The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 151

Passion Week ~ Wednesday (continued)

In our last post, we continued to examine the final days of Yeshua’s life and ministry. This post explores the events that may have occurred on Wednesday.

Yeshua Teaches At The Temple

37 Yeshua spent His days at the Temple, teaching, while at night, He went out and stayed on the hill called the Mount of Olives. 38 All the people would rise with the dawn to come and hear Him at the Temple courts. [1]

Many Still Disbelieve

37 Even though He had performed so many miracles in their presence, they still did not put their trust in Him, 38 in order that what Yesha’yahu the prophet had said might be fulfilled,

“Adonai, who has believed our report?
To whom has the arm of Adonai been revealed?(Isaiah 53:1)

Given the traditional method of citing the beginning of a passage to call to mind the whole, the inference is that all of Isaiah 53:1–12 applies to Yeshua.

39 The reason they could not believe was – as Yesha’yahu said elsewhere –

They could not believe. God allows everyone to “believe” or “trust” Him. But if they reject him, He may eventually make belief impossible: He hardens hearts (Romans 9:18). In this case, God blinded them (vv. 40–41), just as He hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 9:12, 11:10) after Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Exodus 8:32) so that it became impossible for Pharaoh to trust in God.

40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so that they do not see with their eyes,
understand with their hearts,
and do t’shuvah (turn from sins)
so that I could heal them.” (Isaiah 6:10)

41 (Yesha’yahu said these things because he saw the Sh’khinah (Manifest Glory) of Yeshua and spoke about him.)

Some Are Afraid

42 Nevertheless, many of the leaders did trust in Him; but because of the P’rushim, they did not say so openly, out of fear of being banned from the synagogue; 43 for they loved praise from other people more than praise from God.

Believers in Yeshua are not to hide their faith but confess it openly. One hears of “secret believers” who acknowledge to a small circle of friends that Yeshua is the Messiah but refuse to let it be generally known or even deny it. What they have is a powerless intellectual consent that cannot save them. Yet, I would say that this does not apply to underground churches as a whole throughout the world.

Yeshua Makes His Final Appeal

44 Yeshua declared publicly, “Those who put their trust in me are trusting not merely in me, but in the One who sent me. 45 Also, those who see me see the One who sent me. 46 I have come as a light into the world so that everyone who trusts in me might not remain in the dark. 47 If anyone hears what I am saying and does not observe it, I don’t judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 Those who reject me and don’t accept what I say have a judge—the word which I have spoken will judge them on the Last Day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own initiative, but the Father who sent me has given me a command, namely, what to say and how to say it. 50 And I know that his command is eternal life. So what I say is simply what the Father has told me to say.”  [2]

This summary of Yeshua’s public message and challenge encourages “secret believers” to become public witnesses who let their words and lives proclaim fearlessly that they rely on God and His truth. To reject Yeshua is to reject God, and His message will stand to judge all humanity.

Talmidim Make Preparations

Then came the day of matzah, on which the Passover lamb had to be killed.

The day of matzah. Not the day on which matzah is first eaten, but the day before Pesach begins, when chametz (“leaven”) must be removed from the house. On which the Passover lamb had to be killed in the Temple Court. The laws of Pesach then mandated slaughtering and eating a lamb to memorialize the lamb slain and consumed by each family on the night of the Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 12:3–14).

Yeshua sent Kefa and Yochanan, instructing them,Go and prepare our Seder, so we can eat.” They asked him, “Where do you want us to prepare it?” 10 He told them, “As you’re going into the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you.

A man carrying a jar of water would be an unusual sight, as this was ordinarily women’s work.

Follow him into the house he enters, 11 and say to its owner, ‘The Rabbi says to you, “Where is the guest room, where I am to eat the Pesach meal with my talmidim?”‘

Where I am to eat the Pesach with my talmidim, a rabbi’s follower would consider it an honor to have his rabbi request the use of his home for Him and His students to observe Passover.

