The Red-Letter Words of Yeshua ~ Part 83

Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End ~ Part 5

In our last post, we examined Yeshua Heals A Demon-Possessed Boy. This post looks at several topics starting with Yeshua’s Death is Again Foretold.

Yeshua’s Death is Again Foretold

22 As they were going about together in the Galil, Yeshua said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of people 23 who will put him to death, and on the third day he will be raised.” And they were filled with sadness. [1]

Mattityahu’s first reference to Yeshua’s impending betrayal by Judas Iscariot. The talmidim are grieved but do not dispute this prediction, as Kefa did the first time.

Yeshua’s Death is Again Foretold

24 When they came to K’far-Nachum, the collectors of the half-shekel came to Kefa and said, “Doesn’t your rabbi pay the Temple tax?” 25 “Of course he does,” said Kefa. When he arrived home, Yeshua spoke first. “Shim’on, what’s your opinion? The kings of the earth – from whom do they collect duties and taxes? From their sons or from others?” 26 “From others,” he answered. “Then,” said Yeshua, The sons are exempt. 27 But to avoid offending them – go to the lake, throw out a line, and take the first fish you catch. Open its mouth, and you will find a shekel. Take it and give it to them for you and for me.” ~ Mattityahu 17:24-27.

A per-capita tax of one half-shekel to support the activities of the cohanim is specified in Exodus 30:11–16, 38:26. This was equivalent to one or two days’ wages for an average worker.

Unique to Mattityahu’s Gospel, this passage addresses whether Jewish followers of Yeshua’s day should continue to pay the Temple tax. This was particularly relevant to Mattityahu’s audience since they were most likely Jews. Yeshua’s response communicates the Temple’s continued sanctity and demonstrates the miraculous ways in which God provides for His people.

Who Is the Greatest?

33 They arrived at K’far-Nachum. When Yeshua was inside the house, He asked them, “What were you discussing as we were traveling?” 34 But they kept quiet; because on the way, they had been arguing with each other about who was the greatest.

The talimidim’s inability to comprehend Yeshua’s destiny, or perhaps its significance, matches their distorted understanding of their own futures.

35 He sat down, summoned the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.” [2]

Servant of all echoes the words of Isaiah 52:13–53:12, which Yeshua will fulfill. He demonstrates this principle by sacrificing His own life.

If one of you has a slave tending the sheep or plowing when he comes back from the field, will you say to him, ‘Come along now, sit down and eat’? No, you’ll say, ‘Get my supper ready, dress for work, and serve me until I have finished eating and drinking; after that, you may eat and drink.’ Does he thank the slave because he did what he was told to do? No! 10 It’s the same with you—when you have done everything you were told to do, you should be saying, ‘We’re just ordinary slaves, we have only done our duty.'” [3]

This passage’s final set of Yeshua’s sayings is unique to Luke’s Gospel.We’re just ordinary slaves” implies that His talmidim should comport themselves as humble slaves to God, in contrast to the self-aggrandizing P’rushim.

He called a child to Him, stood him among them, and said, “Yes! I tell you that unless you change and become like little children, you won’t even enter the Kingdom of Heaven! So the greatest in the Kingdom is whoever makes himself as humble as this child.” [4]

In our next post, we continue to examine Yeshua’s Preparation of the Emissaries for the End by looking at Yeshua’s Concern for the Young and other encounters.

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[1] Mattityahu 17:22–23 (see also Mark 9:30-32 & Luke 9:43b-45).
[2] Mark 9:33–35.
[3] Luke 17:7–10.
[4] Mattityahu 18:2–4.