The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 106

In Yerushalayim for Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication)

In our last post, we completed our topic in His Ministry from Galilee to Judea. In this post, Yeshua has gone to Yerushalayim for Hanukkah.

 Hanukkah is an annual festival celebrated on eight successive days, during which no eulogies are delivered, nor is fasting permitted. It begins on the 25th day of Kislev, the third month of the Jewish calendar, corresponding approximately to December in the Gregorian calendar. This year (2022), Hanukkah starts at sundown on December 19thHanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, and Feast of the Maccabees. The eight-day Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication) celebrates the rededication of the Jewish temple in December 164 BCE, after its desecration by the Seleucid ruler Antiochus Epiphanes IV in 167 BCE (1 Maccabees 1:59). If you have never read the Apocrypha, I would highly encourage you to read the background of this critical event Jewish history.

 22 Then came Hanukkah in Yerushalayim. It was winter 23 ,and Yeshua was walking around inside the Temple area in Shlomo’s Colonnade (The eastern part of the walkway surrounding the outer court of Herod’s Temple).24 So the Judeans surrounded him and said to him, “How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us publicly!” 25 Yeshua answered them, “I have already told you, and you don’t trust me. The works I do in my Father’s name testify on my behalf, 26 but the reason you don’t trust is that you are not included among my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, 28 and I give them eternal life. They will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands. 29 My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no one can snatch them from the Father’s hands. 30 I and the Father are one.”

I and the Father are one, the same One as in the Shema: “Adonai, our God, Adonai is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4). Yeshua’s self-assertion of His divinity is occasioned by His regard for His followers: “no one will snatch them from” Yeshua’s (v. 28) or the Father’s (v. 29) hands.Ani veha’av, echad anachnu (I and the Father are one); therefore, we who are in Yeshua’s care have complete assurance that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God which comes to us through the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord” (Romans 8:31–39).

31 Once again, the Judeans picked up rocks in order to stone him. 32 Yeshua answered them, “You have seen me do many good deeds that reflect the Father’s power; for which one of these deeds are you stoning me?” 33 The Judeans replied, “We are not stoning you for any good deed, but for blasphemy – because you, who are only a man, are making yourself out to be God [Hebrew: Elohim].”

The Judeans once again picked up stones to stone Him, as at Yochanan 8:59, and self-identified as God, which they understood as blasphemy.

 34 Yeshua answered them, “Isn’t it written in your Torah, ‘I have said, “You people are Elohim’”? 35 If he called ‘Elohim’ the people to whom the word of Elohim was addressed (and the Tanakh cannot be broken), 36 then are you telling the one whom the Father set apart as holy and sent into the world, ‘You are committing blasphemy,’ just because I said, ‘I am a son of Elohim’?

The reference to Yeshua being consecrated for His mission echoes the Tanakh language regarding those appointed to an office, such as Jeremiah (Jer. 1:5) or the Aaronic priests (Ex. 28:41; 40:13; Lev. 8:30).

37 “If I am not doing deeds that reflect my Father’s power, don’t trust me. 38 But if I am, then, even if you don’t trust me, trust the deeds; so that you may understand once and for all that the Father is united with me, and I am united with the Father.” 3One more time, they tried to arrest him, but he slipped out of their hands. [1]

In our next post, Yeshua Goes to the Perean Province.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Yochanan 10:22–39.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 105

Ministry from Galilee to Judea ~ Part 6

In our last post, we explored Yeshua’s Visit with Marta & Miryam and the Talimidim’s Prayer. In this post, we continue to learn more about Prayer as we complete our topic in His Ministry from Galilee to Judea.

Yeshua Continues to Teach More on Prayer

He also said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend; and you go to him in the middle of the night and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine who has been traveling has just arrived at my house, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ Now, the one inside may answer, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already shut, my children are with me in bed—I can’t get up to give you anything!’ But I tell you, even if he won’t get up because the man is his friend, yet because of the man’s hutzpah he will get up and give him as much as he needs.”

