The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 84

Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End ~ Part 6

In our last post, we examined Yeshua’s Death is Again Foretold. This post looks at several topics starting with Yeshua’s Concern for the Young.

Yeshua’s Concern for the Young

36 He took a child and stood him among them. Then He put His arms around him and said to them, 37 Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes Me welcomes not Me but the One who sent Me.[1]

The attitude of heart Yeshua is teaching does not even overlook a lowly child (at times marginalized in ancient societies) but welcomes, and thereby cares for, such a little one in His name. In contrast to the status-seeking of the talmidim (v. 34), Yeshua shows them they should willingly take on lowly, often unnoticed tasks and care for those with minor status worldwide. Anyone who does this, Yeshua says, welcomes Me and, in so doing, also receives the Father (the One who sent Me). Humbly caring for people of lowly status out of obedience to Yeshua will be rewarded by rich personal fellowship with both the Son and the Father.

But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. [2] 10 See that you never despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually seeing the face of my Father in heaven.

Their angels in heaven are constantly seeing the face of my Father. The imagery recalls Oriental court ceremonies. The verse does not say that each believer has a guardian angel, but that recent Believers as a group have angels in heaven. The apocryphal book of Tobit (c. 300 BCE) speaks of guardian angels; Daniel and Zechariah mention angels of particular countries. The talmidim praying for Kefa thought that the knock at the door was that of “his angel” (Acts 12:15), but their ideas were not necessarily correct. There may be guardian angels, but Scripture does not prove it. Angels have many functions concerning believers: ministering to God on their behalf (Messianic Jews 1:14), protecting them (Psalm 91:11, Mt 4:6), overseeing their worship (1 Corinthians 11:10), in judgment, separating them from the wicked (Mattityahu 13:41, 24:31). Their function here is not stated.

(11 Some manuscripts include verse 11: For the Son of Man came to save the lost.) 12 Whats your opinion? What will somebody do who has a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away? Wont he leave the ninety-nine on the hillsides and go off to find the stray?

The Greek verb used here, planaō  (“to go astray” or “wander away”), is often connected to people who abandon the faith.

13 And if he happens to find it? Yes! I tell you, he is happier over it than over the ninety-nine that never strayed! 14 Thus, your heavenly Father does not want even one of these little ones to be lost. [3]

In our next post, we continue to examine Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End by looking at Works Done in Yeshua’s Name and other encounters.

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[1]  Mark 9:36–37.
[2]  Mattityahu 18:6.
[3] Mattityahu 18:10–14.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 83

Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End ~ Part 5

In our last post, we examined Yeshua Heals A Demon-Possessed Boy. This post looks at several topics starting with Yeshua’s Death is Again Foretold.

Yeshua’s Death is Again Foretold

22 As they were going about together in the Galil, Yeshua said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of people 23 who will put him to death, and on the third day he will be raised.” And they were filled with sadness. [1]

Mattityahu’s first reference to Yeshua’s impending betrayal by Judas Iscariot. The talmidim are grieved but do not dispute this prediction, as Kefa did the first time.

Yeshua’s Death is Again Foretold

24 When they came to K’far-Nachum, the collectors of the half-shekel came to Kefa and said, “Doesn’t your rabbi pay the Temple tax?” 25 “Of course he does,” said Kefa. When he arrived home, Yeshua spoke first. “Shim’on, what’s your opinion? The kings of the earth – from whom do they collect duties and taxes? From their sons or from others?” 26 “From others,” he answered. “Then,” said Yeshua, The sons are exempt. 27 But to avoid offending them – go to the lake, throw out a line, and take the first fish you catch. Open its mouth, and you will find a shekel. Take it and give it to them for you and for me.” ~ Mattityahu 17:24-27.

A per-capita tax of one half-shekel to support the activities of the cohanim is specified in Exodus 30:11–16, 38:26. This was equivalent to one or two days’ wages for an average worker.

Unique to Mattityahu’s Gospel, this passage addresses whether Jewish followers of Yeshua’s day should continue to pay the Temple tax. This was particularly relevant to Mattityahu’s audience since they were most likely Jews. Yeshua’s response communicates the Temple’s continued sanctity and demonstrates the miraculous ways in which God provides for His people.

