The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 118

The Perean Ministry ~ Part 12

In our last post, we followed Yeshua as He left Yerushalayim to go to Perea. In this post, we continue to examine His Perean Ministry as He Continues to Teach in Parables.

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

In this parable, Yeshua depicts an Oriental judge who can be approached without the bureaucratic entanglements of the modern West, a man without conscience but with a human weakness that ultimately leads him to grant genuine justice despite himself. If a corrupt judge finally gives in to a widow’s pestering, how much more will God, who is altogether just, respond to His chosen people’s continual prayers (as opposed to the widow’s occasional visits), such as “Adonai, how long will you look on? Rescue me from their destructions, my only one from the lions” (Psalm 35:17), or, “O God, how long will the adversary insult? Will the enemy blaspheme your name forever?” (Psalm 74:10).

Then Yeshua told His talmidim a parable in order to impress on them that they must always keep praying and not lose heart.“In a certain town, there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected other people. There was also in that town a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me a judgment against the man who is trying to ruin me.’ For a long time, he refused; but after a while, he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God, and I don’t respect other people; but because this widow is such a nudnik, I will see to it that she gets justice—otherwise, she’ll keep coming and pestering me till she wears me out!’”

Because this widow is such a nudnik, literally, “because this widow causes me trouble, bothers me.” The Yiddish word nudnik means “someone who persistently bores, pesters, nags.” It captures precisely the particular kind of bothering and trouble the corrupt judge experiences.

Then the Lord commented, “Notice what this corrupt judge says. Now, won’t God grant justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Is he delaying long over them?

Is He delaying long over them? It would seem so – the words were spoken nearly two thousand years ago, and the final vindication is yet to come. But 2 Kefa 3:8–9 sets things in the proper perspective: God is not slack in His dealings with humanity in the sense that people understand the term “slackness,” for with Him “one day is like a thousand years” (quoting Psalm 90:4). And God’s motive for delaying? It is to bring people to repentance (Romans 2:4–6).

I tell you that he will judge in their favor and quickly! But when the Son of Man comes, will he find this trust on the earth at all?”  [1]

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Because those who reject the Gospel sometimes accuse evangelists of acting “holier-than-thou,” it is noteworthy that it was Isaiah who first used that phrase, referring to Isra’el in rebellion against God: “They say, ‘Keep your distance, don’t come near me, because I am holier than you.’” (Isaiah 65:5). Unfortunately, God’s people are susceptible to this most offensive of sins, against which both the Tanakh and Brit Hadashah severely warn, religious pride.

Also, to some who were relying on their own righteousness and looking down on everyone else, he told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Parush (a person of high social status)  and the other a tax-collector. 11 The Parush stood and prayed to himself, ‘O God! I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, immoral, or like this tax collector!

He prayed to himself and not to God, despite his addressing God. He wasn’t in contact with God at all but merely boasted and justified himself. Alternatively, he “prayed about himself.”

12 I fast twice a week, I pay tithes on my entire income, … ’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes toward heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God! Have mercy on me, sinner that I am!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home right with God rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but everyone who humbles himself will be exalted.”  [2]

I fast twice a week. There is no evidence that the P’rushim as a group fasted twice a week. However, they did fast “frequently” (Mattityahu 9:14). The Talmud speaks of one who “undertakes to fast every Monday and Thursday throughout the year” as not unusual but not the norm. Within the framework of trusting God, fasting was and is a normal part of a Believer’s life (Isaiah 58:1–12, Mattityahu 6:16–18, 9:14–17). I confess that I don’t fast as often as I probably should.

I pay tithes on my entire income. The requirement to pay ten percent of income is based on Leviticus 27:30–33 and Numbers 18:21–26. In general, tithing, all of one’s income, was regarded as beyond the call of duty. I suppose this Parush felt he was doing something special and unique for God, for which God owed him thanks and reward. Such a mentality is, of course, neither peculiar to P’rushim in particular nor un-Believers in general; on the contrary, some who consider themselves Believers seem to be especially susceptible to this sort of false pride.

The tax collector stated Sinner that I am, literally, “the sinner.” He experienced the depth of his own sin and was utterly remorseful and repentant; as a result, God forgave him (v. 14).

In our next post, we will conclude our journey of Yeshua Continues to Speak in Parables in Perea.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  Luke 18:1-8.
[2]  Luke 18:9–14.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 117

The Perean Ministry ~ Part 11

In our last post, we followed Yeshua as He left Yerushalayim to go to Perea. In this post, we continue to examine His Perean Ministry as He Continues to Teach in Parables.