Yeshua employs a parable to instruct His talmidim to pray with persistence and with faith. I have nothing for him to eat. In Isra’el’s culture of hospitality, hosts were expected to feed their guests. My children are with me in bed. The image is of a single-room house or a dwelling where the sleeping quarters were confined to one room – usually on an elevated platform above the main floor. Meeting the friend’s request would cause the entire family to be disturbed. Chutzpah is a colorful Hebrew and Yiddish word that means “boldness, audacity, effrontery, insolence, gall, brazen nerve, presumption, arrogance, persistence and just plain ‘guts,’ ” in varying combinations, proportions and intensities.

“Moreover, I myself say to you: keep asking, and it will be given to you; keep seeking, and you will find; keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who goes on asking receives; and he who goes on seeking finds; and to him who continues knocking, the door will be opened. 11 “Is there any father here who, if his son asked him for a fish, would instead of a fish give him a snake? 12 or if he asked for an egg, would give him a scorpion? 13 So if you, even though you are bad, know how to give your children gifts that are good, how much more will the Father keep giving the Ruach HaKodesh from heaven to those who keep asking him![1]

Ephesians 5:18 commands Yeshua’s followers to “keep on being filled with the Spirit.” The Ruach HaKodesh first came upon believers after they had been praying persistently (Acts 1:4, 2:4) in response to Yeshua’s promise (this verse, 24:49, Acts 1:8). Those filled with the Ruach may expect to receive spiritual gifts (Romans 12:6–8, 1 Corinthians 12:28–30, Epeshians 4:11–12), display fruits of righteousness (Galatians 5:22–23), and have the desire, love, and power to communicate effectively the Good News of Yeshua by word and deed to those who have not yet believed it (the entire book of Acts centers on this theme). Moreover, “anyone who doesn’t have the Spirit of the Messiah doesn’t belong to Him” (Romans 8:9).

In our next post, Yeshua is in Yerushalayim for the Feast of Dedication (Hannukah).

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Luke 11:5–13.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~Part 104


Ministry from Galilee to Judea ~Part 5

In our last post, we explored the Parable of The Good Samaritan. In this post, we learn of Yeshuas Visit with Mary & Martha and How to Pray.

Also unique to Luke, this account introduces Martha and Mary, two of Yeshuas supporters and friends. The Gospel of John elaborates on Yeshuas friendship with these women and their brother, Lazarus.

Yeshua’s Visit with Mary & Martha

38 On their way, Yeshua and His talmidim came to a village (Bethany, about half a mile east of Jerusalem) where a woman named Marta welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Miryam who also sat at the Lord’s feet (a familiar posture of a learning talmid) and heard what He had to say. 40 But Marta was busy with all the work to be done; so, going up to Him, she said, “Sir, don’t you care that my sister has been leaving me to do all the work by myself?” 41 However, the Lord answered her, “Marta, Marta, you are fretting and worrying about so many things! 42 But there is only one thing that is essential. Miryam has chosen the right thing, and it won’t be taken away from her. 1

The double use of Martas name serves as a gentle rebuke. Only one thing that is essential. While the work Marta is doing is important, it is not the most crucial thing – Yeshua Himself is. Miryam has chosen to listen and learn as a disciple – spending time in Yeshua’s presence. It won’t be taken away from her. A relationship with Yeshua cannot be stolen from a person. Yeshua is pleased that Miryam is learning from Him and that her focus is on time with Him. Yeshua had made a similar point earlier about concerns that His talmidim did not fast – there, He noted that time celebrating with Him is the focus of His talmidim (Luke 5:34).

Yeshua Teaches Us How to Pray ~Part 1

Before we dig into this passage, I want to emphasize this is not the Lords Prayer. It is the Talimidim’s Prayer. He is teaching us how to pray! His prayer is in Yochanan 17!!!