Who Is the Greatest?

33 They arrived at K’far-Nachum. When Yeshua was inside the house, He asked them, “What were you discussing as we were traveling?” 34 But they kept quiet; because on the way, they had been arguing with each other about who was the greatest.

The talimidim’s inability to comprehend Yeshua’s destiny, or perhaps its significance, matches their distorted understanding of their own futures.

35 He sat down, summoned the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.” [2]

Servant of all echoes the words of Isaiah 52:13–53:12, which Yeshua will fulfill. He demonstrates this principle by sacrificing His own life.

If one of you has a slave tending the sheep or plowing when he comes back from the field, will you say to him, ‘Come along now, sit down and eat’? No, you’ll say, ‘Get my supper ready, dress for work, and serve me until I have finished eating and drinking; after that, you may eat and drink.’ Does he thank the slave because he did what he was told to do? No! 10 It’s the same with you—when you have done everything you were told to do, you should be saying, ‘We’re just ordinary slaves, we have only done our duty.'” [3]

This passage’s final set of Yeshua’s sayings is unique to Luke’s Gospel.We’re just ordinary slaves” implies that His talmidim should comport themselves as humble slaves to God, in contrast to the self-aggrandizing P’rushim.

He called a child to Him, stood him among them, and said, “Yes! I tell you that unless you change and become like little children, you won’t even enter the Kingdom of Heaven! So the greatest in the Kingdom is whoever makes himself as humble as this child.” [4]

In our next post, we continue to examine Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End by looking at Yeshua’s Concern for the Young and other encounters.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Mattityahu 17:22–23 (see also Mark 9:30-32 & Luke 9:43b-45).
[2] Mark 9:33–35.
[3] Luke 17:7–10.
[4] Mattityahu 18:2–4.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 82

Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End ~ Part 4

In our last post, we examined Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End, including His Transfiguration. In this post, Yeshua Heals A Demon-Possessed Boy.

Yeshua Heals A Demon-Possessed Boy

Apparently, back in Caesarea Philippi (Mattityahu 16:13), Yeshua encounters a demon-possessed person and demonstrates His power over evil. His talmidim had tried to cast out the demon, but they failed due to their weak faith.

14 When they returned to the other talmidim, they saw a large crowd surrounding them, and some teachers of religious law were arguing with them. 15 When the crowd saw Yeshua, they were overwhelmed with awe, and they ran to greet him.

16 “What is all this arguing about?” Yeshua asked.

17 One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. 18 And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I asked your talmidim to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”

19 Yeshua said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

Yeshua rebukes the faithless people of His day for their weak faith and distorted perception (compare Deuteronomy 32:5, 20). This criticism was probably aimed at His talmidim.

20 So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Yeshua, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.

As in Yeshua’s previous encounters with unclean spirits, the demon causes a commotion within its host when Yeshua appears.

21 “How long has this been happening?” Yeshua asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into the water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us if you can.”

23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Yeshua asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

Yeshua’s response redirects the conversation from questioning His ability to the need for faith.

24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

25 When Yeshua saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, He rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” He said. I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!”

26 Then, the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Yeshua took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up.

28 Afterward, when Yeshua was alone in the house with His talmidim, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” [1]

20 He said to them, “Because you have such little trust! Yes! I tell you that if you have trust as tiny as a mustard seed, you will be able to say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there!’ and it will move; indeed, nothing will be impossible for you!” [Some manuscripts insert verse 21: But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting.] [2]

In our next post, we continue to examine Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End by looking at Yeshua’s Death Is Again Foretold and other encounters.

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[1] Mark 9:14–28 (See also Mattityahu 17:14-19 & Luke 9:37-43a, 17:5-6)
[2] Mattityahu 17:20-21.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 81

Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End ~ Part 3

In our last post, we examined Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End, including suffering foretold, taking up our cross, and Kingdom within a lifetime. In this post, we examine His Transfiguration.

