I pray that you are blessed and encouraged in your walk with Christ as you work through these lessons and read the insightful comments made by other ministers doing the course. That your love for Christ Jesus will deepen and your commitment strengthen. That your faith will prove genuine and endure to the end with joy unspeakable and full of glory, as we receive the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls.
Each lesson is linked below, to make it easier to work through the whole course…
This course is focused on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, Yeshua HaMashiach. We begin by developing an understanding of the world He was born into, and how it had been shaped in preparation for His coming – looking at the developments in Judaism from the Babylonian exile until the rule of Rome, and how the fulfilment of Daniel’s prophesies elicited strong expectations of Messiah’s coming.
In SECTION 2 we take an in-depth look at Jesus’ life in the context of this culture which we have seen develop in the centuries leading up to His birth. As language is an essential part of culture, names in this course are often written in their original Hebrew (along with the English translations that most of us are more familiar with).
Please read Matthew 23:36 – 24:31, Mark 13:1-27 & Luke 21:5 – 28
13th Nissan – Two days before Pesach (Passover)
The new Jewish day began in the evening, as Yeshua and His talmidim departed from the temple after a long day of teaching.
As Yeshua left the Temple and was going away, His talmidim came and called His attention to its buildings. But He answered them, “You see all these? Yes! I tell you, they will be totally destroyed — not a single stone will be left standing!” Matthew 24:1-2 CJB
As Yeshua was going out of the Temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, look! What stones and what buildings!” Yeshua said to him, “You see these great buildings? Not one stone here will be left upon another. Every one will be torn down!” Mark 13:1-2 TLV
And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, He said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” Luke 21:5-6 ESV
Leaving the Temple, Yeshua passed with His Apostles down the eastern steps toward the valley of the Kidron. As they were passing on, one of His disciples invited Yeshua’s attention to the marvellous structure they were leaving, to the enormous size of its marble blocks and the grandeur of its buildings. Josephus tells us that while some of the stones were forty-five feet, most were thirty-seven and a half feet long, twelve feet high, and eighteen broad. They looked so strong and permanent, these beautiful stone buildings of the city of Jerusalem.
As both Isaiah and Jeremiah had, with grieving, prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Babylonians, now Yeshua prophesied the total destruction that the Romans would bring upon it just under 40 years after His death. Josephus tells us (Bell. Jud. vii. 1. 1) that when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70 the whole inclosing walls and precincts of the Temple were “so thoroughly levelled and dug up that no one visiting the city would believe it had ever been inhabited.”
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate! For I tell you, you will never see Me again until you say, ‘Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” Matthew 23:37-39 TLV
Luke 19:41-42 records Yeshua weeping over Jerusalem during His Triumphal Entry on the donkey. The Greek word “wept” is klaio. It referred to crying and deep sobbing. It is the strongest Greek word for weeping in the New Testament. As Yeshua wept He said in verse 42, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.” Jesus wept because the city did not understand the “things which make for peace.” That is, they did not recognize their Messiah. Now, as He left Jerusalem for the last time before His crucifixion, again He grieved over what was to come upon them.
Then the ruling kohanim and elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the kohen gadol named Caiaphas. They plotted together in order that they might seize Yeshua by stealth and kill Him. “But not during the festival,” they were saying, “so there won’t be a riot among the people.” Matthew 26:3-5 TLV
It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.” Mark 14:1-2 ESV Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was drawing near. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people. Luke 22:1-2 LSB
Meanwhile, back in Jerusalem, in the court of the High Priest, Caiaphas had gathered the chief priests and scribes to plot killing Yeshua. Ever since the rebuilding of the Temple after the Babylonian captivity the Jewish people had been waiting for God to come and fill the Temple with His glory as He had when Solomon dedicated the first Temple (2 Chronicles 7). In Tractate Yoma of the Babylonian Talmud, the Gemara lists significant items in the First Temple that were not in the Second Temple: The Ark of the Covenant, and the Ark cover upon it, and the cherubs that were on the cover; fire; and the Divine Presence; and the Divine Spirit; and the urim v’tummim (the stones in the high priest’s breastplate). (Yoma 21b). Whereas the first Holy of Holies contained the Ark of the Covenant that housed the Ten Commandments Moses had brought down from Sinai, the second Holy of Holies stood empty. No Ark of the Covenant and no presence of God. Jeremiah had prophesied that the “land shall be a desolation” and that the Jews would “serve the king of Babylon seventy years” (Jeremiah 25:1-11; 29:1-10 and 2 Chronicles 36:17-21), yet when Daniel sort God concerning this he was given a vision concerning seventy sevens (Daniel 9) – four hundred and ninety years before Israel would be restored to her status in God’s plan and enter into the promises that belong to them with the coming of Messiah. This had aroused the expectation that with Messiah Israel’s God would come back in person, in power, and in glory to dwell in the Temple in radiant splendor. Yeshua had indeed come into the Temple at the appointed time, displaying God’s glory in healing the people and declaring His word, but the religious leaders had rejected Him and now sort to kill the King of Glory many had been waiting for. They concluded this could not be done over Passover for fear the crowds of pilgrims would riot in protest, yet Passover was the very time Yeshua decreed it would take place.