1 One time, Yeshua was in a certain place praying. As He finished, one of the talmidim said to Him, “Sir, teach us to pray, just as Yochanan taught his talmidim.”

Teach us to pray. In today’s secular society, people often feel unable to pray and assume that the ability to pray is natural to some and lacking in others. But Yeshua’s talmidim, although they too felt inadequate in prayer, were on the right track in supposing that Yeshua could teach them how to pray. His teaching consisted of four parts:

  • What to pray for (vv. 2–4),
  • The importance of persistence (vv. 5–10),
  • The certainty of a positive answer because of God’s love and goodness (vv. 9–13), and
  • The ultimate gift, the Ruach HaKodesh, who is the source and power for all right prayer (v. 13b; see Ro 8:26–27).  2

2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:

‘Father,
May your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come.
3 Give us each day the food we need.
4 Forgive us our sins, for we too, forgive everyone who has wronged us. And do not lead us to hard testing.’”  3

Mattityahu’s version of the Talimidim’s Prayer speaks of forgiveness for debts; metaphorically, sin and debt are related – sin functions like a debt before God and others (Matt 6:12). Luke conveys this idea in the prayer’s following line.

Click here for the PDF version.

1 Luke 10:38–42.
2 David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary.
3 Luke 11:1–4.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 103

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 103

In our last post, we began our series on Ministry from Galilee to Judea. In this post, we explore the Parable of The Good Samaritan.

In this parable, an expert on the law tests Yeshua on how to inherit eternal life. Yeshua’s first answer speaks of loving God, while His second calls for loving people. After the lawyer questions Him further, Yeshua illustrates the heart of His ministry through the Parable of the Good Samaritan, which is unique to Luke’s Gospel.

Parable of The Good Samaritan

25 An expert in Torah stood up to try and trap Him by asking, “Rabbi, what should I do to obtain eternal life?”

An expert in Torah indicates someone who is trained in the law of Moshe; likely a P’rushim. To try and trap Him in argumentation for the purpose of discrediting Him. What should I do to obtain eternal life?

But Yeshua quickly turns the table on the expert.

26 But Yeshua said to him, “What is written in the Torah? How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your understanding; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 “That’s the right answer,” Yeshua said. “Do this, and you will have life.2But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Yeshua, “And who is my ‘neighbor’?”

Wanting to justify himself the expert seeks to support his claim to be righteous (perhaps only in his own mind) and presses Yeshua to define the term neighbor.” The expert’s question and his own answer in Luke 10:37 frame the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

30 Taking up the question, Yeshua said: A man was going down from Yerushalayim to Yericho when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him naked and beat him up, then went off, leaving him half dead.

The road from Yerushalayim and Jericho dropped roughly 3,500 feet over about 10 miles. Having been on that road, I am convinced that it is the Valley of Death that David writes in Psalm 23:4.

 31 By coincidence, a cohen was going down on that road; but when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levi who reached the place and saw him also passed by on the other side. 33 “But a man from Shomron (Samaritan) who was traveling came upon him; and when he saw him, he was moved with compassion.

There had been enmity for centuries between the Jews and the Samaritans so that Yeshua’s questioner would probably have subscribed to the prevailing low opinion of Samaritans among Jews and could be expected to think that if a cohen and a Levi refused the man aid, how much more would a mistrustful Samaritan also refuse him aid. Yeshua Himself had recently traveled through Shomron (Luke 9:51–53).

 34 So he went up to him, put oil and wine (considered medicine) on his wounds, and bandaged them. Then he set him on his own donkey, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day, he took out two days’ wages (literally two days’ wages), gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Look after him; and if you spend more than this, I’ll pay you back when I return.’ 36 Of these three, which one seems to you to have become the ‘neighbor’ of the man who fell among robbers?” 37 He answered, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Yeshua said to him, “You go and do as he did.” [1]

In our next post, we examine Yeshua Visits Mary and Martha and other topics.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Luke 10:29–37.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 102

Ministry from Galilee to Judea ~ Part 3

In our last post, we began our series on Ministry from Galilee to Judea. In this post, we continue to explore that topic by learning that Yeshua Rejoices in the Father’s Will.