The Coming of the Kingdom

20 The P’rushim asked Yeshua when the Kingdom of God would come. “The Kingdom of God,” he answered, “does not come with visible signs; 21 nor will people be able to say, ‘Look! Here it is!’ or, ‘Over there!’ Because, you see, the Kingdom of God is among you.”

The P’rushim of v. 20 expects a physical kingdom whose beginning can be dated with some precision. Yeshua replies by noting that He brings a spiritual kingdom, a spiritual rulership consisting of new relationships among Believers. But to His talmidim, He expands on the subject of the Kingdom and points to a day when He will indeed rule (v. 24; compare Mattityahu 24:30–31). The Kingdom of God is among you, or “within you,” referring to the inner change when people trust in God.

22 Then he said to his talmidim, “The time is coming when you will long to see even one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.

The Son of Man is a title used frequently by Yeshua about Himself, and it comes from Daniel 7:13–14, where it describes an enigmatic figure associated with an everlasting kingdom. Yeshua indicates that the talmidim will not see His return at the time when they desire it. This does not necessarily refer to a postponement of Yeshua’s return but is likely related to His statement about God’s Kingdom arriving in ways that cannot be observed (Luke 17:20).

23 People will say to you, ‘Look! Right here!’ or, ‘See! Over there!’ Don’t run off, don’t follow them, 24 because the Son of Man in his day will be like lightning that flashes and lights up the sky from one horizon to the other.

Yeshua’s coming will be sudden and apparent to everyone.

25 But first, he must endure horrible suffering and be rejected by this generation. 26 “Also, at the time of the Son of Man, it will be just as it was at the time of Noach. 27 People ate and drank, and men and women married, right up until the day Noach entered the ark; then the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise, as it was in the time of Lot—people ate and drank, bought and sold, planted and built; 29 but the day Lot left S’dom, fire, and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 That is how it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.

Throughout the passage, Yeshua compares His future return in glory to the divine judgment carried out in the days of Noach and Lot (vv. 26, 28). The Son of Man’s revealing will be characterized by the destruction of evil and the salvation of Believers – factors that associate Yeshua’s return with the Day of the Lord envisioned by the Tanakh prophets.

31 On that day, if someone is on the roof with his belongings in his house, he must not go down to take them away. Similarly, if someone is in the field, he must not turn back—32 remember Lot’s wife!

Recall Lot’s wife looked back toward Sodom and became a pillar of salt in Genesis 19:26.

33 Whoever aims at preserving his own life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will stay alive. 34 I tell you, on that night, there will be two people in one bed—one will be taken, and the other left behind. 35 There will be two women grinding grain together—one will be taken, and the other left behind.” 36 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. [1] 37 They asked him, “Where, Lord?” He answered, “Wherever there’s a dead body, that’s where the vultures gather.”  [2]

In our next post, Yeshua Continues to Speak in Parables in Perea.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  Not all manuscripts including the CJB do not have this verse.

[2]  Luke 17:20–37.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 116

The Perean Ministry ~ Part 10

In our last post, we followed Yeshua as He left Yerushalayim to go to Perea. In this post, we continue to examine His Perean Ministry as He Continues to Teach in Parables.

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Obviously, this Lazarus is not the brother of Mary and Martha. We will come to him in a few more posts.

19 “Once there was a rich man who used to dress in the most expensive clothing and spent his days in magnificent luxury. 20 At his gate had been laid a beggar named El’azar who was covered with sores. 21 He would have been glad to eat the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table, but instead, even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 In time, the beggar died and was carried away by the angels to Avraham’s side; the rich man also died and was buried.

Avraham’s side. A rare phrase in early Jewish writing, but not unknown. The talmid whom Yeshua loved reclined at His side at the Last Supper (Yochanan 13:23–25). A Jewish work dating from around the time of Yeshua says, “After this suffering of ours, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya‛akov will receive us, and all our ancestors will praise us” (4 Maccabees 13:17). Thus, being at Avraham’s side suggests being in Gan-Eden (Paradise) and being present at the Messianic banquet (Mattityahu 8:11, Revelation 19:7–9).