As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen? What will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” Yeshua answered them, “Be careful that no one leads you astray! For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will lead many astray. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must happen but it is not yet the end. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are only the beginning of birth pains. Matthew 24:3-8 TLV
As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple, Peter, Jacob, John, and Andrew were questioning Him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? What will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” Yeshua began to tell them, “Watch out that no one leads you astray! Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed, for this must happen but it is not yet the end. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines. These things are only the beginning of birth pains. Mark 13:3-8 TLV
And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. Luke 21:7-11 ESV
Before leaving Jerusalem, Yeshua had warned them of what would happen to that city and its magnificent Temple – which came to pass in 70AD. Now, with this much smaller group, He moves on to speak of His second coming and the end of the age. Firstly, He counsels them not to judge in hast that it has come, for many false Messiahs will come and lead many away first, and many tribulations of wars, earthquakes, famines and pestilences will befall mankind before the great and terrible Day of the Lord.
The Day of the Lord // יֹום יְהוָה Yom Yahweh The phrase “day of the Lord” usually identifies events that take place at the end of history when God judges the nations. Thus, the Day of the Lord is a day filled with dichotomies – the terror of God’s judgment and the glory of Messiah’s reign. It will be a day of reckoning, when all things will be brought into account. It will be a day of restoration, when Yeshua will restore order and establish His authority in the earth. It will be a day of rejoicing, when we celebrate our King’s glory and victory, making this a glorious day.
The first mention of the Day of the Lord occurs in the book of Isaiah. “For the Day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low.” (Isaiah 2:12) “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” (Isaiah 13:9-11) In other words, there will be a great and dramatic judgment, manifest in the physical world, which will interfere with the light of the sun, moon, and stars. God will put down the proud and deal with the sinners. It is a time of judgment, preceded by Elijah the prophet: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.” (Malachi 4:5)
The same thought is found in Zephaniah 1:14-16: “The great day of the Lord is near – near and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry. That day will be a day of wrath – a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness – a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers..” In Amos 5:18, the prophet cries out, “Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light.” In Joel 1:15, the prophet writes, “Alas for that day! For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.” He continues: “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31) “For the day of the LIRD is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done to you; your deeds shall return on your own head. (Obadiah 1:15) In Zephaniah 3:14-15, there is a picture of Israel’s blessing in that day, following the time of judgment: “Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy; the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.” Zephaniah 1:7 describes it as a banquet: Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near; the LORD has prepared a sacrifice and consecrated His guests.
“Then they will hand you over to persecution and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of My name. And then many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one other. Many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. This Good News of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:9-14 TLV
“But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Mark 13:9-13 ESV
“But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. It will result in an opportunity for your testimony. So set in your hearts not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name. Yet not a hair of your head will perish. By your perseverance you will gain your lives. Luke 21:12-19 LSB
Even as the day of the Lord will be a time of both horror and glory, so too the season leading up to it. They (and we) will be persecuted, hated, beaten and even put to death, and yet even through that we will have opportunity to testify about Yeshua in every nation and to all peoples. In echoes of His pronouncement of our faith being able to uproot a mountain into the sea, Yeshua assures us the Holy Spirit will give us wisdom our opponents won’t be able to resist or refute. We are called to persevere and endure until the end.
