The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 158

Passion Week ~ The Upper Room ~ Part 7

In our last post, we continued to examine the final days of Yeshua’s life and ministry. This post continues to explore the events that may have occurred on Thursday Evening (now early on Friday in the Jewish culture).

Yeshua Predicts His Return

25 “I have told you these things while I am still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Ruach HaKodesh, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything; that is, He will remind you of everything I have said to you.

The Father will send the Holy Spirit in My[Yeshua’s] name. At Yochanan 15:26, we read, “I [Yeshua] will send you [the Holy Spirit] from the Father.” Whether the Ruach HaKodesh proceeds from the Father and the Son jointly or from the Father alone seems an issue somewhat removed from everyday life. Nevertheless, over this point of doctrine, the Greek Orthodox Church, headquartered in Constantinople, and the Roman Catholic Church, headquartered in Rome, finally split apart in the year 1054.

27 “What I am leaving with you is shalom – I am giving you my shalom. I don’t give the way the world gives. Don’t let yourselves be upset or frightened.

I am giving you my shalom, my peace. “If Yeshua is the Messiah, where is world peace?”

The question is often asked as if the implied negative answer proves Yeshua’s false claim to Messiahship. The swords have not yet been beaten into plowshares, and nations still learn war (Isaiah 2:4). The answer is that Yeshua is indeed fulfilling His promise, but not all at once. Peace does not come to those who refuse it, to those who, as it were, fight peace, but to those who gladly receive it. Within every believer is a shalom (which means not only “peace” but also “health, wholeness, integrity”) that comes from God Himself. It is not a self-satisfied false peace that ignores suffering but a compassionate peace that longs for God’s shalom to be present with everyone and motivates action to help bring it about. When the Messiah returns to rule with a staff of iron (Revelation 12:5, 19:15), He will compel cessation of hostilities between nations. Meanwhile, where is world peace? In the life of Believers, so that in Yeshua, blacks and whites, Israeli Jews and Palestinians, indeed members of any groups at enmity can experience Yeshua’s shalom in themselves and in each other. [1]

28 You heard me tell you, ‘I am leaving, and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would have been glad that I am going to the Father; because the Father is greater than I. 29 “Also, I have said it to you now, before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will trust. 30 “I won’t be talking with you much longer because the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me; 31 rather, this is happening so that the world may know that I love the Father and that I do as the Father has commanded me. [2]

The Father is greater than I. Yeshua here speaks of Himself in His limited capacity as a human being. For as the Word He had glory equal to the Father’s (Yochanan17:5), but as a human being He humbled Himself (Philippians 2:6–8) – there were times when He grew tired (Yochanan 4:6) and things He did not know (Mark 13:32). Yet in His essence, He and the Father are One (Yochanan 1:1–3, 5:23, 6:62, 10:30; 14:9).

Fulfillment of Prophecy

35 He said to them, “When I sent you out without wallet, pack, or shoes, were you ever short of anything?”“Not a thing,” they answered.36 “But now,” He said, if you have a wallet or a pack, take it; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your robe to buy one. 37 For I tell you this: the passage from the Tanakh that says, ‘He was counted with transgressors,’ has to be fulfilled in me; since what is happening to me has a purpose.” 38 They said, “Look, Lord, there are two swords right here!” “Enough!” he replied. [3]

To the Mount of Olives

30 After singing the Hallel, they went out to the Mount of Olives. [4]

Singing the Hallel. This translates to one Greek word, literally, “hymning.” But since this was the Seder, we know the hymn being sung must have been one of the Hallel (“praise”) Psalms recited at festivals, Psalms 113–118 or 136.

