The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 140

Passion Week ~ Tuesday (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. Yes, we are still on Tuesday.

Self-Righteousness Condemned

In Mattityahu 23, Yeshua’s denunciation of the establishment (vv. 1–36) is combined with compassionate regret at their rejection of Him (vv. 37–39). First, He talks about them (vv. 1–12), then speaks to them (vv. 13–36). We will be looking at the entire chapter over this and the next one or two posts.

Then Yeshua addressed the crowds and His talmidim: “The Torah-teachers and the P’rushim,” He said, “sit in the seat of Moshe.

The Torah teachers and the P’rushimsit in the seat of Moshe, exercising the power of “the cohen or judge in office at that time” (Deuteronomy 17:8–13), officially interpreting the Torah.

So whatever they tell you, take care to do it. But don’t do what they do, because they talk but don’t act! They tie heavy loads onto people’s shoulders but won’t lift a finger to help carry them. Everything they do is done to be seen by others; for they make their t’fillin broad and their tzitzit (fringes) long,

T’fillin (pictured below) are small leather boxes containing parchment scrolls on which are written excerpts from the Torah (precisely, Deuteronomy 6:4–9, 11:13–20, Exodus 13:1–16). Observant Jewish men past bar-mitzvah age (13) strap one on one arm and the other around the head during the morning weekday synagogue service, in literal obedience to Deuteronomy 6:8, “You shall bind them [that is, God’s mitzvot] for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes.”

they love the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and they love being greeted deferentially in the marketplaces and being called ‘Rabbi.’

Rabbi means, literally, “my great one,” and, less directly, “my master,” “my teacher.” It became a title of respect used for Torah scholars by everyone, even those of the same or higher rank.

“But you are not to let yourselves be called ‘Rabbi’; because you have one Rabbi, and you are all each other’s brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘Father.’ because you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to let yourselves be called ‘leaders,’ because you have one Leader, and he is the Messiah! 11 The greatest among you must be your servant, 12 for whoever promotes himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be promoted. [1]

In contrast to the P’rushim, Yeshua commands us to avoid the pride and prestige accompanying the title of Rabbi. Personally, I prefer Pastor for those who lead a community of Believers.

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] Mattityahu 23:8–12.

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