“So when you see ‘the abomination of desolation,’ which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the Holy Place (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. The one on the roof must not go down to take what is in his house, and the one in the field must not turn back to get his coat. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! Pray that your escape will not happen in winter, or on Shabbat. For then there will be great trouble, such as has not happened since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. And unless those days were cut short, no one would be delivered. But for the sake of the chosen, those days will be cut short. Matthew 24:15-22 TLV
“But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that it may not happen in winter. For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. Mark 13:14-20 ESV
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is at hand. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the countryside must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath against this people, and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Luke 21:20-24 LSB
Yeshua directs his listeners to Daniel’s prophesies of an abomination of desolation. The word “abomination” in the Greek means something that is disgusting and is oftentimes associated with that which is defiling and/or idolatrous. In the Hebrew, the meaning is the same and is associated with pagan idols. The word “desolation” means to be in a condition that is uninhabitable and devastated. In all biblical uses, the term can be understood as the “abomination causing the desolation.” The first reference to something like this is in Daniel 8, where the phrase “rebellion that causes desolation” is used. Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers says of this: Comp. Daniel 9:27. Probably these words mean the same as the “abomination of desolation” (Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11; see 1 Maccabees 1:59).
The goat became very great, but at the height of its power the large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven. Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the Lord; it took away the daily sacrifice from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down. Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.
Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the Lord’s people?” He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.” Daniel 8:8-14 NIV
Daniel 8 predicted the coming Greek Empire and, more specifically, the ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes who on 15th Kislev (in December) 167 BC, built a pagan altar over the altar of burnt offering in the Temple and placed a pagan idol (some state it was Zeus, others say Jupiter) upon it – the ‘abomination of desecration’. Ten days later, on the 25thKislev, swine’s flesh was offered on this altar to the pagan idol. Antiochus IV also outlawed any possession, reading of or obedience to Torah and resorted to every conceivable torture to force the Jews to renounce their religion, their laws and their God, seeking to replace Judaism with a universal religion of Greek polytheism. Greek Conquest and Hellenization (332 – 166 BC) – Renewal Blog.
Daniel 11 also uses the term “abomination that makes desolate” or “abomination of desolation” to describe the alter to the pagan idol that was set up in the Jerusalem Temple and gives more details about the different Greek leaders who would rule over Israel until Antiochus IV Epiphanes was defeated.
“At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but it shall not be this time as it was before. For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant. Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time. “And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done. Daniel 11:29-36 ESV
Then, just as Daniel had foretold, devout Jews overcame and on Kislev 25, 165 BC, three years to the day after the first abominable sacrifice had been offered, the temple was cleansed, a new altar was rededicated and the daily sacrifices to Yahweh were once again offered in the Jerusalem temple. From the time Antiochus IV had plundered the temple in 170 BC until Judas Maccabeus recaptured Jerusalem and led the people in shattering the pagan idol and cleansing the temple on 25thKislev 164 BC was six years and 110 days (2,300 evenings and mornings without their proper sacrifices). The Maccabean Revolt & Hasmonean Period (166 – 40 BC) – Renewal Blog. It is worth remembering that at the time Daniel wrote this prophesy there was no temple in Jerusalem, it had been destroyed by the Babylonians, so the temple would have to be rebuilt before any of this could come to pass.
When the angel Gabriel is explaining the vision of the Ram and Goat to Daniel there appears to be a shift in focus from the Greek Empire to the time of the end, which may have relevance for Yeshua‘s reference to these prophesies during His Olivet discourse:
“In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. Daniel 8:23-25 NIV
Daniel 9 includes a Messianic prophesy that helped ignite Jewish expectations of when Messiah would come, as expressed in the old man Simeon’s conviction that “he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.“ (Luke 2:22-38) A Child Is Born – Renewal Blog.
“Seventy weeks(490 years) are decreed about your people and your holy city— to bring the rebellion to an end, to put a stop to sin, to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place. Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an Anointed One (Messiah), the ruler, will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will be rebuilt with a plaza and a moat, but in difficult times.
After those sixty-two weeks the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing.