“Get up! Let’s get going! [5]

31 Yeshua then said to them, “Tonight you will all lose faith in me, as the Tanakh says, ‘I will strike the shepherd dead, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you into the Galil.” 33 “I will never lose faith in you,” Kefa answered, “even if everyone else does.” 34 Yeshua said to him,Yes! I tell you that tonight before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” 35 “Even if I must die with you,” Kefa replied, “I will never disown you!” And all the talmidim said the same thing. [6]

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

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary: A Companion Volume to the Jewish New Testament.
[2] Yochanan 14:25–31.
[3] Luke 22:35–38.
[4] Mattityahu 26:30.
[5] Yochanan 14:31.
[6] Mattityahu 26:31–35.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 157

Passion Week ~ The Upper Room ~ Part 6

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

Yeshua Promises the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit)

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commands; 16 and I will ask the Father, and He will give you another comforting Counselor like Me, the Spirit of Truth, to be with you forever.

Greek paraklêtos means “counselor, comforter, exhorter,” or “one called alongside.” There are two words in Greek for another – allos (“another of the same kind”) and eteros (“another, of a different kind”). Here the word is allos: a comforting counselor like Yeshua, namely, the Ruach HaKodesh.

17 The world cannot receive Him because it neither sees nor knows Him. You know Him because He is staying with you and will be united with you.

The Spirit of Truth, God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, … will be united with you. This is an amazing promise for a Jewish person to read because the Tanakh speaks of only a few persons as having the Holy Spirit “with” or “upon” them (among them Moshe and the seventy elders (Numbers 11:17–29), Gid’on (Judges 6:34), Yiftach (Jephthah in Judges 11:29), Shimshon (Judges 14:6), Sha’ul (1 Samuel 11:6), David (1 Samuel 16:13, Psalm 51:13(11)), and Sha’ul’s messengers (1 Samuel 19:20)), and even fewer as having the Holy Spirit “in” them Yosef (Genesis 41:38) and Betzal’el (Exodus 31:3).

18 I will not leave you orphans – I am coming to you. 19 In just a little while, the world will no longer see Me; but you will see Me. Because I live, you too will live.

When Yeshua says because I live, He is prophesying His appearances after His resurrection.

20 When that day comes, you will know that I am united with My Father, and you with Me, and I with you. 21 Whoever has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me, and the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to Him.”

Y’hudah Is Puzzled

22 Y’hudah (not the one from K’riot) said to Him, “What has happened, Lord, that you are about to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Yeshua answered him, “If someone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Someone who doesn’t love me doesn’t keep my words—and the word you are hearing is not my own but that of the Father who sent me. [1]

This Judas (not Iscariot) is probably “Judas the son of James,” mentioned in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13, not Judas, the half-brother of Yeshua (Mattityahu 13:55; Mark 6:3). Make Our home with him recalls God’s dwelling among His people in the Tabernacle (Ex 25:8; 29:45; Lev 26:11–12) and the Temple (1 Kings 8:10–11; Acts 7:46–47), and points forward to the time when the Ruach would come at Shavu’ot (Pentecost) (Acts 2).

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

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Yochanan 14:16–24.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 156

Passion Week ~ The Upper Room ~ Part 5

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

The Way to the Father

Yeshua reiterates to His talmidim that faith in Him alone will bring salvation. He uses another metaphorical “I am” statement – this time that He is the way, the truth, and the life.

“Don’t let yourselves be disturbed. Trust in God and trust in Me. In My Father’s house are many places to live. If there weren’t, I would have told you; because I am going there to prepare a place for you.

In My Father’s house refers to the heavenly abode, where God the Father sits enthroned (Isa 6:1–6). Yeshua had already declared God’s symbolic earthly dwelling, the Temple, to be insignificant in comparison to God’s work through His new Temple, Yeshua. This and Yeshua’s condemnation of the conduct of the earthly keepers of His Father’s house establishes Yeshua as a better, heavenly alternative (see Yochanan 2:16).

Since I am going and preparing a place for you, I will return to take you with Me; so that where I am, you may be also. Furthermore, you know where I’m going; and you know the way there.” T’oma said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you’re going, so how can we know the way?” Yeshua said, “I AM the Way – and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me. Because you have known Me, you will also know My Father; from now on, you do know Him – in fact, you have seen Him.”