23 “In Sh’ol (the realm of the dead [Hades]), where he was in torment, the rich man looked up and saw Avraham far away with El‘azar at his side. 24 He called out, ‘Father Avraham, take pity on me, and send El‘azar just to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool my tongue because I’m in agony in this fire!’ 25 However, Avraham said, ‘Son, remember that when you were alive, you got the good things while he got the bad; but now he gets his consolation here, while you are the one in agony. 26 Yet that isn’t all: between you and us, a deep rift has been established so that those who would like to pass from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

A deep rift implies that no one can cross. Yeshua, like Daniel 12:2, teaches distinct fates after death for the wicked and the righteous. It indicates the permanence of the characters’ eternal destinies.

27 “He answered, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house, 2where I have five brothers, to warn them; so that they may be spared having to come to this place of torment too.’ 29 But Avraham said, ‘They have Moshe and the Prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 However, he said, ‘No, father Avraham, they need more. If someone from the dead goes to them, they’ll repent!’ 31 But he replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moshe and the Prophets, they won’t be convinced even if someone rises from the dead!’ ”  [1]

Moshe (the Torah) and the Prophets; the phrase means the entire Tanakh, which Yeshua says is sufficient to warn people to trust God. Later (Luke 24:25–27), Yeshua shows how the Tanakh points to Himself.

In our next post, Yeshua Continues to Speak in Parables in Perea.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  Luke 16:19–31.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 109

The Perean Ministry ~ Part 3

In our last post, we followed Yeshua as He left Yerushalayim to go to Perea. In this post, we continue to examine His Perean Ministry as He Heals on the Shabbat and Continues to Teach in Parables.

The Perean Ministry ~ Part 3

One Shabbat, Yeshua went to eat in the home of one of the leading P’rushim, and they were watching him closely. In front of him was a man whose body was swollen with fluid. Yeshua spoke up and asked the Torah experts and P’rushim, “Does the Torah allow healing on Shabbat or not?” But they said nothing. So, taking hold of him, He healed him and sent him away. To them He said, Which of you, if a son or an ox falls into a well, will hesitate to haul him out on Shabbat?” And to these things they could give no answer.  [1]

“Is healing permitted on Shabbat?” The answer to modern halakhah (rabbinic law) is threefold:

  1. On Shabbat, healing to save a life is not only permitted but a duty.
  2. Caring for the seriously ill (e.g., those with a high fever or pain affecting the whole body) is allowed within certain constraints.
  3. Treating minor ailments is prohibited by g’zerah (rabbinical decree) – the reason being that most treatments require grinding to prepare medicine, and grinding is a banned form of work.

However, since Yeshua did not use medicine and hence no grinding was done, a case could have been made – in the fluid halakhic environment of the first century – that no violation had taken place.  [2]

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

When Yeshua noticed how the guests were choosing for themselves the best seats at the table, He told them this parable: “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, don’t sit down in the best seat; because if there is someone more important than you who has been invited,

Proverbs 25:6–7 gives the same advice, some of it in the same language.

the person who invited both of you might come and say to you, ‘Give this man your place.’ Then you will be humiliated as you go to take the least important place. 10 Instead, when you are invited, go and sit in the least important place; so that when the one who invited you comes, he will say to you, ‘Go on up to a better seat.’ Then you will be honored in front of everyone sitting with you.

In contrast to the shame of having to move from the place of honor to a lower place, a guest who chooses a less distinguished seat will be honored when the host elevates them to a better position. Yeshua’s discussion has little to do with dinner etiquette. He is calling for His followers to show humility in every aspect of life – to put the needs of others first and act as a servant to all.

11 Because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but everyone who humbles himself will be exalted. [3]

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

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  Luke 14:1–6.
[2]  David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, Luke 6:9.
[3]  Luke 14:7–11.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 108

The Perean Ministry ~ Part 2

In our last post, we followed Yeshua as He left Yerushalayim to go to Perea. In this post, we continue to examine His Perean Ministry as He Laments Over Yerushalayim.

Yeshua Laments Over Yerushalayim

31 Just at that moment, some P’rushim came up and said to Yeshua, “Get out and go away from here because Herod wants to kill you!” 32 He said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Pay attention: today and tomorrow I am driving out demons and healing people, and on the third day I reach my goal.’ 33 Nevertheless, I must keep traveling today, tomorrow, and the next day; because it is unthinkable that a prophet should die anywhere but in Yerushalayim.