Yeshua Rejoices in the Father’s Will

21 At that moment, He was filled with joy by the Ruach HaKodesh and said, “Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I thank you because you concealed these things from the sophisticated and educated yet revealed them to young people. Yes, Father, I thank you that it pleased you to do this.

Lord of heaven and earth is a title emphasizing God’s authority over all creation (compare Acts 17:24–26). Young people likely refer to Yeshua’s talmidim, indicating newer Believers rather than age. (Compare Matt 10:42.)

22 “My Father has handed over everything to me. Indeed, no one fully knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” 23 Then, turning to the talmidim, He said, privately, “How blessed are the eyes that see what you are seeing! 24 Indeed, I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see the things you are seeing but did not see them, and to hear the things you are hearing but did not hear them.” [1]

To see the things you are seeing. For centuries, the righteous among God’s people desired to see God’s Kingdom’s arrival.

Rest for the Weary

28 “Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [2]

Yokes were heavy; wooden crossbars were used to connect two oxen for more efficient plowing. Here, Yeshua’s yoke represents His teaching. Allegiance to Him and His kingdom results in a sense of peace – it is not laborious, like keeping the requirements of the Jewish leaders of the time, but joyful. My burden is light in contrast to the burdens imposed by Israel’s religious leaders (compare Matt 23:4).

In our next post, we examine the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Click here for the PDF Version.

[1] Luke 10:21–24.
[2] Mattityahu 11:28–30.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 101

Ministry from Galilee to Judea ~ Part 2

In our last post, we began our series on Ministry from Galilee to Judea. In this post, we continue to explore that topic by learning about the Seventy Sent Out.

Seventy [1] Sent Out & Return

After this, the Lord appointed seventy other talmidim and sent them on ahead in pairs to every town and place where he himself was about to go.

The Emissaries numbered twelve to correspond with the twelve tribes of Isra’el; this is made explicit in Mattityahu 19:28 and Revelation 21:12–14. These seventy correspond to Moshe’s seventy elders in the wilderness, who received the Ruach and prophesied (Numbers 11:16, 24–25). The high Sanhedrin numbered seventy for the same reason.

He said to them, To be sure, there is a large harvest. But there are few workers. Therefore, plead with the Lord of the Harvest that he speed workers out to gather in his harvest. Get going now but pay attention! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Don’t carry a money belt or a pack and don’t stop to schmooze with people on the road.

Don’t stop to schmooze with people on the road. The Yiddish word schmooze, which means “talk in a friendly way, chit-chat, engage in idle conversation, gossip, “ precisely conveys the sense of Yeshua’s instruction not to waste time on the road but to hasten to the destination and get on with the work to be done. Elisha similarly instructed Gehazi as he left to lay Elisha’s staff on the face of the Shunammite woman’s dead child: If you meet anyone, don’t greet him; if anyone greets you, don’t answer [2]

“Whenever you enter a house, first say, ‘Shalom!’ to the household. If a seeker of shalom is there, your ‘Shalom!’ will find its rest with him; and if there isn’t, it will return to you. Stay in that same house, eating and drinking what they offer, for a worker deserves his wages—don’t move about from house to house.

“Whenever you come into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is put in front of you. Heal the sick there, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they don’t make you welcome, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off as a sign against you! But understand this: the Kingdom of God is near!’ 12 I tell you, it will be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for S’dom than for that town.

The message of truth is to be proclaimed whether it is welcomed or not. Why should people uninterested in the Gospel and unreceptive to it be evangelized? Because the message is powerful since it comes from God, it may cause them to change their minds. Note that Yeshua’s talmidim are not merely to take the opposition in stride but to condemn it (vv. 10–11a; see 9:5).

