The Disciple’s Prayer ~ Part 1

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

In this post, we continue with our study of the Sermon on the Mount by learning more about how Yeshua taught us to pray.  We have been sitting at His feet for some time now as we learn directly from Him what it means to be true talmidim and how we should pray.

We have already learned that Yeshua tells us not to be a hypocrite when we pray; that we should pray in our secret place; and, that we should not babble on and on with endless words in our prayers.

Recently, a priest, a minister and a rabbi sat discussing the best posture for prayer while a telephone line worker made repairs nearby. Continue reading “The Disciple’s Prayer ~ Part 1”

Prayer Preliminaries

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

In this post, we continue our study of the Sermon on the Mount by turning to Matthew Chapter 6 by exploring the preparations for prayer.

Don’t Be A Hypocrite

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites, who love to pray standing in the synagogues and on street corners, so that people can see them. Yes! I tell you, they have their reward already” (Matthew 6:5)

The word translated from the Greek for hypocrite means an actor.  This word, which is frequently used in Scripture, denotes one who either pretends to be what he is not (as here), or masquerades what he really is. People like that put on an act, which is designed only to glorify them. Continue reading “Prayer Preliminaries”

Doing Right Things Right

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

In this post, we continue our study of the Sermon on the Mount by turning to Matthew Chapter 6.

As a quick reminder, in Chapter 5 we learned about the characteristics of a blessed Believer.  We learned how blessed are those who wait upon the Lord; who passionately pursue God; who truly live out the Golden Rule; and, who make peace even when confronted with persecution.  We also learned that by our character and deeds, we are to make our influencing faith a force for good in the lives of our neighbors by being salt and light.

We also concentrated on what I called the Eternal Torah.  In the Torah, God reveals His standards for holy living.  Yeshua completed the Torah; He did NOT abolish the Torah.  He came to bring us back to God’s original intent of His instructions to Israel, so that by grace we may learn to live a Torah-observant lifestyle.  We also looked at Yeshua’s teaching on murder, adultery, divorce, taking of vows, retaliation and loving our enemies.  In this post, we will concentrate on Yeshua’s teaching regarding acts of righteousness.

Acts of Righteousness

“Be careful not to parade your acts of tzedakah in front of people in order to be seen by them! If you do, you have no reward from your Father in heaven. So, when you do tzedakah, don’t announce it with trumpets to win people’s praise, like the hypocrites in the synagogues and on the streets. Yes! I tell you, they have their reward already! But you, when you do tzedakah, don’t even let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Then you tzedakah will be in secret; and your Father, who sees what you do in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-4). Continue reading “Doing Right Things Right”

The Eternal Torah ~ Part 8

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

We continue our quest to explore what I have been calling the Eternal Torah.  We’ve looked at Yeshua’s teaching on murder, adultery, divorce, taking of oaths, retaliation & giving.  In this post, will finish looking at what Yeshua himself says about the last of six important topics contained in the Torah ~ love your enemy.

LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

You have heard that our fathers were told, ‘Love your neighbor – and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! Then you will become children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun shine on good and bad people alike, and he sends rain to the righteous and the unrighteous alike. What reward do you get if you love only those who love you? Why, even tax-collectors do that! And if you are friendly only to your friends, are you doing anything out of the ordinary? Even the Goyim do that! Therefore, be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

There is no other passage of the Brit Hadashah that contains such a concentrated expression of Messiah-like ethics for personal relations. Continue reading “The Eternal Torah ~ Part 8”

The Eternal Torah ~ Part 7

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

We continue our quest to explore what I have been calling the Eternal Torah.  We’ve looked at Yeshua’s teaching on murder, adultery, divorce, and taking of oaths.  In this post, will begin to take a closer look at what Yeshua himself says about the fifth of six important topics contained in the Torah ~ retaliation & giving.

Retaliation

“You have heard that our fathers were told, ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you not to stand up against someone who does you wrong. On the contrary, if someone hits you on the right cheek, let him hit you on the left cheek too! If someone wants to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well! And if a soldier forces you to carry his pack for one mile, carry it for two! When someone asks you for something, give it to him; when someone wants to borrow something from you, lend it to him.”  (Matthew 5:38-42)

Now this is certainly a passage that has had some really bizarre interpretations in the past.  To properly understand what Yeshua is teaching to us in this passage, we really need to understand the context of the Jewish culture of the time. Continue reading “The Eternal Torah ~ Part 7”

The Eternal Torah ~ Part 5

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

“We continue our quest to explore what I have been calling the Eternal Torah.  In this post, will begin to take a closer look at what Yeshua himself says about the second and third of six important topics contained in the Torah ~ adultery and divorce.

