The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 101

Ministry from Galilee to Judea ~ Part 2

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

Seventy [1] Sent Out & Return

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  Some manuscripts say seventy-two.

[2]  2 Kings 4:29

[3]  Luke 10:1–20.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~Part 100

Ministry from Galilee to Judea ~ Part 1

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

Introduction

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

Galilean Ministry Ends

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

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

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

Ten Lepers Healed

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for the PDF version.

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

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 99

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

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

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

The Sheep and Their Shephard

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

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

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

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

The Gate for the Sheep

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

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

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

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

Yeshua Is the Good Shepherd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for the PDF version.

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

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 97

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

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

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

The Healing of the Man Born Blind ~ Part 2

The P’rushim Question the Blind Man

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

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

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

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

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

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

The P’rushim Question the Blind Man

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

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

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

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

In our next post, we continue with our new series on Yeshua’s Journey to Yerushalayim for the Feast of Sukkot. In our next post, we continue to explore: The Healing of the Man Born Blind.

Click here for the PDF version.

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

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 96

In Yerushalayim for Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) ~ Part 10

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

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

The Healing of the Man Born Blind ~ Part 1

As I shared in my last post, this is one of my favorite chapters in Yochanan. Not only because of the fantastic miracle but later also because of the blind man’s testimony before the P’rushim.

As Yeshua passed along, He saw a man blind from birth. His talmidim asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinnedthis man or his parentsto cause him to be born blind?”

Yeshua’s talmidim were not the first to attribute all human misfortune and disability to immediately traceable sin: the entire book of Job is devoted to combatting this misunderstanding of how sin has come to affect the present world. Verses 1–5 of this chapter correspond to chapters 1–2 of Job; both set the scene for teaching about sin.

Yeshua answered, “His blindness is due neither to his sin nor to that of his parents; it happened so that God’s power might be seen at work in him. As long as it is day, we must keep doing the work of the One who sent Me; the night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said this, He spits on the ground, makes some mud with the saliva, puts the mud on the man’s eyes,

He … makes some mud with the saliva. Any kind of building is one of the thirty-nine kinds of work prohibited on Shabbat according to Mishna Shabbat 7:2; Mishna Shabbat 24:3 also says that on Shabbat, “it is permitted to put water into the bran” of animals, “but they must knead it.” It requires kneading to make clay, and clay is a building material, so there are two possible violations of Shabbat, according to P’rushim’s understanding – building and kneading. Put the mud on the man’s eyes. If this was done as a means of healing and with the intention of healing, this, too, would have been regarded as a violation of Shabbat.

and said to him, “Go, wash off in the Pool of Shiloach!” (The name means “sent.”) So he went and washed and came away seeing.

Hebrew shiloach means “sent,” as Yochanan says. The Pool of Shiloach still exists in the neighborhood of East Jerusalem called Silwan (the Arabic transliteration of “shiloach”). It marks the end of Hezekiah’s Tunnel, constructed by the Judean king around 700 BCE. to bring water from the Gichon spring in the Kidron Valley to the Pool of Shiloach in the City of David.

His neighbors and those who previously had seen him begging said, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “Yes, he’s the one,”; while others said, “No, but he looks like him.” However, he himself said, “I’m the one.” 10 “How were your eyes opened?” they asked him. 11 He answered, “The man called Yeshua made mud, put it on my eyes, and told me, ‘Go to Shiloach and wash!’ So I went, and as soon as I had washed, I could see.” 12 They said to him, “Where is He?” and he replied, “I don’t know.” [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 continue to explore The Healing of the Man Born Blind.

Click here for the PDF version.

1 Yochanan 9:1-12

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 95

In Yerushalayim for Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) ~ Part 9

In our last post, we learned that YeshuaWarns Against Unbelief and more. In this post, we will learn that Yeshua Declares His External Existence.

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

Yeshua Declares His External Existence

48 The Judeans answered Him, “Aren’t we right in saying you are from Shomron and have a demon?” 49 Yeshua replied, “Me? I have no demon. I am honoring My Father. But you dishonor Me. 50 I am not seeking praise for Myself. There is One who is seeking it, and He is the judge. 51 Yes, indeed! I tell you that whoever obeys My teaching will never see death.”