13 “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Beit-Tzaidah! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tzor and Tzidon, they would long ago have put on sackcloth and ashes as evidence that they had changed their ways. 14 But at the Judgment, it will be more bearable for Tzor and Tzidon than for you! 15 “And you, K’far-Nachum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Sh’ol! 16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me, also whoever rejects you rejects Me, and whoever rejects me rejects the One who sent Me.”

Whoever rejects Me (Yeshua) rejects the One who sent Me (God). The same idea that belief in God implies belief in Yeshua is expressed in various ways in Yochanan 14:6, Acts 4:12, and 1 Yochanan 2:23.

17 The seventy came back jubilant. “Lord,” they said, “with your power, even the demons submit to us!” 18 Yeshua said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Remember, I have given you authority; so you can trample down snakes and scorpions, indeed, all the Enemy’s forces; and you will remain completely unharmed. 20 Nevertheless, don’t be glad that the spirits submit to you; be glad that your names have been recorded in heaven.”  [3]

You can trample down snakes and scorpions. This is a preview of the Messianic Age which accompanies Yeshua’s return in glory to rule on earth: “The suckling child shall play on the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the viper’s nest” ~ Isaiah 11:8)

In our next post, we continue to learn about Yeshua’s Ministry from Galilee to Judea.

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[1]  Some manuscripts say seventy-two.

[2]  2 Kings 4:29

[3]  Luke 10:1–20.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~Part 100

Ministry from Galilee to Judea ~ Part 1

In our last post, we completed our series on In Yerushalayim for the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles). In this post, we transition to Ministry from Galilee to Judea.

Introduction

After the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah), Yeshua returns to Capernaum for the final two months of His Galilean ministry. He not only feels growing opposition from the people there who want a political leader but also knows it is nearing the time for Him to be delivered. From this time forward, Yeshua resolutely faces His final suffering. This is a time of transition for the Master. Initial excitement among the masses is followed by doubt and even hostility as He refuses to accept the role most people want Him to play, that of a conqueror over the Romans. 1

Galilean Ministry Ends

51 As the time approached for Him to be taken up into heaven, He made His decision to set out for Yerushalayim. 52 He sent messengers ahead of Him, who went and entered a village in Shomron to make preparations for Him. 53 However, the people there would not let Him stay because His destination was Yerushalayim. 54 When the talmidim Ya‘akov and Yochanan saw this, they said, “Sir, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But He turned and rebuked them. “You don’t know what Spirit you are of;  for the Son of Man did not come to destroy people’s lives, but to save.” 56 And they went on to another village.2

The people there would not let him stay because his destination was Yerushalayim. Arab nations today will not admit tourists whose passports show that they have been in Isra’el. The conflict between the people inhabiting Shomron (Samaria) and the people of Isra’el was as sharp then as it is between the Isra’eli and some of the Arab inhabitants of Samaria today (see Yochanan 4:9). Often, accommodation, and friendship can be arranged privately between people who publicly are enemies, but the publicity surrounding Yeshua’s proposed trip made this impractical. Shomron is part of the current Palestinian West Bank.

Fire from heaven to destroy them. Yeshua had given His talmidim power (see Luke 9:1), and they were eager to duplicate Elijah’s feat (1 Kings 1:10, 12).

Ten Lepers Healed

11 On his way to Yerushalayim, Yeshua passed along the border country between Shomron and the Galil. 12 As He entered one of the villages, ten men afflicted with tzara’at (commonly referred to as leprosy) met Him. They stood at a distance

They stood at a distance because the Torah requires people with severe skin diseases to separate themselves from the rest of the people (see Leviticus 13:45–46, Numbers 5:2).