The people of the coming ruler will destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end will come with a flood, and until the end there will be war; desolations are decreed. He will make a firm covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and offering. And the abomination of desolation will be on a wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.” Daniel 9:24-27 CSB
The decree to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem was given by Artaxerxes in the seventh year of his reign, around 458 BC. Jerusalem, and indeed the temple, was built in difficult times – Herod did much building of both but his reign was brutal and all under Roman rule. If we count 490 years (seventy ‘weeks’) from the decree of Artaxerxes, we come to AD 33 (there was no year zero). Actually, the prophecy has the Messiah coming to Jerusalem to make atonement for sin and to bring in everlasting righteousness during the 70th week (Daniel 9:25 – ie, after the seven and sixty-two weeks had finished). This means that the Messiah was to go to Jerusalem to provide atonement for sins somewhere between AD 26 and 33. Second Temple Period under Roman Rule until Messiah (63 BC – 1BC) – Renewal Blog.
After His death, according to the Daniel 9 prophesy, “The people of the coming ruler will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” This is as Yeshua had been prophesying to His disciples about the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (which occurred in 70 A.D.). Yeshua’s warning, and accompanying instructions to flee the city, was to save all His followers in Jerusalem from death when the Roman army destroyed it in the spring of 70AD, just after the new ruler, Vespasian, took control of the Roman Empire. The early believers took Yeshua’s words literally, having already suffered the persecutions He had forewarned them of, and acted on His instructions to flee the city.
The early Christian scholar Eusebius wrote of this time: “The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella.”
Epiphanes also attested to the Christian escape, according to Bible scholar Adam Clarke. The latter wrote: “It is very remarkable that not a single Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem, though there were many there when Cestius Gallus invested the city; and, had he persevered in the siege, he would soon have rendered himself master of it; but, when he unexpectedly and unaccountably raised the siege, the Christians took that opportunity to escape. … “[As] Vespasian was approaching with his army, all who believed in Christ left Jerusalem and fled to Pella, and other places beyond the river Jordan; and so they all marvellously escaped the general shipwreck of their country: not one of them perished.”
So, we can see Daniel spoke of an abomination of desolation (or abomination that makes desolate) standing in the Holy Place in relation to the Greek conquest and alter to a pagan idol being set up in the Jerusalem Temple, then in relation to Roman conquest and the total destruction of the Temple under their banner, and then in Daniel 11:36 – 12:13 a third abomination of desolation is described, this time “at the end of days“.
He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days. But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.” Daniel 12:9-13 ESV
The first and third of these abominations of desolation were to be set up in the Jewish Temple – a Temple that had been destroyed and no longer existed when Daniel wrote these prophesies, was rebuilt and then destroyed by the second abomination of desolation, and apparently will be rebuilt once more before the “time of the end” and the third abomination of desolation. Another sign Yeshua gave us as to when the “time of the end” would come is: “This Good News of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14).
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here’s the Messiah,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show great signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen. See, I have told you beforehand.
“Suppose a prophet or a dreamer of dreams rises up among you and gives you a sign or wonder,and the sign or wonder he spoke to you comes true, while saying, ‘Let’s follow other gods’ – that you have not known, and – ‘Let’s serve them!’ You must not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams – for Adonai your God is testing you, to find out whether you love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Adonai your God you will follow and Him you will fear. His mitzvot you will keep, to His voice you will listen, Him you will serve and to Him you will cling. That prophet or dreamer of dreams must be put to death! For he has spoken falsehood against Adonai your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to entice you from the way Adonai your God commanded you to walk. So you will purge the evil from your midst. Deuteronomy 13:2-6 TLV
“So if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. Or, ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For just as lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man. For wherever the carcass is, there the vultures will gather. “But immediately after the trouble of those days, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light and the stars will fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.’
Wail, for the day of Adonai is near! it will come as destruction from Shaddai. … Behold, the day of Adonai comes, cruel, full of wrath and fierce fury, to make the earth a desolation, and destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light. The rising sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light. I will punish the world for evil, and the wicked for their iniquity. I will put an end to the arrogance of the proud, and abase the insolence of tyrants. Isaiah 13:6, 9-11 TLV
Draw near, O nations, to hear, and listen, O peoples! Let the earth hear, and all it contains, the world, and all its offspring! For Adonai is enraged at all the nations, and furious at all their armies. He will utterly destroy them. He will give them over to slaughter. So their slain will be thrown out, and the stench of their corpses will rise, and the hills will be drenched with their blood. Then all the host of heaven will dissolve, and the skies will be rolled up like a scroll – so all their array will wither away, like a leaf drooping from a vine, like a fig shriveling from a fig tree. Isaiah 34: 1-4 TLV
Before them land quakes, heaven trembles, sun and moon become dark, stars withdraw their brightness. Adonai utters His voice before His army. For His camp is very vast – for mighty is it that carries out His word. For great is the day of Adonai – very terrifying! Who can endure it? Joel 2:10-11 TLV
“It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, your young men will see visions. And even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And it will come about that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Joel 2:28-32 NASB
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the land will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory.