Do Not Commit Adultery

“You have heard that our fathers were told: ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that a man who even looks at a woman with the purpose of lusting after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)

The Torah is crystal clear:  “Do not commit adultery” (Sh’mot 20:14).  So serious a view did the Jewish teachers take of adultery that the guilty parties were stoned to death (Vayikra 20:10).  Once again, Yeshua states that not only the forbidden action, but also the forbidden thought is guilty in the sight of God.  Remember President Carter’s admission of lusting in his heart? Continue reading “The Eternal Torah ~ Part 5”

The Eternal Torah ~ Part 4

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

We continue our quest to explore what I have been calling the Eternal Torah.  In this post, will begin to take a closer look at what Yeshua himself says about the first of six important topics contained in the Torah ~ do not murder and be reconciled.

Do Not Murder

“You have heard that our fathers were told: ‘Do not murder,’ and that anyone who commits murder will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who nurses anger against his brother will be subject to judgment; that whoever calls his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing!’ will be brought before the Sanhedrin; that whoever says, ‘Fool!’ incurs the penalty of burning in the fire of Gei-Hinnom!” (Matthew 5:21-22)

Statistically, murders are “crimes of passion” caused by anger among friends or relatives.  Yeshua did not say that anger leads to murder; He said that anger is murder.

In this passage Yeshua is arguing as any Rabbi might argue.  He is showing that he was skillful in using the debating methods that the wise men of His time were in the habit of using.  There is in this passage a different shade of anger and an increase in consequences. Continue reading “The Eternal Torah ~ Part 4”

The Eternal Torah ~ Part 1

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

 In this post, we will continue our study of the Sermon on the Mount as we examine a critical passage of Yeshua’s teachings in Matthew 5.  Certainly after the crowd heard our Lord’s description of the kind of person God blesses, they said to themselves, “But we could never attain that kind of character.  How can we have this righteousness?  Where does it come from?” They wondered how His teaching related to what they had been taught all their lives.  What about Moshe and the Torah?

In the Torah, God certainly revealed His standards for holy living.  The P’rushim (Pharisees) defended the Torah and sought to obey it.  But Yeshua said that the true righteousness that pleases God must exceed that of the Torah-teachers and the P’rushim – and to the common people, the Torah-teachers and the P’rushim were the holiest men in the community!  If they had not attained true righteousness, what hope was there for anybody else? Continue reading “The Eternal Torah ~ Part 1”

Happy Are Those Who Are Persecuted

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

 In my last post, we began looked at the how happy are those who are peacemakers.  In this post, we will explore the last Beatitude regarding the persecuted.

“How blessed are those who are persecuted because they pursue righteousness! For the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. How blessed you are when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of vicious lies about you because you follow me! Rejoice, be glad, because your reward in heaven is great – they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way.” ~ Matthew 5:10-12

Yeshua saved His toughest teaching for the last.  Only those who have gone through all the previous steps are qualified for advancement to this stage.  Oh joy, oh rapture!  Surely, this must be a misprint.  Being insulted and persecuted sure don’t sound like a good time to me.  But, these verses teach us that we can choose to be happy in spite of our circumstances.  They say, “I can remain positive and pardon those who persecute me, even when all else fails.”

If, after applying all of these previous positive attitudes to the best of my ability, I still find myself the abused victim in human relationships, I shall choose to believe that God can settle the score in His way and in His time.  I shall be blessed by knowing that my hurts, borne quietly, patiently, and positively, can be turned into halos. Continue reading “Happy Are Those Who Are Persecuted”

Happy Are the Peacemakers

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

 In my last post, we began looked at the how happy are those who are pure in heart.  In this post, we will explore the seventh Beatitude regarding the peacemakers.

“How blessed are those who make peace! for they will be called sons of God.”  ~ Matthew 5:9

Verse 9 teaches us about becoming bridge builders.  It also implies that, “we have to make peace with ourselves before we become peace makers with others.”  Once again, Yeshua takes this lesson from the Tanakh.  Isaiah 54:13 says, “All your children will be taught by Adonai; your children will have great peace.”

In Romans 12:18, Rabbi Sha’ul exhorts us to “live in peace with all people.”   He goes on to say to the Ephesians, “always be humble, gentle and patient, bearing with one another in love, and making every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit gives through the binding power of shalom” ~ Ephesians 4:1-3. Continue reading “Happy Are the Peacemakers”