13 and called out, “Yeshua! Rabbi! Have pity on us!” 14 On seeing them, He said, “Go and let the cohanim examine you!” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, as soon as he noticed that he had been healed, returned shouting praises to God, 16 and fell on his face at Yeshua’s feet to thank Him. Now he was from Shomron. 17 Yeshua said, “Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found coming back to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And to the man from Shomron, He said, “Get up, you may go; your trust has saved you.” 3

This is an interesting story; here is one way to understand it. All ten trusted Yeshua enough to obey his command, Go and let the cohanim examine you(v. 14), knowing that examination by a priest was necessary after healing, and they had not been healed yet. All ten had enough trust in Yeshua to be healed, but only one showed gratitude to Yeshua and praise to God; his kind of trust healed him and saved him.

The lack of gratitude by the other nine was typical of the rejection of His ministry by the Jewish nation. He alone had the power to cleanse the nation and make it ceremonially clean. However, the nation did not respond appropriately to Him. The nation accepted the things that Yeshua could do (such as heal and feed them), but it did not want to accept Him as Messiah. However, those outside the nation (such as this Samaritan leper – a person doubly repulsive to the Jews) were responding.

In our next post, we continue to learn about Yeshua’s Ministry from Galilee to Judea.

Click here for the PDF version.

1 Paraphrased from F. LaGard Smith’s “The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order.
2 Luke 9:51–56.
3 Luke 17:11-19.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 99

In Yerushalayim for Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) ~ Part 13

In our last post, we learned that Yeshua Declares His External Existence. In this post, we learn that Yeshua Is the Good Shepherd.

As in our last several posts, Yeshua is still speaking on the last day of Sukkot, Hoshana Rabbah.

The Sheep and Their Shephard

“Yes, indeed! I tell you, the person who doesn’t enter the sheep pen through the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. But the one who goes in through the gate is the sheep’s own shepherd. This is the one the gatekeeper admits, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep, each one by name, and leads them out.

He calls his own sheep, each one by name. He is distinguishing them from other sheep in the same fold. The point is that sheep follow the right shepherd.

 After taking out all that are his own, he goes on ahead of them; and the sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They never follow a stranger but will run away from him because strangers’ voices are unfamiliar to them.” 6 Yeshua used this indirect manner of speaking with them, but they didn’t understand what He was talking to them about.  [1]

They didn’t understand what He was talking to them about. The audience misses the symbolism of the parable. Just as sheep recognize their shepherd and follow him, those who genuinely belong to Yeshua will recognize Him and follow Him.

The Gate for the Sheep

So Yeshua said to them again, “Yes, indeed! I tell you that I am the gate for the sheep.

I am the gate for the sheep. Yeshua is the gateway for eternal life and the one who leads the sheep.

All those who have come before me have been thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the gate; if someone enters through me, he will be safe and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.”  [2]

Thieves and robbers highlight the misleading ministry of previous generations of Isra’eli leaders who had led them astray.

Yeshua Is the Good Shepherd

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand, since he isn’t a shepherd and the sheep aren’t his own, sees the wolf coming, abandons the sheep, and runs away. Then the wolf drags them off and scatters them. 13 The hired worker behaves like this because that’s all he is, a hired worker, so it doesn’t matter to him what happens to the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; I know My own, and My own know Me – 15 just as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father – and I lay down My life on behalf of the sheep. 16 Also, I have other sheep which are not from this pen; I need to bring them, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock, one shepherd.

I have other sheep which are not from this pen, namely, Gentiles, whom Yeshua says He will combine with the Jews into one flock under Himself, the one shepherd. Although at first He sent His talmidim only to “the lost sheep of the house of Isra’el” (Mattityahu 10:5) and spoke of His commission in the same way (Mattityahu 15:24), this limitation applied only to His life before the Resurrection. Moreover, He intimated the coming inclusion of Gentiles when He healed the Roman army officer’s orderly (Mt 8:5–13) and the daughter of the woman from Cana‛an (Mt. 15:22–28), ministered to the woman at the well in Shomron (Yochanan4:1–26), and prophesied that many would come from the east and the west to sit with the Patriarchs (Mt. 8:11) and that some nations (or Gentiles) would be judged favorably (Mt. 25:31–46).