34 “Yerushalayim! Yerushalayim! You kill the prophets! You stone those who are sent to you! How often I wanted to gather your children, just as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but you refused! 35 Look! God is abandoning your house to you! I tell you; you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of Adonai!’”  [1]

Some interpreters believe these P’rushim were trying to frighten Yeshua into Judea so that the Sanhedrin could exercise control over Him. Compare the attempt of Amaziah, priest of the golden calf at Beit-El, to scare the prophet, Amos, out of Isra’el into Judea; he too failed (Amos 7:10–17). But such devious motivation need not have been present, for not all P’rushim wanted to do Him in; these may have thought enough of Him to warn Him. Some were “not far from the Kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34), and some came to faith in Yeshua and remained P’rushim (Acts 15:5), among them Sha’ul (Acts 23:6).

The threat of Herod Antipas (Mattityahu 14:1) was real. Although he wanted to see Yeshua perform a miracle (23:8), he regarded Him as a dangerous leader like Yochanan the Immerser (Mark 6:14–16), whom he had killed. Yeshua’s answer, like Sha’ul’s to Agav (Acts 21:13), is that negativism will not dissuade Him from following God’s plan.

To refute the theology developed later by the Church, which teaches that God is no longer interested in the Jewish people, Yeshua here gives the condition for the salvation of national Isra’el, as distinct from the salvation of individual Jews and Gentiles. In these verses, at the end of His ministry, He addresses the nation of Isra’el, speaking to its capital, Yerushalayim, and thus continues the Tanakh’s tradition of corporate salvation, which will come when Isra’el as a country blesses the Messiah, who comes in the name of Adonai. The fact that Yeshua will not return until Isra’el receives national salvation is a powerful motivator for evangelizing Jewish people; in fact, Jewish evangelism can hasten His coming.

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

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  Luke 13:31–35 (see also Mattityahu 23:37-39).

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 106

In Yerushalayim for Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication)

In our last post, we completed our topic in His Ministry from Galilee to Judea. In this post, Yeshua has gone to Yerushalayim for Hanukkah.

 Hanukkah is an annual festival celebrated on eight successive days, during which no eulogies are delivered, nor is fasting permitted. It begins on the 25th day of Kislev, the third month of the Jewish calendar, corresponding approximately to December in the Gregorian calendar. This year (2022), Hanukkah starts at sundown on December 19thHanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, and Feast of the Maccabees. The eight-day Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication) celebrates the rededication of the Jewish temple in December 164 BCE, after its desecration by the Seleucid ruler Antiochus Epiphanes IV in 167 BCE (1 Maccabees 1:59). If you have never read the Apocrypha, I would highly encourage you to read the background of this critical event Jewish history.

 22 Then came Hanukkah in Yerushalayim. It was winter 23 ,and Yeshua was walking around inside the Temple area in Shlomo’s Colonnade (The eastern part of the walkway surrounding the outer court of Herod’s Temple).24 So the Judeans surrounded him and said to him, “How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us publicly!” 25 Yeshua answered them, “I have already told you, and you don’t trust me. The works I do in my Father’s name testify on my behalf, 26 but the reason you don’t trust is that you are not included among my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, 28 and I give them eternal life. They will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands. 29 My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no one can snatch them from the Father’s hands. 30 I and the Father are one.”

I and the Father are one, the same One as in the Shema: “Adonai, our God, Adonai is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4). Yeshua’s self-assertion of His divinity is occasioned by His regard for His followers: “no one will snatch them from” Yeshua’s (v. 28) or the Father’s (v. 29) hands.Ani veha’av, echad anachnu (I and the Father are one); therefore, we who are in Yeshua’s care have complete assurance that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God which comes to us through the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord” (Romans 8:31–39).

31 Once again, the Judeans picked up rocks in order to stone him. 32 Yeshua answered them, “You have seen me do many good deeds that reflect the Father’s power; for which one of these deeds are you stoning me?” 33 The Judeans replied, “We are not stoning you for any good deed, but for blasphemy – because you, who are only a man, are making yourself out to be God [Hebrew: Elohim].”

The Judeans once again picked up stones to stone Him, as at Yochanan 8:59, and self-identified as God, which they understood as blasphemy.

 34 Yeshua answered them, “Isn’t it written in your Torah, ‘I have said, “You people are Elohim’”? 35 If he called ‘Elohim’ the people to whom the word of Elohim was addressed (and the Tanakh cannot be broken), 36 then are you telling the one whom the Father set apart as holy and sent into the world, ‘You are committing blasphemy,’ just because I said, ‘I am a son of Elohim’?

The reference to Yeshua being consecrated for His mission echoes the Tanakh language regarding those appointed to an office, such as Jeremiah (Jer. 1:5) or the Aaronic priests (Ex. 28:41; 40:13; Lev. 8:30).