52 The Judeans said to Him, “Now we know for sure that You have a demon! Avraham died, and so did the prophets; yet You say, ‘Whoever obeys My teaching will never taste death.’ 53 Avraham Avinu (Father Abraham) died; You aren’t greater than he, are You? And the prophets also died. Who do You think You are?” 54 Yeshua answered, “If I praise Myself, My praise counts for nothing. The One who is praising Me is My Father, the very one about whom you keep saying, ‘He is our God.’ 55 Now you have not known Him, but I do know Him; indeed, if I were to say that I don’t know Him, I would be a liar like you! But I do know Him, and I obey His word. 56 Avraham, your father, was glad that he would see My day; then he saw it and was overjoyed.”

Avraham…would see My day. In Jewish tradition, details about the final judgment of all people are revealed to Avraham before his death.

57 “Why, you’re not yet fifty years old,” the Judeans replied, “and you have seen Avraham?”

You’re not yet fifty years old. The implication is that Yeshua appears close enough to fifty for the statement to be meaningful as a reasonable upper limit to His estimated age. Yet, we know that He was “about thirty” when he began his public ministry (Luke 3:23) and that His ministry lasted no longer than three years. Conclusion: He must have looked older than He was.

58 Yeshua said to them, “Yes, indeed! Before Avraham came into being, I AM!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to throw at him; but Yeshua was hidden and left the Temple grounds. [1]

Before Avraham came into being, I AM. This and Yochanan 10:30 are Yeshua’s clearest self-pronouncements of His divinity. It was obvious to the Judeans exactly what Yeshua’s claim was because they immediately took up stones to kill him (v. 59) for blasphemy. Claiming to be God and, specifically, pronouncing God’s name (as Yeshua had just done) were punishable by death. See Exodus 3:14 and Leviticus 24:15-16.

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 come to one of my all-time favorite passages: The Healing of the Man Born Blind.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  Yochanan 8:54–59.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 94

In Yerushalayim for Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) ~ Part 8

In our last post, we learned that YeshuaWarns Against Unbelief and more. In this post, we will learn about the True Children of Avraham.

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

True Children of Avraham

39 They answered him, “Our father is Avraham.” Yeshua replied, “If you are children of Avraham, then do the things Avraham did!

Yeshua concedes their physical descent from Avraham but disputes their automatic inheritance of the promises to Avraham on that basis alone. Behavior, not bloodline, determines who are indeed children of Avraham.

40 As it is, you are out to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Avraham did nothing like that! 41 You are doing the things your Father does.” We’re not illegitimate children!” they said to him. “We have only one Father – God!”

We’re not illegitimate children (like you, Yeshua is implied)! They knew something about the unusual circumstances of Yeshua’s birth.

42 Yeshua replied to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me; because I came out from God; now I have arrived here. I did not come on My own; He sent Me. 43 Why don’t you understand what I’m saying? Because you can’t bear to listen to My message. 44 You belong to your Father, Satan, and you want to carry out your Father’s desires. From the start, he is a murderer, and he has never stood by the truth because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is speaking in character; because he is a liar – indeed, the inventor of the lie!

You belong to your Father, the Adversary Yeshua is through playing games: He has listened to these people claim Avraham and God as their Father; he is no longer interested in wrong answers. Their sinful behavior, exemplified by unbelief, puts them in opposition to God and Himself. The accusation is an intentionally offensive counterclaim to their assertion that God was their Father.

 45 But as for Me, because I tell the truth, you don’t believe Me. 46 Which one of you can show Me where I’m wrong? If I’m telling the truth, why don’t you believe Me?

Which one of you can show me where I’m wrong? Or: “Which one of you can convict me of sin?” In either case, the answer is No one.

47 Whoever belongs to God listens to what God says; the reason you don’t listen is that you don’t belong to God. [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 Declares His External Existence.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Yochanan 8:39–47.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 93

In Yerushalayim for Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) ~ Part 7

In our last post, we learned that Yeshua says, “I am the Light of the World.” In this post, we will learn that Yeshua Warns Against Unbelief and more.

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

Warning Against Unbelief

21 Again, He told them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin—where I am going, you cannot come.”

You will die in your sin. This is a new teaching. Until now, Yeshua has not said you must trust in Him unless you are prepared to die in your sin.

22 The Judeans said, “Is He going to commit suicide? Is that what He means when He says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23 Yeshua said to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24 This is why I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not trust that I AM [who I say I am], you will die in your sins.”

I am who I say I am, literally, “I am. Yeshua is intimating here and in v. 28 (below) that He is to be identified with God.