The Tanakh often has the salvation of Gentiles in view; see, for example, Genesis 12:3, 18:14, 22:18, 26:4; Isaiah 11:10, 19:6, 54:1–3, 60:1–3; Hosea 1:10; Amos 9:11; Malachi 1:11; Psalms 72, 87. Sha’ul quotes Isaiah 45:23 in this connection (Philippians 2:10).

17 “This is why the Father loves me: because I lay down my life – in order to take it up again! 18 No one takes it away from me; on the contrary, I lay it down of my own free will. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again. This is what my Father commanded me to do.”  [3]

I lay down my life …. No one takes it away from me: on the contrary, I lay it down of my own free will. Yeshua was neither the victim nor the perpetrator of any “Pesach plot” but was the fulfiller of God’s eternal plan that the eternal Word (1:1–2) humble Himself by taking human form and dying for the sins of humanity. Yeshua’s several predictions of his impending death for this purpose and Tanakh passages indicating the Messiah would die and be resurrected (Isaiah 53:1–12, Psalm 16:8–11) provide ample proof. I have the power to take it up again. The Father raised Yeshua (Romans 8:11), but according to this verse, Yeshua had the power, even in death, to resurrect Himself.

19 Again, there was a split among the Judeans because of what He said. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon!” and “He’s meshugga (insane)! Why do you listen to Him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the deeds of a man who is demonized – how can a demon open blind people’s eyes?” [4]

In our next post, we learn that Yeshua’s Ministry Goes from Galilee to Judea.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  Yochanan 10:1–6.
[2]  Yochanan 10:7–10.
[3]  Yochanan 10:11–18.
[4]  Yochanan 10:19–21.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 98

In Yerushalayim for Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) ~ Part 12

In our last post, we learned that Yeshua Declares His External Existence. In this post, we continue to learn about The Healing of the Man Born Blind.

As in our last several posts, Yeshua is still speaking on the last day of Sukkot, Hoshana Rabbah.

The Healing of the Man Born Blind ~ Part 3

The Blind Man Questioned Again

Fearing they might get expelled from their synagogue, the parents of the Man Born Blind told the P’rushim to ask their son again.

24 So a second time, they called the man who had been blind; and they said to him, “Swear to God that you will tell the truth! We know that this man is a sinner.”

Swear to God that you will tell the truth! (literally, “Give glory to God!”). We know that this man is a sinner. Reading with a twentieth-century mentality, the sense one would arrive at is: “Give the glory to God, not to the person who put mud on your eyes; He doesn’t deserve glory and couldn’t have been responsible for your healing because we know He is an open sinner.” But the phrase, “Give glory to God,” often precedes a solemn judicial statement; here, it is a solemn oath to admit as accurate the conclusion these P’rushim have reached (compare Joshua 7:19 and 1 Samuel 6:5). Who deserves credit for the healing is not at issue.

25 He answered, “Whether he’s a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know: I was blind, now I see.” 26 So they said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 “I already told you,” he answered, “and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Maybe you too want to become his talmidim?” 28 Then they railed at him. “You may be his talmid,” they said, “but we are talmidim of Moshe! 29 We know that God has spoken to Moshe, but as for this fellow—we don’t know where He’s from!” 30 “What a strange thing,” the man answered, “that you don’t know where He’s from – considering that He opened my eyes! 31 We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but if anyone fears God and does His will, God does listen to Him. 32 In all history, no one has ever heard of someone opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, He couldn’t do a thing!”

Once again, we see how simple it is to give your own personal testimony of what God has done for you.

 34 “Why, you mamzer!” they retorted, “Are you lecturing us?” And they threw him out.  [1]

Why, you mamzer! (literally, “In sins you were born, entirely!”). The Hebrew and Yiddish word mamzer is often rendered “illegitimate son,” although technically, it refers specifically to the offspring of a marriage prohibited in Leviticus 18; according to halakhah, a mamzer may not marry a legitimate daughter of Isra’el, only a mamzeret. Here the Jewish English term “mamzer” is used colloquially (like the English word “bastard”) to convey with precision and force the hot-tempered and insulting valence of the Judeans’ response. And they threw him out, carrying out the threat of expulsion from the synagogue.