37 “If I am not doing deeds that reflect my Father’s power, don’t trust me. 38 But if I am, then, even if you don’t trust me, trust the deeds; so that you may understand once and for all that the Father is united with me, and I am united with the Father.” 3One more time, they tried to arrest him, but he slipped out of their hands. [1]

In our next post, Yeshua Goes to the Perean Province.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Yochanan 10:22–39.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 105

Ministry from Galilee to Judea ~ Part 6

In our last post, we explored Yeshua’s Visit with Marta & Miryam and the Talimidim’s Prayer. In this post, we continue to learn more about Prayer as we complete our topic in His Ministry from Galilee to Judea.

Yeshua Continues to Teach More on Prayer

He also said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend; and you go to him in the middle of the night and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine who has been traveling has just arrived at my house, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ Now, the one inside may answer, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already shut, my children are with me in bed—I can’t get up to give you anything!’ But I tell you, even if he won’t get up because the man is his friend, yet because of the man’s hutzpah he will get up and give him as much as he needs.”

Yeshua employs a parable to instruct His talmidim to pray with persistence and with faith. I have nothing for him to eat. In Isra’el’s culture of hospitality, hosts were expected to feed their guests. My children are with me in bed. The image is of a single-room house or a dwelling where the sleeping quarters were confined to one room – usually on an elevated platform above the main floor. Meeting the friend’s request would cause the entire family to be disturbed. Chutzpah is a colorful Hebrew and Yiddish word that means “boldness, audacity, effrontery, insolence, gall, brazen nerve, presumption, arrogance, persistence and just plain ‘guts,’ ” in varying combinations, proportions and intensities.

“Moreover, I myself say to you: keep asking, and it will be given to you; keep seeking, and you will find; keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who goes on asking receives; and he who goes on seeking finds; and to him who continues knocking, the door will be opened. 11 “Is there any father here who, if his son asked him for a fish, would instead of a fish give him a snake? 12 or if he asked for an egg, would give him a scorpion? 13 So if you, even though you are bad, know how to give your children gifts that are good, how much more will the Father keep giving the Ruach HaKodesh from heaven to those who keep asking him![1]

Ephesians 5:18 commands Yeshua’s followers to “keep on being filled with the Spirit.” The Ruach HaKodesh first came upon believers after they had been praying persistently (Acts 1:4, 2:4) in response to Yeshua’s promise (this verse, 24:49, Acts 1:8). Those filled with the Ruach may expect to receive spiritual gifts (Romans 12:6–8, 1 Corinthians 12:28–30, Epeshians 4:11–12), display fruits of righteousness (Galatians 5:22–23), and have the desire, love, and power to communicate effectively the Good News of Yeshua by word and deed to those who have not yet believed it (the entire book of Acts centers on this theme). Moreover, “anyone who doesn’t have the Spirit of the Messiah doesn’t belong to Him” (Romans 8:9).

In our next post, Yeshua is in Yerushalayim for the Feast of Dedication (Hannukah).

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Luke 11:5–13.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~Part 104

Ministry from Galilee to Judea ~Part 5

In our last post, we explored the Parable of The Good Samaritan. In this post, we learn of Yeshuas Visit with Mary & Martha and How to Pray.

Also unique to Luke, this account introduces Martha and Mary, two of Yeshuas supporters and friends. The Gospel of John elaborates on Yeshuas friendship with these women and their brother, Lazarus.

Yeshua’s Visit with Mary & Martha

38 On their way, Yeshua and His talmidim came to a village (Bethany, about half a mile east of Jerusalem) where a woman named Marta welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Miryam who also sat at the Lord’s feet (a familiar posture of a learning talmid) and heard what He had to say. 40 But Marta was busy with all the work to be done; so, going up to Him, she said, “Sir, don’t you care that my sister has been leaving me to do all the work by myself?” 41 However, the Lord answered her, “Marta, Marta, you are fretting and worrying about so many things! 42 But there is only one thing that is essential. Miryam has chosen the right thing, and it won’t be taken away from her. 1

The double use of Martas name serves as a gentle rebuke. Only one thing that is essential. While the work Marta is doing is important, it is not the most crucial thing – Yeshua Himself is. Miryam has chosen to listen and learn as a disciple – spending time in Yeshua’s presence. It won’t be taken away from her. A relationship with Yeshua cannot be stolen from a person. Yeshua is pleased that Miryam is learning from Him and that her focus is on time with Him. Yeshua had made a similar point earlier about concerns that His talmidim did not fast – there, He noted that time celebrating with Him is the focus of His talmidim (Luke 5:34).

