The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 135

Passion Week ~ Tuesday

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.


Tuesday is a long day of great confrontation with the religious leaders assembled in Yerushalayim. By way of parables, Yeshua points out that the leaders’ predecessors have always rejected God’s messengers and that now they are rejecting even the Son of God. The P’rushim are angry and attempt to trap Yeshua into making statements by which they can arrest Him. The Tz’dukim (Saducees) join with the P’rushim as they adamantly reject any resurrection of the dead. Yeshua once again responds with superior spiritual insight.   [1]  

Lesson from the Fig Tree

20 In the morning, as the talmidim passed by, they saw the fig tree withered all the way to its roots. 21 Kefa remembered and said to Yeshua, “Rabbi! Look! The fig tree that you cursed has dried up!” [2]  20 The talmidim saw this and were amazed. “How did the fig tree dry up so quickly?” they asked. 21 Yeshua answered them, “Yes! I tell you, if you have trust and don’t doubt, you will not only do what was done to this fig tree but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Go and throw yourself into the sea!’ it will be done. 22 In other words, you will receive everything you ask for in prayer, no matter what it is, provided you have trust.”  [3] 25 And when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him; so that your Father in Heaven may also forgive your offenses.” [4]

Yeshua’s Authority Questioned

27 They went back into Yerushalayim; and as He was walking in the Temple courts, there came to Him the Head Cohanim, the Torah-teachers, and the elders; 28 and they said to Him, “What s’mikhah (ordination) do you have that authorizes you to do these things? Who gave you this s’mikhah authorizing you to do them?” 29 Yeshua said to them, I will ask you just one question: answer me, and I will tell you by what s’mikhah I do these things. 30 The immersion of Yochanan—was it from Heaven or from a human source? Answer me.” 31 They discussed it among themselves: “If we say, ‘From Heaven,’ He will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘From a human source, … ‘ – they were afraid of the people, for they all regarded Yochanan as a genuine prophet. 33 So they answered Yeshua, “We don’t know.” “Then,” He replied, “I won’t tell you by what s’mikhah I do these things.” [5]

Hebrew s’mikhah, rendering Greek exousia (“authority”), means “leaning” or “laying” on of hands in the ordination ceremony for a judge, elder or rabbi. Laying on of hands is, in the Tanakh, a symbolic act that confers or transfers an office and its duties and privileges by dramatizing God’s bestowal of the blessings and giftings needed for the work. The practice in Judaism is traced back to Moshe’s ordination of Y’hoshua and the seventy elders.

The cohanim and elders, who are also P’rushim (v. 45, 3:7N), are asking: “What kind of ordination did you receive that entitles you to teach as authoritatively as you do to decide points of halakhah  [6]  as you do and to disturb the peace in the Temple courts? And who dared give you such an ordination?” Yeshua does not answer their question but instead puts them on the defensive.

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

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[1] F. LaGard Smith, The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order
[2] Mark 11:20–21.
[3] Mattityahu 21:20–22.
[4] Mark 11:25.
[5] Mark 11:27–33.
[6] Refers to non-Biblical Jewish Law.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 120

Return to Judea to Raise Lazarus ~ Part 1

In our last post, we came to the end of His Perean Ministry as He Concluded Teaching in Parables.

In this post, Yeshua Returns to Judea to Raise Lazarus.


Yochanan records one of the most poignant events in all the Gospel accounts. While Yeshua is still in Perea, He learns that His friend Lazarus is seriously ill in Bethany. [1] Yeshua wants to be with Lazarus. But because Bethany is so close to Yerushalayim, His talmidim counseled against returning there. What follows is a touching account of Yeshua meeting Lazarus’s sisters, Mary and Martha, and being moved to tears. Yeshua arrives four days after Lazarus has died.

Yeshua Learns El’azar (Lazarus) Is Ill

Like a number of the incidents Yochanan reports, the events of this chapter presume knowledge of material found in the Synoptic Gospels. Beit-Anyah is mentioned in Mark 11:11–12, where Yeshua and His talmidim stayed after their triumphal entry into Yerushalayim. Miryam and Marta are introduced in Luke 10:38–42.

There was a man who had fallen sick. His name was El’azar, and he came from Beit-Anyah, the village where Miryam and her sister Marta lived. (This Miryam, whose brother El’azar had become sick, is the one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent a message to Yeshua, “Lord, the man you love is sick.” On hearing it, He said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may receive glory through it.”

In fact, El’azar did die (v. 14), but Yeshua raised him so that the illness did not “end” in death.

The Talmidim Fear Yeshua’s Return So Close to Yerushalayim

5 Yeshua loved Marta and her sister and El’azar; so when He heard he was sick, first He stayed where He was two more days; then, after this, He said to the talmidim, “Let’s go back to Y’hudah.” The talmidim replied, “Rabbi! Just a short while ago, the Judeans were out to stone you—and you want to go back there?” Yeshua answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight? If a person walks during daylight, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world.

Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight? Yeshua refers to the average hours of sunlight in the summer in Yerushalayim. The light of this world refers to Yeshua. The light was a common Jewish metaphor for God’s providence and guidance.

10 But if a person walks at night, he does stumble; because he has no light with him.”

No light with him refers to God’s power to guide a person’s life through the Ruach. In this setting, He is referring to Himself as their guide.