Yeshua Confronts the Healed Man

35 Yeshua heard that they had thrown the man out. He found him and said, “Do you trust in the Son of Man?” 36 “Sir,” he answered, “tell me who he is so that I can trust in him.” 37 Yeshua said to him, “You have seen Him. In fact, He’s the one speaking with you now.” 38 “Lord, I trust!” he said, and he kneeled down in front of him.

Yeshua meets the newly outcast, formerly blind man, who has exchanged exclusion from the world of seeing for exclusion from society and brings him to faith in Himself as Messiah. Clearly, the man was ready to believe.

39 Yeshua said, “It is to judge that I came into this world so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” 40 Some of the P’rushim nearby heard this and said to him, “So we’re blind too, are we?” 41 Yeshua answered them, If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin. But since you still say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains. [2]

It is to judge that I came into this world. Not a contradiction with Yochanan 5:22 or 8:15. The “judging” that Yeshua did at His first coming consisted in making clear to people where they stood in respect to God, as the rest of the verse explains. Only at His second coming does He judge the world (Yochanan 5:22, 27–30).

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, Yeshua Declares that He Is the Good Shepherd.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Yochanan 9:24–34.
[2] Yochanan 9:35–41.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 97

In Yerushalayim for Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) ~ Part 11

In our last post, we learned that Yeshua Declares His External Existence. In this post, we continue to learn about The Healing of the Man Born Blind.

As in our last several posts, Yeshua is still speaking on the last day of Sukkot, Hoshana Rabbah.

The Healing of the Man Born Blind ~ Part 2

The P’rushim Question the Blind Man

13 They took the man who had been blind to the P’rushim. 14 Now, the day on which Yeshua had made the mud and opened his eyes was Shabbat. 15 So the P’rushim asked him again how he had become able to see, and he told them, “He put mud on my eyes, then I washed, and now I can see.”

The blind man’s first response is precisely what we need to do when we give our testimony. He gave them the facts. (We will learn more about his testimony in the next post.) We were spiritually blind to our own sin, but now we see through belief in Yeshua as the Son of God.

16 At this, some of the P’rushim said, “This man is not from God because He doesn’t keep Shabbat.” But others said, “How could a man who is a sinner do miracles like these?” And there was a split among them.

He (Yeshua) doesn’t keep Shabbat. A false accusation, which the accusers take as a fact. So there was a split among them, as before in Yochanan 7:43.

17 So once more, they spoke to the blind man: “Since you’re the one whose eyes he opened, what do you say about him?” He replied: “He is a prophet.”  [1]

He is a prophet and more – see the man’s response to additional information about Yeshua (vv. 35–38).

The P’rushim Question the Blind Man

18 The Judeans (identified in verse 13 as the P’rushim), however, were unwilling to believe that he had formerly been blind but now could see until they had summoned the man’s parents.

They summoned the parents to verify the identity of the man and corroborate that he had, in fact, been born blind. It is unlikely their investigation was conducted on the Shabbat.

19 They asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind; 21 but how it is that he can see now, we don’t know; nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him -he’s old enough; he can speak for himself!” 22 The parents said this because they were afraid of the Judeans, for the Judeans had already agreed that anyone who acknowledged Yeshua as the Messiah would be banned from the synagogue. 23 This is why his parents said, “He’s old enough; ask him.”  [2]

He will speak for himself! The parents try to excuse themselves from a further inquiry by disclaiming legal responsibility for their son. They feared they would be expelled from the synagogue, equivalent to being excluded from the community. The synagogue was the community gathering place.

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 continue to explore: The Healing of the Man Born Blind.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  Yochanan 9:13–17.
[2]  Yochanan 9:18–23.