12 He will show you a large room upstairs already furnished; make the preparations there.” 13 They went and found things just as Yeshua had told them they would be, and they prepared for the Seder. [3]

In our next, we continue to follow Yeshua into Yerushalayim for His Crucifixion by the end of the week and move on to The Upper Room.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Luke 21:37–38.
[2] Yochanan 12:37-50
[3] Luke 27:7-13

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 144

Passion Week ~ Tuesday (continued)

In our last post, we continued to examine the final days of Yeshua’s life and ministry. In this post, explore Yeshua’s answer to the talmidim question on when the Temple will be destroyed from Mark 13:4. Yes, we are still on Tuesday, BUT…

Discourse on Future Events ~ Part 2

Yeshua’s Response to the Talimidim’s Question

Yeshua replied: “Watch out! Don’t let anyone fool you! For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah!’ and they will lead many astray. You will hear the noise of wars nearby and the news of wars far off; see to it that you don’t become frightened. Such things must happen, but the end is yet to come. For peoples  (ethnic groups) will fight each other, nations will fight each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various parts of the world; all this is but the beginning of the ‘birth-pains.’

The notion that the Messianic Age will be ushered in with a series of convulsions in history referred to as the “birth pains” is familiar in rabbinic Judaism. The “Messianic Age” refers to the period after Yeshua’s Second Coming (see v. 30), when He will establish peace among the nations and fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah 2:1–4.

At that time, you will be arrested and handed over to be punished and put to death, and all peoples will hate you because of me. 10 At that time, many will be trapped into betraying and hating each other,

Deuteronomy 32:36 states: “Yes, Adonai will judge His people, taking pity on his servants, when He sees that their strength is gone, that no one is left, slave or free.

The phrase, “when he sees that their strength is gone,” means that the people of Isra’el will be at the mercy of informers. Then, God will vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants by redeeming them through the Messiah, the Son of David.

11 many false prophets will appear and fool many people; 12 and many people’s love will grow cold because of increased distance from Torah. 13 But whoever holds out till the end will be delivered. 14 And this Good News about the Kingdom will be announced throughout the whole world as a witness to all the Goyim. It is then that the end will come.

As Yeshua’s talmidim, we probably undergo intense persecution and destruction before He returns. As Believers, we already see that in our woke culture.

15 “So when you see the abomination that causes desolation spoken about through the prophet Dani’el standing in the Holy Place” (let the reader understand the allusion),

When Antiochus IV (“Epiphanes”) conquered Yerushalayim in 167 BCE, he erected an altar to Zeus in the Temple. 1 Maccabees 1:54 and 6:7 refer to this as fulfilling Daniel’s prophecy, but Yeshua points to an additional, future fulfillment.

16 “that will be the time for those in Y’hudah to escape to the hills. 17 If someone is on the roof, he must not go down to gather his belongings from his house; 18 if someone is in the field, he must not turn back to get his coat. 19 What a terrible time it will be for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that you will not have to escape in winter or on Shabbat. 21 For there will be trouble then worse than there has ever been from the beginning of the world until now, and there will be nothing like it again! 22 Indeed, if the length of this time had not been limited, no one would survive; but for the sake of those who have been chosen, its length will be limited. 23 At that time, if someone says to you, ‘Look! Here’s the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ don’t believe him. 24 For there will appear false Messiahs and false prophets performing great miracles—amazing things! – so as to fool even the chosen, if possible. 25 There! I have told you in advance! 26 So if people say to you, ‘Listen! He’s out in the desert!’ don’t go; or, ‘Look! He’s hidden away in a secret room!’ don’t believe it. 27 For when the Son of Man does come, it will be like lightning that flashes out of the east and fills the sky to the western horizon. 28 Wherever there’s a dead body, that’s where you find the vultures.

Wherever there’s a dead body, that’s where you find the vultures. Birds preying on carrion seem to refer here to persons used by demonic spirits to carry out evil purposes; they gather around false messiahs (corpses) and draw people away from the truth. Scholars surmise that Yeshua is quoting a folk proverb.

29 “But immediately following the trouble of those times,
the sun will grow dark,
the moon will stop shining,
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the powers in heaven will be shaken. (see Isaiah 13:10, Haggai 2:21)

30 “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, all the tribes of the Land will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with tremendous power and glory.

All the tribes of the Land will mourn. Zechariah 12:10–14 refers to the day when the people of Isra’el will mourn over God, who has been pierced, as they would mourn over a firstborn son.

31 He will send out his angels with a great shofar, and they will gather together his chosen people from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Shofar, “ram’s horn,” or, loosely, “trumpet.” The ram’s horn is blown at the Jewish High Holy Days season, one hundred times on Rosh-HaShanah (New Year), also called the Feast of Trumpets; and once at the end of Yom-Kippur (Day of Atonement). Judaism also understands that blasts will announce the Day of Judgment on the shofar. Ten Tanakh verses mentioning the shofar are recited in the Rosh-HaShanah synagogue service.