25 At this, they said to Him, “You? Who are you?” Yeshua answered, “Just what I’ve been telling you from the start. 26 There are many things I could say about you and many judgments I could make. However, the One who sent Me is true; so I say in the world only what I have heard from Him.” 27 They did not understand that He was talking to them about the Father. 28 So Yeshua said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM [who I say I am], and that of myself I do nothing, but say only what the Father has taught me.

When you lift up the Son of Man, Yeshua predicts the manner and instrumentality of His death: these Judeans will have Him crucified by the Romans.

29 Also, the One who sent me is still with me; he did not leave me to myself because I always do what pleases him.” 30 Many people who heard him say these things trusted in Him.  [1]

On Spiritual Freedom

31 So Yeshua said to the Judeans who had trusted Him, “If you obey what I say, then you are really My talmidim, 32 you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

There is a kind of trust which falls short of making one really a talmid of Yeshua. Real talmidim obeys Yeshua, which is more than mentally acknowledging who He is. The famous quotation, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” is conditioned on obeying what Yeshua says.

33 They answered, “We are the seed of Avraham and have never been slaves to anyone; so what do you mean by saying, ‘You will be set free?” 34 Yeshua answered them, “Yes, indeed! I tell you that everyone who practices sin is a slave of sin.

We … have never been slaves. Valid for the speakers but not for the nation, which was redeemed from slavery in Egypt. The “Four Questions” of the Haggadah read on Pesach are answered by a passage that begins, “Avadim hayinu” (“We were slaves”). The speakers are avoiding Yeshua’s challenge by invoking extreme literalism.

35 Now, a slave does not remain with a family forever, but a son does remain with it forever. 36 So if the Son frees you, you will really be free! 37 I know you are the seed of Avraham. Yet you are out to kill me because what I am saying makes no headway in you. 38 I say what my Father has shown me; you do what your Father has told you!”   [2]

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 about who are the True Children of Avraham.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Yochanan 8:21–30.
[2] Yochanan 8:30–38.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 92

In Yerushalayim for Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) ~ Part 6

In our last post, we learned that Nakdimon (Nicodemus) Counsels Caution and about the Women Caught in Adultery. In this post, we will learn that Yeshua says, “I am the Light of the World.”

“I am the Light of the World”

We pick up where we left off in our last post with Yeshua still speaking on the last day of Sukkot, Hoshana Rabbah:

12 Yeshua spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life.”

I am the light of the world: whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life. Compare Isaiah 9:1(2), “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light,” and Malachi 4:2(3:20), “But to you who fear my name the sun of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings”; both are alluded to at Luke 1:78–79. All these texts have been understood as referring to Yeshua as the light or in connection with light.

13 So the P’rushim said to Him, “Now you’re testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.” 14 Yeshua answered them, “Even if I do testify on My own behalf, My testimony is indeed valid; because I know where I came from and where I’m going; but you do not know where I came from or where I’m going. 15 You judge by merely human standards. As for Me, I pass judgment on no one;

I pass judgment on no one. Not now, during His human life, during his first coming. In the future, He will judge everyone (Yochanan 5:22, 27–30).

16 but if I were indeed to pass judgment, My judgment would be valid; because it is not I alone who judge, but I and the One who sent Me. 17 And even in your Torah, it is written that the testimony of two people is valid.

Your Torah. Some, perhaps to cast suspicion on whether Yeshua considered Himself a Jew, suppose that with these words He distanced Himself from the Torah, that by calling it your Torah, He meant that it belonged to the Judeans or P’rushim but not to Him. But there is no such implication, for Yeshua, too, is part of the Jewish people to whom the Torah was given. Instead, the sense is that since the Torah is theirs, as they themselves have already claimed (v. 5), they should heed it. (Compare President John F. Kennedy’s famous inauguration address challenge, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Needless to say, Kennedy considered America his own country too.) The testimony of two people is valid. See Deuteronomy 17:15, 19:15.

18 I myself testify on My own behalf, and so does the Father who sent Me.” 19 They said to Him, “Where is this ‘father’ of yours?” Yeshua answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father too.” 20 He said these things when He was teaching in the Temple treasury room, yet no one arrested Him because His time had not yet come[1]

Yeshua is not using the texts referred to in the previous verse literally to prove, as He would if it were a court hearing, that He has two acceptable witnesses. He is using them midrashically: [2] He and His Father have independent wills (Yochanan 5:19) and are, therefore, “two” witnesses. Yeshua never speaks of Yosef as His Father in any of the Gospels; always, he speaks of God as his Father.