Yeshua’s Transfiguration

I have always been fascinated with His Transfiguration. It means a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state. Not only that, but how did His three talmidim know that the two people with Him were Moshe and Eliyahu?

Six days later, Yeshua took Kefa, Ya’akov, and his brother Yochanan and led them up a high mountain privately. As they watched, He began to change form – His face shone like the sun, and His clothing became as white as light. Then they looked and saw Moshe and Eliyahu speaking with Him.

Yeshua’s face shone like the sun, and his clothing became white as light. Why? So that his glory would not be less than that of Moshe and Eliyahu, who was speaking with Him. According to Jewish tradition, when God sent an angel at the end of Moshe’s life to fetch his soul, he “saw Moshe sitting and writing down the Unutterable Name of God, and how the radiance of his appearance was like that of the sun.” This is an aggadic (Text recited at the Seder on the first two nights of the Jewish Passover) extension of what the Tanakh itself says about him, “that the skin of his face shone” (Exodus 34:29–35).

Kefa said to Yeshua, “It’s good that we’re here, Lord. I’ll put up three shelters if you want – one for you, one for Moshe, and one for Eliyahu.” While He was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them; and a voice from the cloud said, This is my Son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the talmidim heard this, they were so frightened that they fell face down on the ground. But Yeshua came and touched them. Get up!” He said, “Don’t be afraid.” So they opened their eyes, looked up, and saw only Yeshua by himself.

As they came down the mountain, Yeshua ordered them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

The Transfiguration confirmed Yeshua’s“coming in his kingdom” (Mattityahu 16:28) to these three talmidim. Still, without the more public confirmation which followed His resurrection, the testimony would have been of little value in proving Yeshua’s identity. It would have raised more questions than it answered. Hence Yeshua advised keeping quiet about what they had experienced for the time being.

10 The talmidim asked Him, “Then why do the Torah-teachers say that Eliyahu must come first?”

The Torah-teachers say Eliyahu must come first. This teaching is based on Malachi 3:1 and 3:23–24, and it is kept alive in Judaism every Pesach, at the Seder meal, when an extra place is set for Eliyahu HaNavi (“Elijah the prophet”). The door is opened to welcome him, should he be there.

Three points: (1) Yochanan the Immerser, “if you are willing to accept it,” was Eliyahu (Mattityahu 11:10–14), and (2) Eliyahu himself had, in fact, “come first” by appearing there on the mountain (v. 3), and (3) Eliyahu may yet appear before Yeshua’s second coming (see Revelation 11:3–6).

11 He answered, “On the one hand, Eliyahu is coming and will restore all things; 12 on the other hand, I tell you that Eliyahu has come already, and people did not recognize him but did whatever they pleased to him. In the same way, the Son of Man too is about to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the talmidim understood that he was talking to them about Yochanan the Immerser. [1]

In our last post, we continued to examine our topic on Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End. In our next post, we will examine Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End by looking at Yeshua Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy.

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[1] Mattityahu 17:1–13 (see also Mark 9:2-13 & Luke 9:28-36b).

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 80

Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End ~ Part 2

In our last post, we began a new series on Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End. In this post, we continue with His preparation.

Suffering Foretold

21 From that time on, Yeshua began making it clear to His talmidim that He had to go to Yerushalayim and endure much suffering at the hands of the elders, the head cohanim, and the Torah-teachers; and that He had to be put to death; but that on the third day, He had to be raised to life. 22 Kefa took Him aside and began rebuking him, “Heaven be merciful, Lord! By no means will this happen to you!”

Yeshua teaches His talmidim what must happen to Him as Messiah and is completely misunderstood, both here and on two later occasions (Mattitayhu17:22–23, 20:17–19), so different is His scenario from that popularly expected. Even at the Last Supper (Yochanan 14:28) and after His resurrection (Acts 1:6–7), they did not comprehend God’s plan for the Messiah.

