exodus 20:9–10, 23:12, 31:14–15, 34:21, 35:2; Leviticus 23:3; Deuteronomy 5:12–14). Therefore, if the eighth day of a boy’s life falls on Shabbat, is circumcision to be put off till the ninth day, or is Shabbat to be broken by doing the work of tool-carrying and cutting needed for the operation? The Judeans (the Jewish religious authorities centered in Judea) of Yeshua’s time had already decided the question, and their decision stands on record in the Talmud. The rabbis were confronted with the conflict between the law against working on Shabbat and the commandment that a man should circumcise his son on the eighth day of his life. The conflict arises from the fact that cutting and carrying through a public domain the tools needed to perform a b’rit-milah are kinds of work forbidden by the rabbis on Shabbat. They decided that if the eighth day falls on Shabbat, one does the necessary work and circumcises the boy. Still, if the circumcision must occur after the eighth day for health reasons, it may not be done on Shabbat in violation of the work prohibitions – one waits till a weekday.

In our next post, we continue with our new series on Yeshua’s Journey to Yerushalayim for the Feast of Sukkot. In our next post, we will learn more about Yeshua’s Teaching in the Temple.

Clcik here for the PDF version.

[1]  Yochanan 7:10–13.
[2]  Yochanan 7:14–24.

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