Yeshua said,“I AM the Way – and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” This challenge strikes at the heart of non-Messianic Judaism’s denial of Yeshua as a Messianic mediator. Some try to ignore this challenge by denying its authenticity: either the Gospel of Yochanan is historically untrustworthy, or the words are not Yeshua’s but were placed in His mouth by early church theologians. This view, of course, denies the divine inspiration of the Brit Hadashah.

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it will be enough for us.” Yeshua replied to him, “Have I been with you so long without your knowing me, Philip? Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father. This apparently contradicts Yochanan 1:18 (“No one has ever seen God”) and Yochanan 5:17–30, focusing on the distinctions between the Father and the Son. The paradox is resolved by Colossians 2:9: “In Him,” Yeshua, “bodily, lives the fullness of all that God is.” The human mind is stretched beyond its limits in trying to cope with the idea that the Creator of the Universe and one of His creations, a human being named Yeshua, are to be identified with each other. The language of the Brit Hadashah, as it treats this issue, shows that God has great respect for our difficulty in apprehending this. The Brit Hadashah NEVER says directly, “Yeshua is God.” Nor does it say, “Yeshua is only a man and not God,” except in the mouths of His opponents. The Brit Hadashah adds insights in one place and another, “line on line, precept on precept, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:10, 13).

 10 Don’t you believe that I am united with the Father, and the Father united with Me? What I am telling you, I am not saying on My own initiative; the Father living in Me is doing His own works. 11 Trust Me that I am united with the Father, and the Father united with Me. But if you can’t, then trust because of the works themselves. 12 Yes, indeed! I tell you that whoever trusts in Me will also do the works I do! Indeed, he will do greater ones, because I am going to the Father. 13 In fact, whatever you ask for in My name, I will do; so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me for something in My name, I will do it. 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commands.  [1]

If you ask me for something in my name, I will do it. Elsewhere Yeshua instructs His followers to pray to the Father (Yn 16:23, Mt 6:9). But here, Yeshua has just taught that He is one with the Father, who is living in Him and doing His own works through Him (vv. 10–11; also 10:30, 17:21–23); we also know that Yeshua does just what the Father tells Him to do (5:17–30). So petitioning Yeshua is tantamount to petitioning the Father. Yeshua, the divine Son, is the divine agent of the Father, no less God than the Father, and therefore justifiably addressed in prayer. We are to make our requests in Yeshua’s name, that is, as His followers, on His authority. This is necessary because He alone is sinless (Romans 3:23); except for prayers of repentance, God does not obligate Himself to hear the prayers of sinners (Isaiah 59:1–2, quoted in Ro 3:23N). Finally, we know from 1 Yn 5:14 that to expect our prayers to be answered, the things we ask for must accord with God’s will.

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

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Yochanan14:1–15.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 153

Passion Week ~ The Upper Room ~ Part 2

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

Yeshua Washes the Talmidim Feet

1 It was just before the festival of Pesach, and Yeshua knew that the time had come for Him to pass from this world to the Father. Having loved His own people in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 They were at supper, and the Adversary had already put the desire to betray Him into the heart of Y’hudah Ben-Shim’on from K’riot. 3 Yeshua was aware that the Father had put everything in His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God. 4 So He rose from the table, removed His outer garments, and wrapped a towel around His waist. 5 Then He poured some water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the talmidim and wipe them off with the towel wrapped around Him.

He began to wash the feet of the talmidim. Foot washing was a courtesy shown to guests in a home, usually performed by a servant or the host’s wife when the guests entered the house or while they were reclining at the table (see Lk 7:44, Mk 1:7). Here, Yeshua acts out his teaching of Mark 10:43–44 that the greatest must be a servant.