32 “Now let the fig tree teach you its lesson: when its branches begin to sprout, and leaves appear, you know that summer is approaching. 33 In the same way, when you see all these things, you are to know that the time is near, right at the door. 34 Yes! I tell you that this people will certainly not pass away before all these things happen. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. [1]

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 24:4–35.​

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 132

Passion Week ~ Sunday (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.

Yeshua Enters Yerushalayim

33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34, and they said, “Because the Lord needs it.” 35 They brought it to Yeshua, and, throwing their robes on the colt, they put Yeshua on it. 36 As he went along, people carpeted the road with their clothing; 37 and as he came near Yerushalayim, where the road descends from the Mount of Olives, the entire band of talmidim began to sing and praise God at the top of their voices for all the powerful works they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the King who is coming in the name of Adonai!” [1]
“Shalom in heaven!” and “Glory in the highest places!”

39 Some of the P’rushim in the crowd said to him, “Rabbi! Reprimand your talmidim!” 40 But he answered them, “I tell you that if they keep quiet, the stones will shout!” [2] 8 Many people carpeted the road with their clothing, while others spread out green branches which they had cut in the fields. [3]

Carpeting the road with their clothing was a public declaration of political allegiance (compare 2 Kings 9:13). Yeshua enters Yerushalayim as its king, and the people accept Him as such.

Yeshua Foresees Destruction

41 When Yeshua had come closer and could see the city, He wept over it, 42 saying, “If you only knew today what is needed for shalom! But for now, it is hidden from your sight. 43 For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will set up a barricade around you, encircle you, hem you in on every side,

This mode of punishment for Yerushalayim is spoken of in Isaiah 29:3, Jeremiah 6:6, and Ezekiel 4:2. The very explicit prophecy of this and the following verse was fulfilled in the Roman conquest of Yerushalayim, 66–70 CE.

44 and dash you to the ground, you and your children within your walls, leaving not one stone standing on another—and all because you did not recognize your opportunity when God offered it![4]

Yeshua’s Popularity Recognized

10 When He entered Yerushalayim, the whole city was stirred. “Who is this?” they asked. 11 And the crowds answered, “This is Yeshua, the prophet from Natzeret in the Galil.” [5] 17 The group that had been with Him when he called El’azar out of the tomb and raised Him from the dead had been telling about it. 18 It was because of this, too, that the crowd came out to meet Him – they had heard that He had performed this miracle. 19 The P’rushim said to each other, “Look, you’re getting nowhere! Why the whole world has gone after Him!” [6]

Yeshua Returns to Beit-Anyah

11 Yeshua entered Yerushalayim, went into the Temple courts, and took a good look at everything, but since it was now late, He went out with the Twelve to Beit-Anyah. [7]

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] Psalm 118:26.
[2] Luke 19:33–40.
[3] Mark 11:8.
[4] Luke 19:41–44.
[5] Mattityahu 21:10–11.
[6] Yochanan 12:17–19.
[7] Mark 11:11.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 131

Passion Week ~ Sunday

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.


It is now late March, and Pesach is near. The time has come for Yeshua to be delivered up as our Pesach Lamb. Both Pesach and Hag HaMatzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread) are tied to the remembrance of the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. The principal Scriptural reference for Pesach is in B’midbar (Exodus) 12:1-13 and Hag HaMatzah in Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:5-8. Yeshua is about to be slain for the salvation of all who would recognize and accept the power in His blood.

Even as He approached Yerushalayim, His enemies were plotting His death. Riding on a lowly colt, Yeshua is met by multitudes who shout praise to God for having sent this “great prophet” in whom they now believe. He knows that most of them still do not understand the true nature of His messiahship and deity. He is now given the most incredible welcome of His ministry. His enemies now let Him have His day of glory. [1]

12 The next day, the large crowd that had come for the festival heard that Yeshua was on His way into Yerushalayim. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet Him, shouting,

“Deliver us!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of Adonai, the King of Isra’el!”  [2]

29 As he approached Beit-Pagei and Beit-Anyah, by the Mount of Olives, He sent two talmidim, 30 instructing them, “Go into the village ahead; on entering it, you will find a colt tied up that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks why you are untying it, tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.'” [3]