In our next post, we continue with our new series on Yeshua’s Journey to Yerushalayim for the Feast of Sukkot. In our next post, Yeshua Warns Against Unbelief and more.

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[1] Yochanan 8:12–20.
[2] Creating a commentary on the Hebrew Scriptures.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 91

In Yerushalayim for Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) ~ Part 5

In our last post, we learned about Spiritual Drinks and more. In this post, we will learn that Nakdimon (Nicodemus) Counsels Caution and about the Women Caught in Adultery.

Nakdimon (Nicodemus) Counsels Caution

45 The guards came back to the head cohanim and the P’rushim, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring Him in?” 46 The guards replied, “No one ever spoke the way this man speaks!” 47 “You mean you’ve been taken in as well?” the P’rushim retorted. 48 “Has any of the authorities trusted Him? Or any of the P’rushim? No! 49 True, these ‘am-ha’aretz (people of the land) do, but they know nothing about the Torah; they are under a curse!”

Has any of the authorities put their trust in him? Or any of the P’rushim? The questioners suppose a negative answer, but Nakdimon may have already trusted in Yeshua (see vv. 50–52); by 19:39, he indeed had. Have any modern-era Jewish authorities put their trust in Yeshua? Of course! There are multitudes of Messianic Jews in the world.

50 Nakdimon, the man who had gone to Yeshua before and was one of them, said to them, 51 “Our Torah doesn’t condemn a man – does it? – until after hearing from him and finding out what he’s doing.” 52 They replied, “You aren’t from the Galil too, are you? Study the Tanakh, and see for yourself that no prophet comes from the Galil!” [1]

Study the Tanakh and see for yourself that no prophet comes from the Galil! One need not study it deeply to find that the prophet Jonah came from Gat-Hefer in the Galil (2 Kings 14:25).

Nakdimon (Nicodemus) Counsels Caution

Most scholars believe that 7:53–8:11 is not from the pen of Yochanan. Many believe it is a true story about Yeshua written by another of his talmidim. I have chosen to include it as most of us are familiar with the story.

53 Then they all left each one to his own home. 8 But Yeshua went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak, He appeared again in the Temple Court, where all the people gathered around Him, and He sat down to teach them. The Torah teachers and the P’rushim brought in a woman who had been caught committing adultery and made her stand in the center of the group. Then they said to him, “Rabbi, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now, in our Torah, Moshe commanded that such a woman be stoned to death. What do you say about it?” They said this to trap Him so that they might have ground for bringing charges against Him, but Yeshua bent down and began writing in the dust with His finger. When they kept questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “The one of you who is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then He bent down and wrote in the dust again. On hearing this, they began to leave, one by one, the older ones first, until He was left alone, with the woman still there. 10 Standing up, Yeshua said to her, “Where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, sir.” Yeshua said, “Neither do I condemn you. Now go, and don’t sin anymore.” [2]

How many have wondered what Yeshua wrote in the dust? Leave a comment as to what you think it might have been.

Bruce Metzger, in A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, ad loc., writes that

“the account has all the earmarks of historical veracity. It is obviously a piece of oral tradition which circulated in certain parts of the Western church and which was subsequently incorporated into various manuscripts in various places.”

Namely, into Yochanan’s Gospel after 7:36, 7:44, or 7:52, and into Luke’s Gospel after 21:25 or 21:38. On the strength of its apparent “historical veracity” the JNT includes it here in its traditional location, with the asterisked note explaining that some scholars doubt whether it was initially part of this Gospel.

Then they all left, each one to his own home (7:53). If this remark is in chronological order, it seems to refer to the return of the pilgrims at the end of the Sukkot holiday to their homes in regions and countries distant from Jerusalem. At the same time, Yeshua went to the Mount of Olives (8:1) instead of going down to Nazareth. Perhaps he stayed in Bethany, on the flanks of the Mount of Olives, at the home of His friends Miryam, Marta, and El’azar (11:1–2) at least until Chanukkah (10:22) and probably until He left to go to the East Bank of the Jordan River (10:40). The interchange with the woman caught in adultery took place after daybreak (8:2) the next day, which was still Hoshana Rabbah (7:37&N) since Jewish days begin at sunset. Later the same day, He said, “I am the light of the world,” which relates to Hoshana Rabbah customs (8:12&N). [3]

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 says, “I am the Light of the World,” and more.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Yochanan 7:45–52.
[2] Yochanan 7:53–8:11.
[3] David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary.