The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 74

Miracles and Multitudes ~ Part 7

In our last post, we continued the topic entitled Miracles and Multitudes. In this post, we conclude the topic of Miracles and Multitudes.

Defilement Contrasted

14 Then Yeshua called the people to him again and said, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand this! 15 There is nothing outside a person which, by going into him, can make him unclean. Rather, it is the things that come out of a person which makes a person unclean!” [1] 12 The talmidim came to him and said, “Do you know that the P’rushim were offended by what you said?” 13 He replied, “Every plant that my Father in heaven has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Let them be. They are blind guides. When a blind man guides another blind man, both will fall in a pit.” 15 Kefa said to Him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 So He said, “Don’t you understand even now? [2] Don’t you see that nothing going into a person from outside can make him unclean? 19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and it passes out into the latrine.” (Thus, He declared all foods ritually clean.)

This last parenthetical phrase has been highly controversial. David H. Stern opines:

Thus He declared all foods ritually clean, even if the participants at the meal had not washed their hands. But Yeshua did not, as many suppose, abolish the laws of kashrut and thus declare ham kosher! Since the beginning of the chapter, the subject has been ritual purity as taught by the Oral Torah concerning n’tilat-yadayim (ritual handwashing) and not kashrut at all! There is not the slightest hint anywhere that foods in this verse can be anything other than what the Bible allows Jews to eat: kosher foods. Neither is kashrut abolished in Acts 10:9–28 or Galatians 2:11–16.

Instead, Yeshua continues His discussion of spiritual prioritizing (Korban in v. 11). He teaches that tohar (purity) is not primarily ritual or physical but spiritual (vv. 14–23). On this ground, He does not entirely overrule the Pharisaic/rabbinic elaborations of the laws of purity, but He does demote them to subsidiary importance. Yeshua here is making Messianic halakhah (Oral Torah).

Declaring all foods clean. These words are not part of the quotation but are Mark’s interpretation of Yeshua’s statement. They link this story and the account of the Syrophoenician woman that follows (Mark 7:24–30).[3]

20 “It is what comes out of a person,” he went on, “that makes him unclean. 21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come forth wicked thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, arrogance, foolishness.… 23 All these wicked things come from within, and they make a person unclean.” [4]

After this, Yeshua traveled around in the Galil, intentionally avoiding Y’hudah because the Judeans were out to kill Him.[5]

In our next post, we will examine Yeshua’s Extensive Ministry Throughout the Galil.

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[1] Mark 7:14–15.

[2] Mattityahu 15:12–16.

[3] Faithlife Study Bible: Mark 7:19.

[4] Mark 7:18–23.

[5] Yochanan 7:1.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 73

Miracles and Multitudes ~ Part 6

In our last post, we continued the topic entitled Miracles and Multitudes. In this post, we begin to conclude the topic of Miracles and Multitudes.

Tradition Condemned

Then some P’rushim and Torah-teachers from Yerushalayim came to Yeshua and asked Him, “Why is it that your talmidim break the Tradition of the Elders? They don’t do n’tilat-yadayim (ritual hand washing) before they eat!” He answered, “Indeed, why do you break the command of God by your tradition?

The Tradition of the Elders. Interpretations of Scripture handed down from esteemed rabbis. They do not wash their hands. Priests were required to wash their hands and feet before performing their duties. The P’rushim made this a matter of ceremonial purity and applied it to all Israelites in their desire to meticulously avoid any possibility of becoming unclean. Yeshua makes a clear distinction between the Torah, the commandment of God, and the Pharisaic tradition, which consisted of merely human pronouncements.

For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ 5But you say, ‘If anyone says to his father or mother, “I have promised to give to God what I might have used to help you,” then he is rid of his duty to honor his father or mother.’ Thus, by your tradition, you make null and void the Word of God!

Give to God reflects a technical term for a formal vow (Korban, Mark 7:11). This allowed a person to be released from other responsibilities, such as caring for aging parents. The P’rushim have made the word of God void with their traditions and rulings: anyone who broke a vow (human law) to help needy parents (God’s law) would have committed a severe transgression, according to the P’rushim.

 You hypocrites! Yesha’yahu was right when he prophesied about you,

‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far away from me.
9 Their worship of me is useless

because they teach man-made rules as if they were doctrines.’ ~ Mattityahu 15:1-9.

“You depart from God’s command and hold onto human tradition. Indeed,” He said to them, “you have made a fine art of departing from God’s command in order to keep your tradition! 10 For Moshe said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ 11 But you say, ‘If someone says to his father or mother, “I have promised as a Korban” ’ ” (that is, as a gift to God) “ ‘ “what I might have used to help you,” ’ 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. 13 Thus, with your tradition which you had handed down to you, you nullify the Word of God! And you do other things like this.” ~ Mark 7:8-13.

In our next post, we will finish examining the Miracles and Multitudes series beginning in Mattityahu 15:20 & Mark 7:14-23.

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The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 72

Miracles and Multitudes ~ Part 5

In our last post, we continued our new topic entitled Miracles and Multitudes. This post as we look at more Miracles and Multitudes.

Discourse On The Bread of Life ~ Part 4

We pick up where we left off last time, beginning with Yochanan 6:51. Here the Judeans question eating Yeshua’s flesh.

Yeshua’s teaching in this section repeats and reinforces the themes laid out in our last post. Belief in Yeshua leads to eternal life. He repeats the metaphor that He is the bread of life and heightens the contrast between the manna that provided only physical nourishment and the bread from heaven that provides eternal life. His teaching is interrupted again by the misunderstanding of the audience and their willful rejection of a spiritual concept they cannot understand.

51 “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on Me, he also will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as He taught at Capernaum.

I, for one, am delighted I grew up in the Episcopal Church. I was taught early on that His flesh and His blood are metaphorical. The Lord provides us with the Word of God and the Cup of Salvation. The symbolism of Holy Communion is still very deeply embedded in me.

The bread that I will give is my own flesh, and I give it for the life of the world …. Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life in you (vv. 51, 53). Because of what Yeshua said here, the grumbling (v. 42) quickly became disputing (v. 52), then a hard saying they couldn’t bear to listen to (v. 60), and finally an insuperable barrier for many of His talmidim (not merely His casual hearers), who turned back and no longer traveled around with Him (v. 66).

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in Himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

The most literal sense of the text implies cannibalism, which, were it what Yeshua meant, would undoubtedly be an insuperable barrier to faith in Him. But even a high view of the inspiration of the Bible does not require the elimination of metaphorical and symbolic language. Although Yeshua’s particular hearers may have been either shocked at what He said or seeking an excuse for not obeying his call to repentance and loyalty, not every Jewish audience would have reacted that way.

 66 From this time on, many of His talmidim turned back and no longer traveled around with Him.

Yeshua succeeded in winnowing out those who were not sincere or who found the cost of eating His flesh and drinking His blood too high.

67 So Yeshua said to the Twelve, Don’t you want to leave too?” 68 Shim‘on Kefa answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the word of eternal life. 69 We have trusted, and we know that You are the Holy One of God.” 70 Yeshua answered them, “Didn’t I choose you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is an adversary.” 71 (He was speaking of Y’hudah Ben-Shim’on, from K’riot; for this man – one of the Twelve! – was soon to betray Him.)  ~ Yochanan 6:51-71.

In our next post, we will continue examining the Miracles and Multitudes series beginning in Mattitayhu 15:1-9.

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The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 70

Miracles and Multitudes ~ Part 4

In our last post, we began a new topic entitled Miracles and Multitudes. This post as we look at more Miracles and Multitudes.

Discourse On The Bread of Life ~ Part 1

We pick up where we left off last time, beginning again with Yochanan 6:24.

24 Accordingly, when the crowd saw that neither Yeshua nor His talmidim were there, they themselves boarded the boats and made for K’far-Nachum in search of Yeshua. 25 When they found Him on the other side of the lake, they asked Him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 26 Yeshua answered, “Yes, indeed! I tell you, you’re not looking for Me because you saw miraculous signs, but because you ate the bread and had all you wanted! 27 Don’t work for the food which passes away but for the food that stays on into eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For this is the one on whom God the Father has put His seal.”

Beginning with verse 26 and continuing through 71 (which we will be reviewing over the next several posts), the crowd’s attitude generates Yeshua’s lengthy discourse. Miraculous signs should awaken the consciousness of God, but these people are conscious only of their own physical needs. The food which passes away and the food that stays on into eternal life are opposites and constitute the theme of Yeshua’s remarks.

28 So they said to him, “What should we do in order to perform the works of God?” 29 Yeshua answered,Here’s what the work of God is: to trust in the one he sent!”

What should we do in order to perform the works of God? The people are probably not asking how to do miracles but how to please God. Nevertheless, Yeshua’s answer surprises them.

30 They said to Him, “Nu (then), what miracle will you do for us, so that we may see it and trust you? What work can you perform? 31 Our fathers ate man in the desert – as it says in the Tanakh, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’32 Yeshua said to them, “Yes, indeed! I tell you, it wasn’t Moshe who gave you the bread from heaven. But my Father is giving you the genuine bread from heaven;

What miracle will you do? A strange question for people who have just seen Him do one (vv. 10–14). But they seem set on diminishing its importance by presenting one equally great or greater: Our fathers ate manna in the desert; (see Exodus 16:4, 15; Numbers 11:8; Psalm 105:40). Yeshua corrects His questioners’ explanation of the Tanakh – they think he refers to Moshe, but Yeshua says its antecedent is my Father, God.

33 for God’s bread is the one who comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to Him, “Sir, give us this bread from now on.” 35 Yeshua answered, “I am the bread which is life! Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever trusts in Me will never be thirsty. 36 I told you that you have seen but still don’t trust.

You have seen but still don’t trust. Their sin is all the more significant for this refusal to trust Yeshua.

37 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me, I will certainly not turn away.

Everyone the Father gives me will come to me … whoever comes to me, I will certainly not turn away. This is as forthright a statement of the paradox of predestination and free will as can be found. The Father has given certain people to Yeshua. How do I find out if I am one of them? By coming to Yeshua, I have free will and can choose to come, and I have Yeshua’s word that He will not turn me away. Some claim that the Brit Hadashah faith is exclusivist, but we see that Yeshua is available universally (see Romans 10:11–13).

38 For I have come down from heaven to do not my own will but the will of the one who sent me. 39 And this is the will of the one who sent Me: that I should not lose any of all those He has given Me but should raise them up on the Last Day. 40 Yes, this is the will of My Father: that all who see the Son and trust in him should have eternal life, and that I should raise them up on the Last Day.” 1

In our next post, we will continue examining the Miracles and Multitudes series beginning in Yochanan 6:25.

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1 Yochanan 6:25–40.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 69

Miracles and Multitudes ~ Part 3

In our last post, we began a new topic entitled Miracles and Multitudes. This post as we look at more Miracles and Multitudes.

Yeshua and Kefa Walk on Water

16 When evening came, His talmidim went down to the lake, 17 got into a boat and set out across the lake toward K’far-Nachum. By now, it was dark, Yeshua had not yet joined them, 18, and the sea was getting rough. [1] 48 He saw that they were having difficulty rowing because the wind was against them; so at around four o’clock in the morning, He came toward them, walking on the lake! [2] Because a strong wind was blowing. 19 They had rowed three or four miles when they saw Yeshua approaching the boat, walking on the lake! He meant to come alongside them; [3] 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought it was a ghost and let out a shriek; 50 for they had all seen him and were terrified. However, He spoke to them. “Courage,” He said, it is I. Stop being afraid!” [4]

28 Then Kefa called to him, “Lord if it is really you, tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come!” he said. So Kefa got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Yeshua. 30 But when he saw the wind, he became afraid, and as he began to sink, he yelled, “Lord! Save me!” 31 Yeshua immediately stretched out His hand, took hold of him, and said to him, “Such little trust! Why did you doubt?”

Such little trust Kefa has, even though a moment before he had much (v. 29). Trust is only present tense; it does not build up like a bank account. Yeshua’s rebuke restored it: he walked back to the boat (v. 32). From this, we learn the value of well-founded rebuke to the spiritually sensitive, that is, people open to correction.

32 As they went up into the boat, the wind ceased. [5] 51 He got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves; on the contrary, their hearts had been made stonelike. [6] 33 The men in the boat fell down before Him and exclaimed, “You really are God’s son!” [7]

22 The next day, the crowd which had stayed on the other side of the lake noticed that there had been only one boat there and that Yeshua had not entered the boat with His talmidim but that the talmidim had been alone when they sailed off. 23 Then, other boats from Tiberias came ashore near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had made the b’rakhah. 24 Accordingly, when the crowd saw that neither Yeshua nor His talmidim were there, they themselves boarded the boats and made for K’far-Nachum in search of Yeshua.[8]

In our next post, we will continue examining the Miracles and Multitudes series beginning in Yochanan 6:25.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] John 6:17b-18a.

[2] Mark 6:48.

[3] John 6:18b-19.

[4] Mark 6:49-50.

[5] Matthew 14:28-32.

[6] Mark 6:51–52.

[7] Matthew 14:33.

[8] Yochanan 6:22–24.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 65

Yeshua Sends Out His Emissaries ~ Part 5

In our last post, we continued to examine the topic of Yeshua Sends Out His Emissaries. In this post, we learned that Yeshua Instructs the Talmidim about Rewards.

Rewards

40 “Whoever receives you is receiving me, and whoever receives me is receiving the One who sent me.

“Whoever receives you is receiving me… Welcoming Yeshua’s messengers is tantamount to welcoming Yeshua Himself since they bear His message and authority (see Matt 10:11–14). Receives the One who sent me… Receiving Yeshua amounts to receiving the Father.

41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive the reward a prophet gets, and anyone who receives a tzaddik because he is a tzaddik will receive the reward a tzaddik gets. 42 Indeed, if someone gives just a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my talmid – yes! – I tell you, he will certainly not lose his reward!”  ~ Mattityahu 10:40-42.

One of these little ones likely indicates a low social status as we see Yeshua ministering to them throughout the Gospels.

The Emissaries In Action

[1] 1After Yeshua had finished instructing the twelve talmidim; He went on from there to teach and preach in the towns nearby. [2] 6 They set out and went through village after village, healing and announcing the Good News everywhere.

Herod is Curious About Yeshua

[3] 14 Meanwhile, King Herod heard about this, for Yeshua’s reputation had spread. Some were saying, “Yochanan the Immerser has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him.” 15 Others said, “It is Eliyahu!” and still others, “He is a prophet, like one of the old prophets.” 16 But when Herod heard about it, he said, “Yochanan, whom I had beheaded, has been raised.” [4] Herod, the governor, heard about all that was going on and was perplexed because it was said by some that Yochanan had been raised from the dead, by others that Eliyahu had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. Herod said, “I had Yochanan beheaded, so who is this about whom I keep hearing such things?” And he began trying to see Him. (Yes, the last two sections did not contain any Red-Letter Words, but I thought they were essential to the story.)

Mark hasn’t yet mentioned Yochanan’s death; it is reported in Mark 6:17–29. Herod’s fear suggests that he saw a link between Yochanan and Yeshua and perceived both as political threats. It is Eliyahu! 2 Kings 2:11 records that the prophet Eliyahu did not die but was taken up into heaven alive. As a result of this and Malachi’s prophecy, many Jews believed he would return someday (Mal 4:5–6; compare Mark 9:11; 15:35–36). Herod was anxious to learn about the identity of Yeshua.

In our next post, we will conclude our series on He Sends Out His Emissaries, beginning in Luke 9:10.

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[1] Mattityahu 11:1.
[2] Luke 9:6 (see also Mark 6:12-13).
[3] Mark 6:14-16
[4] Luke 9:7-9.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 64

Yeshua Sends Out His Emissaries ~ Part 4

In our last post, we continued to examine the topic of Yeshua Sends Out His Emissaries. In this post, we learned that Yeshua discusses conflict and sacrifices.

Conflict and Sacrifices

34 “Don’t suppose that I have come to bring peace to the Land. It is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword!

Yeshua’s message inherently brings conflict. The context may indicate persecution and martyrdom, but interpersonal discord also results. A crude and foolish criticism of the Brit Hadashah based on this verse is that Yeshua advocates family strife. Yeshua’s purpose is, of course, not to create contentiousness but end it. Yet He knows that tension may result when some family members trust Him while others do not.

35 For I have come to set

36 a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law,
so that a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. [1]

37 Whoever loves his father or mother more than he loves Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than he loves Me is not worthy of Me.

Devotion to the family should not supersede allegiance to Yeshua. Yeshua asked for unqualified allegiance, something even the most esteemed rabbi did not demand. The central point of Matt. 10:34–37 is that the love of God and His Kingdom must take precedence over every other human relationship.

38 And anyone who does not take up his execution-stake and follow Me is not worthy of Me. 39 Whoever finds his own life will lose it, but the person who loses his life for My sake will find it.~ Mattityahu 10:34-39

Execution-stake, Greek stavros, usually translated as “cross.” It was a vertical wooden stake with a crossbar, usually shaped more like a “T” than the Christian symbol, used by the Romans to execute criminals who were not Roman citizens (Roman citizens sentenced to death were given a less painful way to die). It was not a normal Jewish means of execution. Halakhah [2] specified four methods of execution—stoning, burning, beheading, and strangling – but not hanging or being suspended from a cross (see Galatians 3:13 & 1 Kefa 2:24).

In our next post, we will continue to examine He Sends Out His Emissaries beginning in Mattityahu 10:40.

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[1] Micah 7:6

[2] A Jewish legal ruling concerning the application of the Torah to various daily aspects of human conduct. Yeshua and the Brit Hadashah writers lived in a period of intense halakic discourse and debate.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 63

Yeshua Sends Out His Emissaries ~ Part 3

In our last post, we continued to examine the topic of Yeshua Sends Out His Emissaries. In this post, we learned that Yeshua Warns Them.

Yeshua Warns His Emissaries

Yeshua Himself will face persecution; so too will His talmidim. Here, He warns them of their fate and assures them that the Ruach will give them the appropriate words in times of trial.

16 “Pay attention! I am sending you out like sheep among wolves, so be as prudent as snakes and as harmless as doves. (In the biblical world, serpents were associated with wisdom and cleverness.)

 17 Be on guard, for there will be people who will hand you over to the local Sanhedrins and flog you in their synagogues. 18 On My account, you will be brought before governors and kings as a testimony to them and to the Goyim.

Compare verse 18 with Psalm 119:46, “I will also speak of your testimonies before kings, and I will not be put to shame.”

19 But when they bring you to trial, do not worry about what to say or how to say it; when the time comes, you will be given what you should say. 20 For it will not be just you speaking, but the Ruach of your heavenly Father speaking through you.

Yeshua promises that the Ruach will give them the appropriate words to speak. Mattityahu has mentioned the Ruach in connection with Yeshua’s ministry (Matt. 1:18, 20; 3:11, 16; 4:1), and here the Ruach is extended to the ministry of the talmidim.

21 “A brother will betray his brother to death, and a father his child; children will turn against their parents and have them put to death. 22 Everyone will hate you because of me, but whoever holds out till the end will be preserved from harm (will be saved). 23 When you are persecuted in one town, run away to another. Yes indeed, I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Isra’el before the Son of Man comes.

Before the Son of Man comes. There are at least five plausible options for understanding this reference:

  1. Yeshua’s coming to His talmidim upon their return from this mission (vv. 6–15);
  2. Yeshua’s resurrection,
  3. The coming of the Ruach at Shavuot (Pentecost),
  4. The destruction of Yerushalayim in 70CE, and
  5. The second coming of Yeshua at the end of the age.

The overall passage is difficult to interpret, but it looks ahead to final judgment. Yeshua probably means that, at His second coming, there will still be people left in the towns of Isra’el who have not accepted Him.[1]

24 “A talmid is not greater than his rabbi; a slave is not greater than his master. 25 It is enough for a talmid that he becomes like his rabbi and a slave like his master. Now, if people have called the head of the house Ba’al-Zibbul (Beelzebul), how much more will they malign the members of his household! 26 So do not fear them; for there is nothing covered that will not be uncovered or hidden that will not be known.

Despite the hardships they will face, Yeshua commands the talmidim not to fear; instead, they should be bold witnesses to Yeshua’s message and faithfully carry out their tasks.

27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim on the housetops.

The housetops were flat roofs where people gathered when the weather was pleasant. Since houses were close together, people could shout from their housetops and proclaim to an impromptu audience.

28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are powerless to kill the soul. Rather, fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in Gei-Hinnom.

People should have a healthy fear of God – treating Him with reverence.

 29 Aren’t sparrows sold for next to nothing, two for an assarion? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s consent. 30 As for you, every hair on your head has been counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

If God watches over sparrows, He indeed cares for His people. Yeshua uses a lesser-to-greater argument (common in Rabbinic teaching) to assure His talmidim of their value to God.

32 “Whoever acknowledges me in the presence of others, I will also acknowledge in the presence of my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.~ Mattityahu 10:16-33

In our next post, we will continue to examine He Sends Out His Emissaries in Mattityahu 10:34.

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[1] John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 62

Yeshua Sends Out His Emissaries ~ Part 2

In our last post, we began to examine the topic of Yeshua Sends Out His Emissaries. In this post, we learned that Yeshua Instructed Them.

Yeshua Instructs His Emissaries

These twelve Yeshua sent out with the following instructions: “Don’t go into the territory of the Goyim (Gentiles) and don’t enter any town in Shomron (Samaria)

Yeshua first extends His announcement of the Kingdom of Heaven to the Jews, who were eagerly awaiting its arrival. Their eventual rejection of Yeshua leads to the Gentile mission, which receives its most explicit expression in the ministry of the Emissary Sha’ul. The people of Shomron were of mixed Israelite and foreign descent who lived in the region of the northern kingdom of Isra’el before the Assyrian and Babylonian exile.

but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Isra’el. As you go, proclaim, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is near,’

Lost sheep commonly served as a metaphor for a hopeless and leaderless people. The emissaries were to preach the same message that Yeshua preached and that Yochanan the Immerser preached before Him.

heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those afflicted with tzara’at (leprosy) and expel demons. You have received without paying, so give without asking for payment.

The tasks listed here authenticate the emissary’s message. These actions also show the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven. Yeshua calls on the talmidim to share the blessings of the kingdom of heaven with no expectation of being compensated.

 Don’t take money in your belts, no gold, no silver, no copper; 10 and for the trip, don’t take a pack, an extra shirt, shoes, or a walking stick – a worker should be given what he needs.

The talmidim were to go without money or supplies. Their needs would be met through God’s provision.

The phrase a worker should be given what he needs sums up biblical principles regarding both priests and laborers (Lev 19:13; Num 18:31; Deut. 24:15; 25:4; 1 Cor 9:9; 1 Tim 5:18). The ultimate provision for ministry is the power of God, not our resources.

11 “When you come to a town or village, look for someone trustworthy and stay with him until you leave. 12 When you enter someone’s household, say, ‘Shalom aleikhem!’ (Peace be upon you) 13 If the home deserves it, let your shalom rest on it; if not, let your shalom return to you. 14 But if the people of a house or town will not welcome you or listen to you, leave it, and shake its dust from your feet! 

Shake its dust from your feet is a symbolic act of renunciation and indicates a severed relationship.

15 Yes, I tell you, it will be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the people of S’dom and ‘Amora than for that town!  ~ Mattityahu 10:5-15

In our next post, we will continue to examine He Sends Out His Emissaries in Mattityahu 10:16.

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The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 61

Yeshua Sends Out His Emissaries ~ Part 1

In our last post, we paused Yeshua’s Healing Ministry. This post begins to examine the topic of Yeshua Sends Out His Emissaries.

After His second rejection in His hometown of Nazareth, Yeshua gains renewed encouragement as He is met by crowds in other parts of the Galil. Keenly aware of their need for spiritual guidance, Yeshua calls on all those willing to work among the multitudes for His Kingdom. Then, the time is appropriate for sending out the twelve Emissaries in pairs of two on a special mission of teaching and performing miracles with the power He gives them.

The Harvest Is Plentiful, the Laborers Few

These final verses summarize Yeshua’s ministry. They also set up the next chapter, in which Yeshua sends out His talmidim.

35 Yeshua went about all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and weakness. 36 When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them because they were harried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His talmidim, “The harvest is rich, but the workers are few. 38 Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers to gather in his harvest.” ~ Matityahu 9:35-38

The lack of leadership intensified Yeshua’s compassion for the people to help them (compare Yochanan 10:1–18; Ezekiel 34). Without a shepherd, sheep are prone to wander and vulnerable to danger.

The Twelve Emissaries

Mattityahu Chapter 9 ends with the need for laborers for God’s harvest; Chapter 10 begins with Yeshua commissioning His talmidim (compare Mark 6:7–13; Luke 9:1–6). Mattityahu records the names of Yeshua’s 12 primary talmidim and His instructions for spreading the message of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Yeshua called His twelve talmidim and gave them authority to drive out unclean spirits and to heal every kind of disease and weakness. These are the names of the twelve emissaries:

First, Shim’on called Kefa, and Andrew, his brother,
Ya’akov Ben-Zavdai and Yochanan, his brother,
Philip and Bar-Talmai,
T’oma and Mattityahu, the tax collector,
Ya’akov Bar-Halfai and Taddai,
Shim’on the Zealot, and Y’hudah from K’riot, who betrayed him.
Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, his brother;
James, the son of Zebedee, and John, his brother;
Philip and Bartholomew;
Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector;
James, the son of Alphaeus and Thaddaeus;
Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. ~ Mattityahu 10:1-4

So far, Mattityahu has described the calling of only five talmidim (Matt. 4:18–22; 9:9). Yeshua had many followers, but these were His leaders – those whom He commissioned to build His Kehillah. Unclean spirits refer to evil spirits or demons. According to Jewish purity laws, people inhabited by such spirits were unclean.

In our next post, we will continue to examine He Sends Out His Emissaries in Mattityahu 10:5.

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