This happened in order to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet,

“Say to the daughter of Tziyon,
‘Look! Your King is coming to you,
riding humbly on a donkey
and on a colt, the offspring of a beast of burden!'” [4]

16 His talmidim did not understand this at first, but after Yeshua had been glorified, then they remembered that the Tanakh said this about Him and that they had done this for Him. [5]

They went off and found a colt in the street tied in a doorway, and they untied it. The bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They gave the answer Yeshua had told them to give, and they let them continue. They brought the colt to Yeshua and threw their robes on it, and he sat on it. [6]

In our next, we follow Yeshua into Yerushalayim for His Crucifixion by the end of the week.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  F. LaGard Smith, The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order.
[2]  Yochanan 12:12–13.
[3]  Luke 19:29–31.
[4]  Mattityahu 21:4–5 (quoting Zechariah 9.:9).
[5]  Yochanan 12:16.
[6]  Mark 11:4–7.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 90

In Yerushalayim for Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) ~ Part 4

In our last post, we learned that People Ask If Yeshua is the Messiah, and the P’rushim Seek to Arrest Him. In this post, we will learn about Spiritual Drinks and more.

Spiritual Drinks

37 Now, on the last day of the festival, Hoshana Rabbah, Yeshua stood and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to Me and drinking! 38 Whoever puts his trust in Me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being!” 39 (Now He said this about the Spirit, whom those who trusted in Him were to receive later – the Spirit had not yet been given because Yeshua had not yet been glorified.)  [1]

On the festival’s last day, Hoshana Rabbah, literally, “on the last day, the great, of the festival.”. The seventh and last day of Sukkot was its climax. Throughout the seven days of the festival, a special cohen had carried water in a gold pitcher from the Pool of Shiloach (Siloam) to be poured into a basin at the foot of the altar by the Cohen HaGadol (the Great High Priest). It symbolized prayer for rain, which begins the next day on Sh’mini Atzeret. It also pointed toward the outpouring of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) on the people of Isra’el.

It was in the midst of this water pouring, trumpet blasting, palm waving, psalm chanting, and ecstatic joy on the part of people seeking forgiveness – and in the presence of all 24 divisions of the priesthood (see Luke 1:5) – that Yeshua cried out in the Temple courts, “If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to me and drinking! Whoever trusts in me, as the Tanakh says, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being! His dramatic cry, supported by the full display of Temple ritual, was not misunderstood as vv. 40 – 43 below make abundantly clear.

More Division Among the Jews

40 On hearing His words, some people in the crowd said, “Surely this man is ‘the prophet’ “; 41 others said, “This is the Messiah.” But others said, “How can the Messiah come from the Galil? 42 Doesn’t the Tanakh say that the Messiah is from the seed of David and comes from Beit-Lechem, the village where David lived?” 43 So the people were divided because of Him. 44 Some wanted to arrest Him, but no one laid a hand on Him.  [2]

But others said, “How can the Messiah come from the Galil? Doesn’t the Tanakh say that the Messiah is from the seed of David and comes from Beit-Lechem?” Yes, the Tanakh does say that (2 Samuel 7:12–13; Jeremiah 23:5–6; Micah 5:1(2)); Psalms 89:36–38(35–37), 132:11; 1 Chronicles 7:11, 14). Chapter 2 of Mattityahu explains how the Messiah could come from both Beit-Lechem in Y’hudah and Natzeret in the Galil: He was born in Beit-Lechem, taken to Egypt to escape the massacre of infants ordered by Herod, and by God’s command returned to Natzeret. Luke 2:1–7 further explains why a family from Natzeret happened to be in Beit-Lechem for Yeshua’s birth: the Romans ordered a census and required everyone to return to his own city for it. Doubters could have inquired and learned these things, but as is familiar with people whose minds are made up, they did not wish to be “confused by the facts.” So the people were divided because of Him. Yeshua the Messiah always divides people into two camps: those who are with Him and those who are not. The middle ground quickly disappears.

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 learn that Nakdimon (Nicodemus) Counsels Caution and about the Women Caught in Adultery.

Clcik here for the PDF version.

[1]  Yochanan 7:37–39.
[2]  Yochanan 7:40–44.

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.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 87

In Yerushalayim for Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) ~ Part 1

In our last post, we concluded our series on Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End. This post begins a new series on Yeshua’s journey to Yerushalayim for the Feast of Sukkot. To learn the background of this Feast, click HERE.