11 Yeshua said these things, and afterward, He said to the talmidim, “Our friend El’azar has gone to sleep, but I am going in order to wake him up.” 12 The talmidim said to Him, “Lord if he has gone to sleep, he will get better.”13 Now Yeshua had used the phrase to speak about El’azar’s death, but they thought he had been talking literally about sleep. 14 So Yeshua told them in plain language, “El’azar has died.15 And for your sake, I am glad that I wasn’t there so that you may come to trust. But let’s go to him.” 16 Then T’oma (Thomas which means “twin”) said to his fellow talmidim, “Yes, we should go so that we can die with him!”  [2]

T’oma shows enthusiasm to follow Yeshua, a point that later becomes ironic (see Yochanan 20:27).

In our next, we continue our exploration of Yeshua’s Return to Judea to Raise Lazarus.

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[1]  This Beit-Anyah is located about a mile and one-half due east of Yerushalayim.

[2]  Yochanan 11:1–16.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 107

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 107

In our last post, we followed Yeshua back to Yerushalayim for Hanukkah. In this post, He leaves Yerushalayim to go to Perea.

40 He went off again beyond the Yarden, where Yochanan had been immersing at first, and stayed there. 41 Many people came to Him and said, “Yochanan performed no miracles, but everything Yochanan said about this man was true.” 42 And many people there put their trust in him. [1]


Yeshua enters the Perean providence east of the Yarden. The providence was ruled by the tetrarch Herod Antipas (the one who beheaded Yochanan the Immerser), who also ruled Galilee. During this period of His ministry, Yeshua once again teaches through numerous parables.

The Narrow Door

22 Yeshua continued traveling through town after town and village after village, teaching and making His way toward Yerushalayim. 23 Someone asked Him, “Are only a few people being saved?” 24 He answered, “Struggle to get in through the narrow door because – I’m telling you! -many will be demanding to get in and won’t be able to,

Yeshua’s response to the questionAre only a few people being saved? does not speculate on God’s plans and actions but states what individuals should do to be saved. To be saved, one should strive to enter through the narrow door. This involves repentance and faith. Many will be demanding to get in and won’t be able to. There will eventually be a time when the opportunity to trust in Yeshua will be taken away.

25 once the owner of the house has gotten up and shut the door. You will stand outside, knocking at the door and saying, ‘Lord! Open up for us!’ But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from!’ 26 Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you! You taught in our streets!’

The second warning and analogy has to do with entering the house (i.e., the Kingdom of God) and warns that people may be shut out by Yeshua, whose presence they ate and drank and whose teachings they heard. Listening to Yeshua’s teachings and sharing fellowship with His people are not by themselves any guarantee of eternal life, for that comes only through personal faith in Yeshua.

27 ,and he will tell you, ‘I don’t know where you’re from. Get away from me, all you workers of wickedness!’

Yeshua is not only the Savior but also the final Judge of all humanity (see 2 Corinthian 5:10).

 28 You will cry and grind your teeth when you see Avraham, Yitz’chak, Ya‘akov, and all the prophets inside the Kingdom of God, but yourselves thrown outside. 29 Moreover, people will come from the east, the west, the north, and the south to sit at a table in the Kingdom of God. 30 And notice that some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last.[2]

In addition to believing Isra’eli (v. 28), believing Gentiles (people from the east, west, north, and south (Psalm 107:3) will enter the kingdom (Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8).

In our next post, Yeshua Continues to Minister in the Perean Province.

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[1] Yochanan 10:40–42.
[2] Luke 13:22–30.

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.


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.

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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 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.

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[1] Yochanan 7:2–9.

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).


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 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.


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.

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The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 67

Miracles and Multitudes ~ Part 1

In our last post, we concluded our examination of the topic of Yeshua Sends Out His Emissaries. This post begins with a new topic as we look at more Miracles and Multitudes.


As Yeshua’s ministry nears its second year, He reaches a peak of popularity among the multitudes starting with the feeding of the Five Thousand. However, when He later says that He is the true bread of life and that they must eat His flesh, many are offended and turn away. They can accept Him as a famous hero who works wonders, but they are unwilling to accept the demands of being a talmid.

Despite His opposition, what is impressive about Yeshua is the extent to which He has won the hearts of the ordinary people. He is not just another prophet but the Messiah about whom the other prophets have prophesied.

Yeshua Teaches the Multitude

We pick up where we left off in our last post: They went off by themselves to an isolated spot; [1] … to the far side of Lake Kinneret (that is, Lake Tiberias), [2] to a solitary place. But many people, seeing them leave and recognizing them, ran ahead on foot from all the towns and got there first. [3]

When Yeshua came ashore, He saw a huge crowd. Filled with compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, He began teaching them many things. [4] Welcoming them, He went on to speak to them about the Kingdom of God and to heal those who needed to be healed. [5] Now the Judean festival of Pesach (Passover) was coming up.[6]

In our next post, we will continue to examine the series on Miracles and Multitudes beginning in Mark 6:35, The Feeding of the Five Thousand.

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[1] Mark 6:30–32.

[2] Yochanon 6:1.

[3] Mark 6:33.

[4] Mark 6:34.

[5] Luke 9:11b.

[6] Yochanan 6:4.