23 But Yeshua turned His back on Kefa, saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path because your thinking is from a human perspective, not from God’s perspective!”  [1]

When Yeshua says, “Get behind me, Satan!” He could be talking to Satan, conceived of as speaking through Kefa; if so, Yeshua is telling Satan not to be an obstacle to him but to get behind him, out of the way. Or Yeshua could be addressing Kefa; it could refer to Kefa as an adversary who is opposing Yeshua so that Yeshua is saying: “Bo acharai,” (come after me), and see that the things I have predicted for Myself will indeed happen, contrary to what you are saying and that this will be for the benefit of all concerned. This interpretation is based on the fact that Hebrew achar means both “behind” and “after” or “following,” with the implication that the translator of the incident into Greek misunderstood it. The context certainly does not support an interpretation I occasionally hear that Yeshua is inviting Satan to become His follower (with the universalistic doctrinal implication that eventually, even Satan will be “saved”). [2]

Take Up Your Cross

24 Then Yeshua told his talmidim, “If anyone wants to come after Me, let him say ‘No’ to himself, take up his execution stake, and keep following Me. 25 For whoever wants to save his own life will destroy it, but whoever destroys his life for My sake will find it. 26 What good will it do someone if he gains the whole world but forfeits his life? Or, what can a person give in exchange for his life? 27 For the Son of Man will come in His Father’s glory, with His angels; and then He will repay everyone according to his conduct. [3]

Yeshua’s great call to discipleship is His teaching on how to think the way God thinks (v. 23). Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Lutheran theologian who was imprisoned in the Theresienstadt concentration camp and shot by the Nazis at age 39, days before the close of World War II, wrote in The Cost of Discipleship that there is no “cheap grace,” no primrose path to Heaven. Jews have often thought Christianity to offer exactly that; some Christian theologies, emphasizing God’s work and de-emphasizing man’s in the salvation process, encourage this misunderstanding. This verse is the antidote. To follow Yeshua is to say no to oneself, not by practicing asceticism or developing low self-esteem, but by placing the will above one’s own feelings, desires, and urges. To take up one’s execution stake is to bear the instrument of one’s death, for, as Bonhoeffer put it, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” The consequences of wholeheartedly taking this stand are given in vv. 25–26. [4]

Kingdom Within Lifetime

28 Yes! I tell you that there are some people standing here who will not experience death until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom!” [5]

Some of the Twelve standing there with Yeshua in Caesarea Philippi would live to see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom. This predicted event has been variously interpreted as referring to: (1) Yeshua’s Transfiguration (17:1–8); (2) His resurrection; (3) the coming of the Ruach at Shavuot; (4) the spread of the Kingdom through the preaching of the early church; (5) the destruction of the Temple and Yerushalayim in 70 CE; or (6) the Second Coming and final establishment of the Kingdom. The immediate context indicates the first view, the Transfiguration, which immediately follows (see also Mark 9:2–10; Luke 9:28–36). There, “some” of Yeshua’s talmidim “saw” what Yeshua will be like when he comes into the power of his Kingdom. This interpretation is also supported by 2 Kefa 1:16–18, where Kefa equates Yeshua’s “glory” with His Transfiguration, to which Kefa was an eyewitness. At the same time, interpretations (2), (3), and (4) are also quite possible, for they are all instances where Yeshua “came” in the decisive advance of His Kingdom, which was partially but not yet fully realized. Some interpreters think that Yeshua generally speaks of many or all events in views (2) through (4). View (5) is less persuasive because the judgment on Yerushalayim does not reflect the positive growth of the Kingdom. View (6) is unacceptable, for it would imply that Yeshua was mistaken about the timing of His return. [6]

In our last post, we introduced our next topic on Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End. In our next post, we continue to examine Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End by looking at the Transfiguration.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Mattityahu 16:21–23 (see also Mark 8:31-33 & Luke 9:21-22).
[2] David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary.
[3] Mattityahu 16:24–27 (see also Mark 8:34-38 & Luke 9:21-26).
[4] Ibid.
[5] Mattityahu 16:28 (see also Mark 9:1 & Luke 9:27).
[6] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 79

Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End ~ Part 1

Our last post looked at P’rushim Ask for a Sign, Warning About Leaders, and Yeshua Heals a Blind Man Near Beit-Tzaidah. In this post, we begin a new series on Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End. To date, we have looked at Yeshua’s interactions with all His talmidim (His followers). From here on, we will focus more on the Emissaries (His twelve Apostles).