It has been six months since the last Pesach (Passover), which Yeshua did not attend due to a threat to His life. However, Yeshua believes He can once again journey safely to Yerushalayim. However, He delays going with His step-brothers and goes separately. When He does arrive, He will spend time teaching and confronting the religious leaders who have assembled.

His Brothers, Taunt Yeshua

But the festival of Sukkot in Y’hudah was near; so his brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Y’hudah so that your talmidim can see the miracles you do; for no one who wants to become known acts in secret. If you’re doing these things, show yourself to the world!” (His brothers spoke this way because they had not put their trust in Him.) Yeshua said to them, “My time has not yet come; but for you, any time is right. The world can’t hate you, but it does hate Me because I keep telling it how wicked its ways are. You, go on up to the festival; as for Me, I am not going up to this festival now because the right time for Me has not yet come.”

Yeshua’s brothers … had not put their trust in Him (v. 5). It is sometimes argued that if His brothers did not believe in Him, why should we? But one of them, Ya‛akov (James), not only came to trust in Him later but became the leader of the Messianic Jewish community in Yerushalayim (Acts 2:17; 15:13; 21:18; Galatians 1:19; 2:9, 12); and he is usually credited with authorship of the book of Ya‛akov. Likewise, another brother, Y’hudah (Jude), is thought to be the author of the Brit Hadashah book bearing his name.

Yeshua was not swayed by His brothers’ challenge, which seems to have stemmed from a reasonable and friendly – yet entirely human – motive, the desire to see their brother succeed and become famous. Yeshua had performed miracles in the Galil; His brothers apparently felt He should not delay in developing His reputation in Judea too and even gave a plausible argument (v. 4). But Yeshua had another plan. My time has not yet come (v. 6), either to go to the festival or to do miracles in Judea. Underlying the repeated mentioning of Yeshua’s “time” is the theme of His fundamental mission, to die for the sins of humankind; this was to take place precisely at God’s right moment and was not to be precipitated by any human challenge.

Having said this, He stayed on in the Galil. [1]

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 learn that Yeshua does indeed Journey to Yerushalayim and Teaches in the Temple.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Yochanan 7:2–9.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 2

Rather than just copying what He says, I want to set the stage when He does speak.

The Young Yeshua at the Temple

41 Every year Yeshua’s parents went to Yerushalayim for the festival of Pesach (Passover). 42 When He was twelve years old, they went up for the festival, as custom required. 43 But after the festival was over when His parents returned, Yeshua remained in Yerushalayim. [Think back when you were twelve. Would you have been that brave?] They didn’t realize this; 44 supposing that He was somewhere in the caravan, they spent a whole day on the road before they began searching for Him among their relatives and friends. 45 Failing to find Him, they returned to Yerushalayim to look for Him. 46 On the third day they found Him – He was sitting in the Temple court among the rabbis, not only listening to them but questioning what they said; 47 and everyone who heard Him was astonished at His insight and His responses. 48 When his parents saw Him, they were shocked; and His mother said to him, “Son! Why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been terribly worried looking for you!” 49 He said to them, “Why did you have to look for me? Didn’t you know that I had to be concerning myself with my Father’s affairs?”50 But they didn’t understand what He meant. 51 So He went with them to Natzeret and was obedient to them. But his mother stored up all these things in her heart. 52 And Yeshua grew both in wisdom and in stature, gaining favor both with other people and with God. ~ Luke 2:41-52

This single incident from Yeshua’s“silent years” (see Matt. 2:16 & Luke 3:23) took place near the age at which a Jewish boy today undergoes his bar-mitzvah ceremony and becomes a “son of the commandment,” personally responsible for keeping the Torah given by God to Moshe on Mount Sinai. At this time, he dons t’fillin [1] for the first time officially, and for the first time, he is given an aliyah (call-up) to come to the bimah (lectern) and read from the Sefer-Torah (Torah scroll) in a synagogue service. Verses 46–47 suggest a comparable “coming out” for Yeshua, but there the parallel ends. Bar-mitzvah did not start to become a major ceremonial event in the Jewish life-cycle until the Middle Ages, and only in modern times has it become the focus of grandiose celebrations. Moreover, the age for bar-mitzvah is not twelve but thirteen. [2]

According to John MacArthur: Yeshua’s reply was in no sense insolent but reveals a genuine amazement that they did not know where to look for Him. This also reveals that even at so young an age, He had a clear consciousness of His identity and mission.[3]

In our next post, we will examine Yeshua’s Baptism and The Temptation of Yeshua.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] T’fillin are small leather boxes containing parchment scrolls on which are written excerpts from the Tanakh (specifically, Deuteronomy 6:4–9, 11:13–20, Exodus 13:1–16).