Yeshua Teaches Us How to Pray ~Part 1

Before we dig into this passage, I want to emphasize this is not the Lords Prayer. It is the Talimidim’s Prayer. He is teaching us how to pray! His prayer is in Yochanan 17!!!

1 One time, Yeshua was in a certain place praying. As He finished, one of the talmidim said to Him, “Sir, teach us to pray, just as Yochanan taught his talmidim.”

Teach us to pray. In today’s secular society, people often feel unable to pray and assume that the ability to pray is natural to some and lacking in others. But Yeshua’s talmidim, although they too felt inadequate in prayer, were on the right track in supposing that Yeshua could teach them how to pray. His teaching consisted of four parts:

  • What to pray for (vv. 2–4),
  • The importance of persistence (vv. 5–10),
  • The certainty of a positive answer because of God’s love and goodness (vv. 9–13), and
  • The ultimate gift, the Ruach HaKodesh, who is the source and power for all right prayer (v. 13b; see Ro 8:26–27).  2

2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:

May your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come.
3 Give us each day the food we need.
4 Forgive us our sins, for we too, forgive everyone who has wronged us. And do not lead us to hard testing.’”  3

Mattityahu’s version of the Talimidim’s Prayer speaks of forgiveness for debts; metaphorically, sin and debt are related – sin functions like a debt before God and others (Matt 6:12). Luke conveys this idea in the prayer’s following line.

Click here for the PDF version.

1 Luke 10:38–42.
2 David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary.
3 Luke 11:1–4.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 103

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 103

In our last post, we began our series on Ministry from Galilee to Judea. In this post, we explore the Parable of The Good Samaritan.

In this parable, an expert on the law tests Yeshua on how to inherit eternal life. Yeshua’s first answer speaks of loving God, while His second calls for loving people. After the lawyer questions Him further, Yeshua illustrates the heart of His ministry through the Parable of the Good Samaritan, which is unique to Luke’s Gospel.

Parable of The Good Samaritan

25 An expert in Torah stood up to try and trap Him by asking, “Rabbi, what should I do to obtain eternal life?”

An expert in Torah indicates someone who is trained in the law of Moshe; likely a P’rushim. To try and trap Him in argumentation for the purpose of discrediting Him. What should I do to obtain eternal life?

But Yeshua quickly turns the table on the expert.

26 But Yeshua said to him, “What is written in the Torah? How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your understanding; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 “That’s the right answer,” Yeshua said. “Do this, and you will have life.2But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Yeshua, “And who is my ‘neighbor’?”

Wanting to justify himself the expert seeks to support his claim to be righteous (perhaps only in his own mind) and presses Yeshua to define the term neighbor.” The expert’s question and his own answer in Luke 10:37 frame the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

30 Taking up the question, Yeshua said: A man was going down from Yerushalayim to Yericho when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him naked and beat him up, then went off, leaving him half dead.

The road from Yerushalayim and Jericho dropped roughly 3,500 feet over about 10 miles. Having been on that road, I am convinced that it is the Valley of Death that David writes in Psalm 23:4.

 31 By coincidence, a cohen was going down on that road; but when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levi who reached the place and saw him also passed by on the other side. 33 “But a man from Shomron (Samaritan) who was traveling came upon him; and when he saw him, he was moved with compassion.

There had been enmity for centuries between the Jews and the Samaritans so that Yeshua’s questioner would probably have subscribed to the prevailing low opinion of Samaritans among Jews and could be expected to think that if a cohen and a Levi refused the man aid, how much more would a mistrustful Samaritan also refuse him aid. Yeshua Himself had recently traveled through Shomron (Luke 9:51–53).

 34 So he went up to him, put oil and wine (considered medicine) on his wounds, and bandaged them. Then he set him on his own donkey, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day, he took out two days’ wages (literally two days’ wages), gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Look after him; and if you spend more than this, I’ll pay you back when I return.’ 36 Of these three, which one seems to you to have become the ‘neighbor’ of the man who fell among robbers?” 37 He answered, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Yeshua said to him, “You go and do as he did.” [1]

In our next post, we examine Yeshua Visits Mary and Martha and other topics.

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[1] Luke 10:29–37.

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.

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[1]  Some manuscripts say seventy-two.

[2]  2 Kings 4:29

[3]  Luke 10:1–20.