Introduction

As Yeshua continues His extensive tour north through Caesarea Philippi and then south again into Galil, He uses this time to prepare His chosen talmidim to become His Emissaries for His death and strengthen their ministry in carrying on His work. At this point in His ministry, the Emissaries are convinced that Yeshua is the Mashiach (Messiah), but apparently, they have notions of a political/militaristic Mashiach. He begins to tell them about his impending death and the burdens they themselves will face.

The highlight of this preparation period comes when Yeshua takes Kefa, Yaakov, and Yochanan (the inner circle of His talmidim) to Mount Herman, where He is transfigured.

Kefa Acknowledges Yeshua as the Mashiach

13 When Yeshua came into the territory around Caesarea Philippi, He asked His talmidim, Who are people saying the Son of Man is?”

Caesarea Philippi, the present-day town of Banyas at the foot of Mount Hermon, is where the Yarden River springs forth. Herod Philip refurbished this town and renamed it in honor of the Emperor and himself.

14 They said, “Well, some say Yochanan the Immerser, others Eliyahu, still others Yirmeyahu or one of the prophets.” 15 “But you,” He said to them, “who do you say I am?” 16 Shim’on Kefa answered, “You are the Mashiach, the Son of the living God.” 17 “Shim’on Bar-Yochanan (Bar means “son of”),” Yeshua said to him, “how blessed you are! For no human being revealed this to you. No, it was My Father in heaven. 18 I also tell you this: you are Kefa,” [which means ‘Rock,’] “and on this rock, I will build my Community [1], and the gates of Sh’ol will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.” 20 Then, he warned the talmidim not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah. [2]

In consequence of his confession, Yeshua makes Kefa both (1) shammash (steward) with the keys and (2) Dayan (judge), who, as the one who can prohibit and permit, establishes a new covenant halakhah (the entire body of Messianic Law).

In our last post, we concluded our examination of Yeshua’s Extensive Ministry Throughout the Galil. In our next post, we continue to examine Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End.

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[1] This is one of the most controversial and debated passages in all of Scripture. Roman Catholics have appealed to this passage to defend the idea that Peter was the first pope. What is being spoken about is a spiritual community of people based on trust in God and his son the Messiah Yeshua. This can be all people throughout history who so commit themselves, or a group of such people at a particular time and place, such as the Messianic community in Corinth or Jerusalem.

[2] Mattityahu 16:16–20 (see also Mark 8:27-30 & Luke 9:18-20).

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 78

Yeshua’s Extensive Tour throughout Galil ~ Part 24

Our last post looked at The Faith of a Woman from Kena’an. This post explores the P’rushim Ask for a Sign, Warning About Leaders, and the Yeshua Heals a Blind Man Near Beit-Tzaidah.

P’rushin Ask for a Sign

Then some P’rushim (Pharisees) and Tz’dukim (Sadducees) came to trap Yeshua by asking Him to show them a miraculous sign from Heaven.

Sign from Heaven. A triple wordplay: (1) the appearance of the sky (Heaven), which foretells the weather; (2) a sign from God (Heaven); and (3) “signs of the times” (v. 3), where “times” evokes both weather seasons and where we stand in the flow of history.

But His response was, “When it is evening, you say, ‘Fair weather ahead,’ because the sky is red; and in the morning you say, ‘Storm today!’ because the sky is red and overcast. You know how to read the appearance of the sky, but you can’t read the signs of the times! A wicked and adulterous generation is asking for a sign? It will certainly not be given a sign – except the sign of Yonah! (Jonah) With that, He left them and went off. [1]

Warning About Leaders

The talmidim, in crossing to the other side of the lake, had forgotten to bring any bread. So when Yeshua said to them, Watch out! Guard yourselves against the hametz (leaven: usually a symbol of sin) of the P’rushim and Tz’dukim,” they thought He said it because they hadn’t brought bread. But Yeshua, aware of this, said, “Such little trust you have! Why are you talking with each other about not having bread?”

Alfred Edersheim, a nineteenth-century Hebrew Christian scholar, suggests that the talmidim thought Yeshua believed they had not brought bread to have Him do another bread-making miracle. This would have been the similar sign-fishing the P’rushim and Tz’dukim had been doing and would have been an indication of their having little trust. [2]

Don’t you understand yet? Don’t you remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you filled? 10 Or the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many baskets you filled? 11 How can you possibly think I was talking to you about bread? Guard yourselves from the hametz of the P’rushim and Tz’dukim!” 12 Then they understood – they were to guard themselves not from yeast for bread but from the teaching of the P’rushim and Tz’dukim. [3]

Yeshua Heals a Blind Man Near Beit-Tzaidah

22 They came to Beit-Tzaidah. Some people brought Him a blind man and begged Yeshua to touch him. 23 Taking the blind man’s hand, He led him outside the town. He spit in his eyes, put his hands on him, and asked him, “Do you see anything? 24 He looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like walking trees.” 25 Then, he put his hands on the blind man’s eyes again. He peered intently, and his eyesight was restored so that he could see everything distinctly. 26 Yeshua sent him home with the words, “Don’t go into town.” [4]

This post concludes our examination of Yeshua’s Extensive Ministry Throughout the Galil. In our next post, we will begin to examine Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End.

Clcik here for the PDF version.

[1] Mattitayahu 16:1–4 (see also Mark 8:11-13).
[2] David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary.
[3] Mattitayahu 16:5–12(see also Mark 8:14-21).
[4] Mark 8:22–26.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 77

Yeshua’s Extensive Tour throughout Galil ~ Part 23

Our last post looked at The Faith of a Woman from Kena’an. This post explores Yeshua Heals a Deaf-Mute and the Feeding of the Four Thousand.

Yeshua Heals a Deaf-Mute

Yeshua leaves Tzor and Tzidon and returns to Galil. Wherever Yeshua went, He brought physical and spiritual restoration.

31 Then, He left the district of Tzor and went through Tzidon to Lake Kinneret and on to the region of the Ten Towns. (Decapolis)

Yeshua preached far and wide to Galilean and Judean Jews and the remnant people of Isra’el, who by this time had resettled in the Hellenistic regions of Tzor, Tzidon, and the Ten Cities.

32 They brought Him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment and asked Yeshua to lay His hand on him. 33 Taking him off alone, away from the crowd, Yeshua put His fingers into the man’s ears, spat, and touched his tongue; 34 then, looking up to heaven, He gave a deep groan and said to him, Hippatach!” (that is, “Be opened!”). 35 His ears were opened, his tongue was freed, and he began speaking clearly. 36 Yeshua ordered the people to tell no one, but the more He insisted, the more zealously they spread the news. 37 People were overcome with amazement. “Everything He does, He does well!” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear, and the dumb speak!” [1] 30 Large crowds came to Him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others. They laid them at His feet, and He healed them. 31 The people were amazed as they saw mute people speaking, crippled people cured, lame people walking, and blind people seeing, and they said a b’rakhah (blessing) to the God of Isra’el. [2]

The Feeding of the Four Thousand

This passage presents the second mass feeding in Mattityahu’s Gospel. This account mirrors Mattityahu 14:13–21. Mattityahu does not provide a location, but the parallel account in Mark 8:1–10 appears to be set in the Decapolis, a Gentile region (Mark 7:31).

 32 Yeshua called His talmidim to Him and said, “I feel sorry for these people because they have been with me three days, and now they have nothing to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry because they might collapse on the way home.” 33 The talmidim said to Him, “Where will we find enough loaves of bread in this remote place to satisfy so big a crowd?” 34 Yeshua asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven and a few fish.” 35 After telling the crowd to sit down on the ground, 36 He took the seven loaves and the fish, made a b’rakhah, broke the loaves, and gave them to the talmidim, who gave them to the people. 37 Everyone ate his fill, and they took seven large baskets full of the leftover pieces. 38 Those eating numbered four thousand men, plus women and children. 39 After sending the crowd away, He got in the boat and went off to the region of Magadan. [3]

In our next post, we will continue to examine Yeshua’s Extensive Ministry Throughout the Galil when the P’rushim Ask for a Sign.