6 He came to Shim’on Kefa, who said to Him, “Lord! You are washing my feet?” Yeshua answered him, “You don’t understand yet what I am doing, but in time you will understand.” 8 “No!” said Kefa, “You will never wash my feet!” Yeshua answered him, “If I don’t wash you, you have no share with me.” “Lord,” Shim’on Kefa replied, “not only my feet but my hands and head too!” 10 Yeshua said to him, “A man who has had a bath doesn’t need to wash except his feet—his body is already clean. And you people are clean, but not all of you.” 11 (He knew who was betraying Him; this is why He said, “Not all of you are clean.”)

Compare Exodus 30:20: “Aharon and his sons are to wash their hands and feet … when they come near the altar to minister …, so that they will not die.” The cohanim were already cleansed from impurities, but even so, they had to wash their hands and feet. Once sins of the past have been forgiven, we need not have them forgiven again; the initial confession and immersion that washes away past sin need not be repeated. But there is a continual need to repent of newly committed sins, make reparation for them and seek forgiveness for them. Compare these verses with the more explicit teaching at 1 Yochanan 1:5–2:2.

12 After He had washed their feet, taken back his clothes, and returned to the table, He said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me ‘Rabbi’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because I am. 14 Now if I, the Lord and Rabbi, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other’s feet. 15 For I have set you an example, so that you may do as I have done to you. 16 Yes, indeed! I tell you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is an emissary greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. [1]

A talmid is not above his rabbi but can become like his rabbi. This pattern was standard in both the first century and later Judaism.

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

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Yochanan 13:1-17

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 152

Passion Week ~ The Upper Room ~ Part 1

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


With the plot to kill Yeshua taking its final form and with the clamor for His life reaching a crescendo, an Upper Room in Yerushalayim becomes the calm before the storm. Here Yeshua and His talmidim withdraw to await participation in the Pesach meal. Recall from our last post that Kefa and Yochanan had been tasked with preparing the room on Wednesday afternoon. After sundown and before the meal, Yeshua expresses His love for His talmidim.

Importance of the Occasion

14 When the time came, Yeshua and the emissaries reclined at the table, 15 and He said to them, “I have really wanted so much to celebrate this Seder with you before I die! 16 For I tell you, it is certain that I will not celebrate it again until it is given its full meaning in the Kingdom of God.” 17 Then, taking a cup of wine, He made the b’rakhah (blessing) and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on, I will not drink the ‘fruit of the vine’ until the Kingdom of God comes.” 19 Also, taking a piece of matzah, He made the b’rakhah, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is being given for you; do this in memory of Me.” 20 He did the same with the cup after the meal, saying, “This cup is the New Covenant, ratified by My blood, which is being poured out for you.

Thankfully, we know from Jewish tradition that those blessings date back to the very first Seder. For the bread:

Ba-rooch ah-ta Adonai, Eh-lo-hay-noo meh-lehch ha-oh-lahm, ha-mo-tzee leh-chehm meen ha-ah-retz. "This is my body, which is for you. Do this as a memorial to me."

For the cup:

Ba-rooch ah-ta Adonai, Eh-lo-hay-noo meh-lehch ha-oh-lahm, bo-ray p'ree ha-ga-fen.

"This cup is the New Covenant effected by my blood; do this, as often as you drink it, as a memorial to me."

Personally, I still recite these blessings in Hebrew whenever I take Communion. The literal translation of both prayers is: Blessed are You, Adonai our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth, and Blessed are You, Adonai our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Yeshua Hints of His Betrayer & The Talmidim Get in a Dispute

21 “But look! The person who is betraying me is here at the table with me! 22 The Son of Man is going to his death according to God’s plan, but woe to that man by whom he is being betrayed!” 23 They began asking each other which of them could be about to do such a thing.

The Son of Man is going to his death according to God’s plan, literally, “as it has been determined.” See Mt 1:22 on the significance of prophecy fulfillment; Mt 26:24 lists not less than twenty Tanakh passages prophesying that the Messiah would suffer and die for the sins of humanity and be raised from the dead. His death establishes the New Covenant, which itself fulfills a Tanakh prophecy.

24 An argument arose among them as to which of them should be considered the greatest. 25 But Yeshua said to them,The kings of the Goyim lord it over them; and those in authority over them are given the title, ‘Benefactor.’ 26 But not so with you! On the contrary, let the greater among you become like, the younger and one who rules like one who serves. 27 For who is greater? The one reclining at the table? or the one who serves? It’s the one reclining at the table, isn’t it? But I Myself am among you like one who serves. 28 “You are the ones who have stayed with Me throughout My trials. 29 Just as My Father gave Me the right to rule, so I give you an appointment, 30 namely, to eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom and to sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Isra’el. [1]

Yeshua resolved the argument about which of them should be considered the greatest with two points. First, the Kingdom of God functions differently from worldly kingdoms; those who would be great must be not power-seekers but servants (vv. 25–27) like Yeshua Himself. Second, those who have been loyal (v. 28) will indeed be rewarded with power (vv. 29–30). Yeshua does not condemn ambition, only its worldly aims and methods.

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

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Luke 22:14–30.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 151

Passion Week ~ Wednesday (continued)

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

Yeshua Teaches At The Temple

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

Many Still Disbelieve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Are Afraid

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

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

Yeshua Makes His Final Appeal

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

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

Talmidim Make Preparations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for the PDF version.

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

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 150

Passion Week ~ Wednesday

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


The preceding events we have been following during Passion Week appear to be accounted for by the Gospel writers within the explicit context of either Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, just as presented in earlier posts – however, the exact timing of what happens after these events appear less specific. Yochanan, in particular, touches lightly upon events between Yeshua’s triumphant entry and the Last Supper. As there is no evidence of the events that follow on any of the prior three days, F. LaGard Smith puts them on Wednesday, thou that timeframe is only speculative.

The following is a direct quote from The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order. Mr. Smith writes:

Of far greater significance at this point is the chronology related to the Last Supper, Jesus’ crucifixion, and his subsequent resurrection. Traditionally the last Supper is believed to have occurred on Thursday evening, followed by the crucifixion on Friday afternoon and the resurrection on Sunday morning. However, such reckoning raises at least two questions. First, in an action-packed final week, what reason is there to believe that there would be a whole day of either actual inactivity or activity which is left unrecorded? Second, and far more important – if Jesus is crucified on Friday afternoon and, after that, hurriedly put into the tomb, how can there be sufficient time to match Jesus’ own prediction that he would remain in the tomb for three days and three nights before being resurrected? Even if one stretches imagination within the traditional time frame in order to find parts of three days, it is not possible to find three nights.

The resolution of both questions appears to be found in recognizing that the Last Supper took place on Wednesday evening, followed by the crucifixion and burial on Thursday. Acceptance of that assumption requires an understanding of the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the way in which the Jews reckon time. As for the reckoning of time, the Jewish day begins at sunset on the previous evening. This means, for example, that our Wednesday night is actually Thursday, and our Thursday night is actually Friday.

Passover is observed on the 14th day of the month of Nisan, corresponding to March-April. As noted earlier, Passover is observed in commemoration of the deliverance of the ancient Israelites from their Egyptian bondage. The name derives from the “passing over” of the Israelites when death came to the firstborn of each Egyptian family. As part of that same commemoration, Passover is followed by the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, which reminds the Jews of their forefathers’ flight from Egypt, during which time the Israelites ate unleavened bread only. (It is common among the Jews of Jesus’ day to refer to both celebrations by only one name, either as “Passover” or as the “Feast of Unleavened Bread.”) By God’s direction (Leviticus 23), a lamb is to be slaughtered late on the 14th day (Passover), and the Passover meal was eaten that evening, which would be the beginning of the 15th day, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The entire 15th day is then to be observed as a special Sabbath, or high holy day, regardless of the day of the week on which it might fall in any given year. (If the 15th day is a Friday, then both that Friday and the next day, Saturday, are observed as Sabbaths.)

With that background, the picture begins to become clear. Matthew, Mark, and Luke record the disciples’ preparation for the Passover on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. That would place their preparations, then, at the beginning of the 14th day, which, of course, begins on the evening of the 13th day. (Among the preparations common on the evening of the 13th day is the removal of all leaven from the house.) Therefore it appears that the disciples assume they are preparing the upper room primarily for the special paschal meal which they expect to share with Jesus the following evening, and they apparently do not contemplate that the regular meal on the first night will, in fact, be their “last supper” with Jesus.

Although generally referring to the occasion as a part of the Passover celebration, Jesus seems to explain why it is important for him to eat with them on the night before the actual Passover meal. As will be seen, Jesus’ words are: “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” In referring to his suffering, Jesus is obviously anticipating that his own sacrificial death will take place later that day, preventing him from participating in the actual Passover supper.

John’s account eliminates any doubt that this Supper occurred prior to the actual Passover meal. When Jesus tells Judas during the Supper to do what he is about to do, some of the other disciples “thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast.” Furthermore, the Jews who have obtained Jesus’ arrest will not enter Caiaphas’ palace for fear that they will be ceremonially unclean and, therefore, unable to eat the Passover. Most convincing is the fact that the day of Jesus’ crucifixion is plainly stated to be “the day of Preparation of Passover Week”—the day on which the Paschal Lamb is slain for the Passover meal taken during the evening of that day.

The most meaningful result of moving away from the traditional time frame is seeing how Jesus’ crucifixion becomes the perfect “type” of the Passover Lamb. Under Hebrew law, the paschal Lamb is chosen on the tenth day and then “kept up” until the 14th day, when it is sacrificed for the sins of the people. If Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem is counted as the tenth day, Thursday would be the 14th day, and thus the day on which Jesus is crucified. Far more important than this possible parallel is the fact that Jesus, as the perfect Lamb of God, does not celebrate the Passover with some other ordinary sacrificial lamb, but rather becomes himself the Lamb who is slain – precisely at the appropriate hour!

There is, therefore, strong evidence that the Last Supper takes place on the evening prior to the Day of Preparation, which by modern reckoning would be Wednesday night. Proceeding upon that assumption, the events associated with this final Wednesday include not only Jesus’ last public teaching but also the account of Peter and John finding the upper room and preparing for the Passover celebration.

(As you can see, I did not change his words like usual. Grammarly made many comments in his writing which I ignored.)

In our next, we continue to follow Yeshua into Yerushalayim for His Crucifixion by the end of the week and finally look at what probably occurred on Wednesday.

Click here for the PDF version.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 148

Passion Week ~ Tuesday (continued)

In our last post, we continued to examine the final days of Yeshua’s life and ministry. In this post, we explore some more of Yeshua’s parables mid-day with His talmidim. Yes, we are still on Tuesday, BUT…

Discourse on Future Events ~ Part 6

The Final Judgment

Yeshua’s final parable in Mattityahu looks ahead to a time of judgment. The scene He describes here seems to resume His earlier account of the Son of Man sending out the angels.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, accompanied by all the angels, He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be assembled before Him, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. 33 The ‘sheep’ He will place at His right hand and the ‘goats’ at His left.

As a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats… When shepherds brought in their flocks at the end of the day, they typically put the goats in a sheltered area while leaving the sheep in an open-air pen.

34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.

The King upon His throne recalls the prophecy of Daniel 7:13–14, in which the Ancient of Days bestows the Kingdom upon “one like a son of man.” Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you The Jewish worldview of Yeshua’s day envisioned the present age ending with a time of tribulation, followed by divine judgment. Then God’s Kingdom – the age to come – would be fully inaugurated. This plan also is reflected in the book of Revelation.

35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me food, I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger, and you made Me your guest, 36 I needed clothes, and you provided them, I was sick, and you took care of Me, I was in prison, and you visited Me.’

For I was hungry The actions described here (and in the next verse) reflect obedience to the command to love one’s neighbor and thereby demonstrate love for God.

37 Then the people who have done what God wants will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and make You our guest, or needing clothes and provide them? 39 When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’ 40 The King will say to them, ‘Yes! I tell you that whenever you did these things for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did them for Me!’

The least important of these… Yeshua’s remarks call for Believers’ care to reach the bottom of the social structure, thus inverting earthly values.

41 “Then He will also speak to those on His left, saying, ‘Get away from Me, you who are cursed! Go off into the fire (refers to the divine wrath) prepared for the Adversary and his angels! 42 For I was hungry, and you gave Me no food, thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink, 43 a stranger and you did not welcome Me, needing clothes and you did not give them to Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they too will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see Mou hungry, thirsty, a stranger, needing clothes, sick or in prison, and not take care of You?’ 45 And He will answer them, ‘Yes! I tell you that whenever you refused to do it for the least important of these people, you refused to do it for Me!’ 46 They will go off to eternal punishment, but those who have done what God wants will go to eternal life.” [1]

The punishment of the wicked dead is described throughout Scripture as “eternal fire” (v. 41). Here, Yeshua indicates that the punishment itself is everlasting – not merely the smoke and flames. The wicked are forever subject to the fury and the wrath of God. They consciously suffer shame and contempt and the assaults of an accusing conscience – along with the fiery wrath of an offended deity – for all of eternity. Even hell will acknowledge the perfect justice of God (Ps 76:10); those who are there will know that their punishment is just and that they alone are to blame (see Deuteronomy 32:3–5). [2]

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

Click here for the PDF version.

[1]  Mattityahu 25:31–46.
[2]  John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible.

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 145

Passion Week ~ Tuesday (continued)

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

Discourse on Future Events ~ Part 3

The Exact Times Are Unknown

Yeshua teaches His talmidim to be ready because no one knows precisely when the Parousia (Second Coming) will occur. They should live in expectation, always prepared for His return. That is still true today.

36 “But when that day and hour will come, no one knows – not the angels in heaven, not the Son, only the Father. [1] 3For the Son of Man’s coming will be just as it was in the days of Noach. 38 Back then, before the Flood, people went on eating and drinking, taking wives and becoming wives, right up till the day Noach entered the ark; 39 and they didn’t know what was happening until the Flood came and swept them all away. It will be just like that when the Son of Man comes. 40 Then there will be two men in a field – one will be taken, and the other left behind.

One will be taken, and the other left behind might describe the gathering of God’s people to Himself (Matt 24:31); if that is the case, there is no indication of what happens to the remaining people. The point of this parable is that Believers need to be vigilant for Yeshua’s return because it will be sudden and unexpected.

Yeshua uses the following parable to reiterate the need to be faithful.

41 There will be two women grinding flour at the mill—one will be taken, and the other left behind. 42 So stay alert because you don’t know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But you do know this: had the owner of the house known when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore, you too must always be ready, for the Son of Man will come when you are not expecting him.

Believers should not merely keep looking for the coming of the Son of Man. Instead, we should be completing the work of the Great Commission (Mattityahu 28:19–20) and being prepared and expectant because the time of Yeshua’s return is unknown.

Yeshua Urges Watchfulness

45 “Who is the faithful and sensible servant whose master puts him in charge of the household staff to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will go well with that servant if he is found doing his job when his master comes. 47 Yes, I tell you that he will put him in charge of all he owns. 48 But if that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is taking his time’; 49 and he starts beating up his fellow servants and spends his time eating and drinking with drunkards; 50 then his master will come on a day the servant does not expect, at a time he doesn’t know; 51 and he will cut him in two and put him with the hypocrites, where people will wail and grind their teeth!  [2]

People will wail and grind their teeth refers to great anguish – signaling that Yeshua means this type of person will experience God’s judgment upon His return.

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

Click here for PDF version.

[1] See Acts 1:7 & Zechariah 14:7.
[2] Mattityahu 24:36–51.​

The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 144

Passion Week ~ Tuesday (continued)

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

Discourse on Future Events ~ Part 2

Yeshua’s Response to the Talimidim’s Question

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Mattityahu 24:4–35.​

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