[2] Stern, D. H. (1996). Jewish New Testament Commentary.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur Study Bible: NASB.

Shavuot (Pentecost)

God’s Appointed Times

We will take a break from our series on the Creeds and return to God’s Appointed Times ~ Shavuot (Pentecost). In 2021, Shavuot will be observed by Jewish Believers beginning at sundown on Sunday, May 16th. Christians will be celebrating Pentecost on Sunday, May 23rd.

Scriptural Basis

15 ” ‘From the day after the day of rest — that is, from the day you bring the sheaf for waving — you are to count seven full weeks, 16until the day after the seventh week; you are to count fifty days, and then you are to present a new grain offering to Adonai. 17You must bring bread from your homes for waving — two loaves made with one gallon of fine flour, baked with leaven — as firstfruits for Adonai. 18Along with the bread, present seven lambs without defect one year old, one young bull, and two rams; these will be a burnt offering for Adonai, with their grain and drink offerings, an offering made by fire as a fragrant aroma for Adonai. 19Offer one male goat as a sin offering and two male lambs one year old as a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20The cohen will wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before Adonai, with the two lambs; these will be holy for Adonai for the cohen. 21On the same day, you are to call a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work; this is a permanent regulation through all your generations, no matter where you live.” (Vayikra [Leviticus] 23:15-21)

Basic Description

Shavu’ot was one of three festivals (Pesach/Matzah & Sukkot being the other two) appointed by Adonai where all Jewish males were to go up to Yerushalayim. Shavu’ot means “weeks.” It comes exactly fifty days after Pesach. In Greek, we have come to know it as Pentecost. Pentecost means “fifty.” It was an agricultural festival to celebrate the latter fruits of the spring harvest. Recall that Yom HaBikkurim (First Fruits) immediately following Pesach celebrated the barley harvest and, as Believers, we recognize it as the resurrection of Yeshua – the first fruit from the dead. Shavu’ot celebrates the thanksgiving for the wheat harvest symbolized by the two loaves of challah.


The two loaves of challah were brought into the Temple and, with grand ceremony, waved in every direction before Adonai. Also, blood sacrifices were offered to cover the sin of the people. Since sacrifices can no longer be made with the destruction of the Second Temple, the modern Jewish observance of Shavu’ot has changed. Rabbis calculated that Moshe received the Torah at Mount Sinai on Shavu’ot. Hence, the rabbinic name for Shavu’ot is Zman Matan Torateynu (the Time of the Giving of the Torah).

The custom of decorating the synagogue in greenery, flowers, and baskets of fruit to symbolize the harvest aspect of Shavu’ot; the practice of marking the holiday with a meal featuring dairy products in recognition of Scripture being described as the pure milk of the Word (I Peter 2:2); and the inclusion of the Megillah (scroll) of Ruth in the service are all the primary reminders of Shavu’ot’s agricultural prominence.

But Ruth’s story sounds another theme, one more relevant to the celebration of Shavu’ot by modern Jewish people andMessianic Believers. When her husband dies, Ruth – a gentile – elects to stay with Naomi, her mother-in-law, telling her, “your people will be my people, and your God will be my God” (Ruth 1:16), binding herself willingly to the people Isra’el. Ruth’s story is one of commitment to the Jewish people freely made and to the covenant with God that is the core of the Jewish religion and experience. Like Ruth, the Gentile woman who was in the lineage of Yeshua, we have voluntarily said to our fellow Messianic Jewish Believers, your people will be my people, your God will be my God.

Shavu’ot celebrates the most crucial moment in the Mosaic covenant – the giving of the Torah to Moshe and its acceptance by Isra’el at Sinai. Shavu’ot has come to be dedicated to the idea of Torah study and Jewish education. Traditional Jews stay up all night on the first night of this festival studying the Torah. In keeping with the theme of Jewish education, Shavu’ot has traditionally been when many Jewish schools mark graduation.

Messianic significance abounds in this festival. From God’s perspective, the time of great harvest when large numbers of Jewish believers and later Gentiles came into a personal relationship with Him was initiated at Shavu’ot immediately after Yeshua’s resurrection (Acts 2:40-43). The two leavened loaves of Shavu’ot may therefore symbolize Jew and Gentile presented to God and now part of His family. God set us free from slavery to sin by placing His Ruach in us to enable us to live as He intended (Romans 8:1-4). Hence God visibly placed His Ruach HaKodesh in Yeshua’s followers on that important Shavu’ot centuries ago (Acts 2:4). The coming of the Ruach HaKodesh served as the completion of Pesach, the completion of our atonement, in the sense that through the Ruach, God gives us the power we need to overcome our tendency to do evil.

The theme of Shavu’ot can be best summed up by the word revival. Isra’el was called to praise God for the first fruits of the ground, knowing that these early fruits assured the latter harvest. This also applies to the spiritual Kingdom of God. The first fruit of believers at Shavu’ot virtually guarantees a revival in the latter-day spiritual harvest for Messiah. Now we can understand why God included Shavu’ot in the three required festivals for every Jewish male. He had gathered Jewish men from throughout the region to hear the Good News of Yeshua in their language. They would take that message back home with them to tell their families and friends. As Pesach speaks of redemption, Shavu’ot speaks of revival. The message of Shavu’ot is one of great hope and joy. It was a message heard and accepted by 3,000 Jewish people on that special Shavu’ot (Acts 2:41). Note that 3,000 Jewish people died because of their rebellion of worshipping the Golden Calf at the giving of the Torah.

When Is the Biblical Feast of Shavu’ot?

Many people desire to know the actual Biblical date for Shavu’ot. It is the only feast that God did not say fell on a specific date in the Hebrew calendar. Instead, He gave a formula for calculating the day. Though the traditional Jewish community will celebrate Shavu’ot according to that traditional calculation, there is a difference in opinion. In the first century, the Pharisees and Sadducees differed on the date Shavu’ot was to celebrate. The question arose over which Sabbath does Firstfruits (see Vayikra 23:9-14) take place after the day after Pesach, which is generally considered a Sabbath or the regular seventh-day Sabbath, i.e., Saturday during the week of Pesach?

The Pharisees claimed the correct day was the day after the first day of Matzah, the sixteenth of Nisan. The Sadducees taught that the correct day was Sunday, the day after the weekly Sabbath. Since the writings of the Pharisees survived and developed into traditional Judaism, their opinion is accepted in modern Judaism.

But who is biblically correct? Remember, the Scriptures state, “you are to count seven full Sabbaths until the day after the seventh week; you are to count fifty days.” (Leviticus 23:15-16).

For it to be the day after the seventh Shabbat, the initial Sabbath would have to be the weekly Sabbath. So, it would appear the Sadducees were right. Consequently, I believe that the Sadducees got this one correct.

Amazingly, the year that Yeshua died, the sixteenth of Nisan fell on a Sunday, which is the day after the Sabbath for the Sadducees. God worked it out that neither group would have a reason not to recognize Yeshua as the Firstfruits of the Resurrection.

In my next post, we will return to our series on the Creeds.

Click here for the PDF version.

Pesach and Hag HaMatzah ~ 20211

(Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread)
God’s Appointed Times

We return to God’s Appointed Times from the Tanakh.  Both Pesach (Passover) and Hag HaMatzah are tied to the remembrance of the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt.  The principle Scriptural reference for Pesach is in B’midbar (Exodus) 12:1-13 and Hag HaMatzah in Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:5-8.  In 2021, Pesach starts on the eve of March 27th  and Hag HaMatzah on the eve of March 28th.   This eight-day remembrance ends at sundown on April 4th.

For Believers in Yeshua, this time can be a great time to reflect not only on the deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian bondage and death of the first-born by the shedding of the lamb’s blood on the doorpost; but also on the shed blood of Yeshua on the cross.  His death and resurrection paid for our sins and purchased for us eternal salvation.

I’ve included a great video from Friends of Israel which takes you through the Pesach Seder.

I have attached a PDF version of an explanation of the traditional Pesach Seder provided by Chosen People Ministries.  Click here.

However, for those of you who want to have a Scriptural-based observation of Pesach, I highly recommend Kevin Geoffrey’s “Behold the Lamb and Preparation Guide.”  Click here to order.