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[1] Mark 7:31–37.
[2] Mattityahu 15:30–31.
[3] Mattityahu 15:32–39.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 76

Yeshua’s Extensive Tour throughout Galil ~ Part 2

In our last post, we introduced the new topic of Yeshua’s Extensive Tour throughout Galil. In this post, we begin to follow Yeshua’s Extensive Tour throughout Galil.

The Faith of a Woman from Kena’an

This passage raises the question: does Yeshua treat Gentiles demeaningly? Is he a Jewish chauvinist? As we will see, the answer is NO!

21 Yeshua left that place (Genessaret) and went off to the region of Tzor and Tzidon. [1] There He found a house to stay in and wanted to remain unrecognized but keeping hidden proved impossible. [2] 22 A woman from Kena’an who was living there came to Him, pleading, “Sir, have pity on me. Son of David! My daughter is cruelly held under the power of demons!” 23 But Yeshua did not say a word to her. Then His talmidim came to Him and urged Him, “Send her away because she is following us and keeps pestering us with her crying.” 24 He said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Isra’el.”

Yeshua’s mission before His death and resurrection was only to the Jews, God’s people. After the Ruach was given, the Gospel would reach Gentiles even in “the farthest parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8), who would be grafted into Isra’el through the Messiah (Romans 11:16–24).

25 But she came, fell at his feet, and said, “Sir, help me!” 26 He answered, “It is not right to take the children’s food and toss it to their pet dogs.”

There are two Greek words for dog, kuôn,” scavenging hounds that roam the streets in packs, and kunarion,” small dogs kept as house pets (only in this passage and its parallel, Mark 7:27–28). Yet even if Gentiles are not here compared with wild snarling beasts, are they still not being insulted? The answer can only be no more than in the Tanakh itself, where God especially takes the people of Isra’el as His children. And although Judaism teaches that the righteous Gentiles of the world have a share in the world to come, this is not a primary focus either in the Tanakh or in rabbinic Judaism.

27 She said, “That is true, sir, but even the dogs eat the leftovers that fall from their master’s table.”

The woman is not offended but understands what she has been told. In humility, she accepts not only her role analogous to that of a house pet being fed crumbs from the master’s table but also the implication that Yeshua’s Messianic mission is not for the present directed at Gentiles but Jews.

28 Then Yeshua answered her, “Lady, you are a person of great trust. Let your desire be granted.” And her daughter was healed at that very moment. [3]

On these terms, Yeshua grants her request. Her case differs from the Roman army officer at Mattityahu 8:5–13, an isolated Gentile in a Jewish community. Had Yeshua healed the daughter immediately, this bold, talkative woman would indeed have spread the news, unleashing an onslaught of Gentiles with needs; and this might have tempted Him to neglect His commission to “the lost sheep of the house of Isra’el.”

In our next post, we will continue to examine Yeshua’s Extensive Ministry Throughout the Galil when Yeshua Heals a Deaf-Mute.

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[1] Mattityahu 15:21.
[2] Mark 7:24.
[3] Mattityahu 15:22–28.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 75

 

Yeshua’s Extensive Tour throughout Galil ~ Part 1

In our last post, we concluded the topic entitled Miracles and Multitudes. This post introduces the new topic of Yeshua’s Extensive Tour throughout Galil.

Introduction

Perhaps as a part of a plan for broader evangelism (or to withdraw from the Jewish leaders), Yeshua now turns His ministry to Phoenicia and the area around Tyre and Sidon. Here He encounters a Canaanite woman who begs Yeshua to heal her daughter. As descendants of Noah’s son Ham, against whom curses had been directed, the Canaanites are looked down upon by the Jews as unworthy of God’s blessings. So, the women’s request is an excellent opportunity for Yeshua to teach His talmidim again about His kingdom’s universality.

In our next post, we will continue to examine Yeshua’s Extensive Ministry Throughout the Galil by looking into the Canaanite Women’s Plea for Her Daughter.

Click here for the PDF version.