“I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, honor, and a kingdom, so that all the peoples, nations, and populations of all languages might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14 NASB
He will send out His angels with a great shofar, and they will gather together His chosen from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:23-31 TLV
“And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there He is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand. “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. Mark 13:21-27 ESV “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth anguish among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:26-28 LSB
Yeshua warned us of a time to come when “there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now” (Matthew 24:21), after which “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken” (Mark 13:24-25) and then “they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27). None of this was new, Yeshua had put together what had been foretold by the Jewish prophets. Despite all the horrendous, devastating things the people have gone through, and the Jewish people in particular, yet even worse than all that is going to take place before Yeshua comes in a cloud with great power and glory.
1. HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/. 2. Stern, David H. Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). 1998. 3. Holy Bible.New International Version. s.l. : Zondervan Publishing House, 1984. 4. —. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020. 5. Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars.Holy Scriptures Tree of Life Version (TLV). s.l. : Baker Books. 6. Translation Committee. The Legacy Standard Bible (LSB). LSB. [Online] https://read.lsbible.org/. 7. Bible Commentaries. John 12:1. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/john/12-1.htm. 8. Abbott, Shari. Jesus’ Last Days Timeline: the Cross and the Resurrection. Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/jesus-last-days-timeline/. 9. —. Was Jesus Crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/crucified/. 10. Bible Study Webmaster. Last Days of Jesus Timeline. Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.biblestudy.org/maps/last-days-of-jesus-timeline.html. 11. Jews for Jesus. Jesus’ Last Week Leading Up to Passover: A Day-by-Day Look. Jews for Jesus. [Online] March 09, 2011. https://jewsforjesus.org/learn/jesus-last-week-leading-up-to-passover-a-day-by-day-look. r12. Köstenberger, Andreas. April 3, AD 33: Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died. Centre for Biblical Studies. [Online] April 8th, 2020. https://cbs.mbts.edu/2020/04/08/april-3-ad-33-why-we-believe-we-can-know-the-exact-date-jesus-died/. 13. Hunt, Michal E. Jesus’ Last Week in Jerusalem. Agape Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/Jesus%20Last%20Week%20in%20Jerusalem.htm. 14. Bond, Helen K. All you ever wanted to know about Jesus’ last week on earth. Brainstorm. [Online] April 9th, 2020. https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2020/0408/950906-all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-jesus-last-week-on-earth/#:~:text=The%20evangelist%20says%20that%20Jesus,disciples%20(Monday%2FTuesday). 15. Forbes, Peter. The Last Week Of Jesus’ Life. Bible Study Manuals. [Online] May 1999. https://www.biblestudymanuals.net/last_week_of_Jesus_life.htm. 16. Blue Letter Bible Minister. Christ :: The Three Days and the Three Nights. Blue Letter Bible. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/crux.cfm. 17. Bible Info staff. Was Jesus in the tomb for three days and three nights? Bible Info. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/jesus-in-tomb-for-three-days-nights#. 18. ‘Dating the Death of Jesus’: Memory and the Religious Imagination. Bond, Helen. 04, s.l. : New Testament Studies, 2013, Vol. 59. 461-475doii: 10.1017/S0028688513000131. 19. Bookman, Doug. A time line and chronology of the Easter Passion Week that includes Gregorian dates, First Century Jewish day/night cycles, and Galilean Jew cycles. Christianity. [Online] June 19th, 2023. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/a-time-line-of-the-passion-week.html. 20. Brannan, Rick. The Last Week of Jesus’ Life on Earth: a Closer Look. Logos. [Online] April 3rd, 2012. https://www.logos.com/grow/jesus-final-week-a-closer-look/. 21. Lacey, Troy. How Many Times Was Jesus Anointed? Answers in Genesis. [Online] May 14th, 2019. https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/how-many-times-was-jesus-anointed/. 22. Wilson, Larry W. Chronology of the Crucifixion Week. Wake Up Am erica Seminars. [Online] March 14th, 2000. https://wake-up.org/time-periods/passover-week-chronology.html. 23. Smith, Pete. Chronology & Synopsis of the Passion Week. Bible.org. [Online] February 25th, 2013. https://bible.org/article/chronology-synopsis-passion-week. 24. Renan, Ernest. Last Week of Jesus. The Life of Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 32023.] https://biblehub.com/library/renan/the_life_of_jesus/chapter_xxiii_last_week_of.htm#1. 25. Farr, Stan. The Passover Lamb. Rabbi Yeshua. [Online] 2016. [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://rabbiyeshua.com/articles/passover-lamb. 26. MDiv, Rick Lanser. THE HEBREW CALENDAR OF THE SECOND TEMPLE ERA. The Shiloh Excavations. [Online] March 17th, 2023. https://biblearchaeology.org/abr-projects/the-daniel-9-24-27-project-2/5035-the-hebrew-calendar-of-the-second-temple-era. 27. Andrews, Samuel J. The Life of Our Lord Upon the Earth – Part VI – Last Teaching in the Temple. Bible Study Tools. [Online] 1904. [Cited: November 6th, 2023.] https://www.biblestudytools.com/classics/andrews-the-life-of-our-lord-upon-the-earth/part-vi/lasxt-teaching-in-the-temple.html. 28. The Bible Says Commentary author. Matthew 21:33-41 meaning. The Bible Says. [Online] [Cited: November 7th, 2023.] https://thebiblesays.com/commentary/matt/matt-21/matthew-2133-41/. 29. Jr, Clarence L. Haynes. What Is the Day of the Lord? Christianity. [Online] November 29th, 2022. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/end-times/what-is-the-day-of-the-lord.html. 30. Walvoord, John F. 5. The Day of the Lord. Bible.org. [Online] January 1st, 2008. https://bible.org/seriespage/5-day-lord. 31. Brodie, Jessica. What Exactly is the “Day of the Lord”? Bible study Tools. [Online] December 22nd, 2022. https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/what-exactly-is-the-day-of-the-lord.html. 32. Bolinger, Hope. What Is the Abomination of Desolation Mentioned in Bible Prophecy? Bible Study Tools. [Online] August 21st, 2023. https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/what-is-the-abomination-of-desolation.html. 33. Houdmann, S. Michael. What is the abomination of desolation? Got Questions. [Online] [Cited: November 17th, 2023.] https://www.gotquestions.org/abomination-desolation.html. 34. George A. Horton, Jr. “Be Ye Also Ready”: The Amazing Christian Escape from the A.D. 70 Destruction of Jerusalem. DOCSLIB. [Online] June 1989. https://docslib.org/the-amazing-christian-escape-from-the-a-d-70-destruction-of-jerusalem. 35. Oakes, Dr. John. When was the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem issued? (Daniel 9:25). Evidence for Christianity. [Online] February 20th, 2018. https://evidenceforchristianity.org/when-was-the-decree-to-restore-and-rebuild-jerusalem-issued-daniel-925/. 36. —. Can you prove Daniel 9 is about Jesus? Jews always criticize this conclusion. Evidence for Christianity . [Online] December 14th, 2016. https://evidenceforchristianity.org/can-you-prove-daniel-9-is-about-jesus-jews-always-criticize-this-conclusion/. 37. My Jewish Learning. TISHA B’AV – 12 Things To Know About the Temple in Jerusalem. [Online] [Cited: November 28th, 2023] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/12-things-to-know-about-the-temple-in-jerusalem/ 38. The William Davidson Talmud (Koren – Steinsaltz). Yoma 21b. [Online] [Cited: November 28th, 2023] https://www.sefaria.org/Yoma.21b.2?lang=bi 39: David Treybig. Daniel 9: The 70-Year Prophecy of Jeremiah. Life, Hope & Truth [Online] [Cited: November 28th, 2023] https://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/understanding-the-book-of-daniel/daniel-9/ 40. Bible Outlines. Daniel 9:1-27 — Prophecy of Seventy Sevens Unfolds Israel’s Future [Online] [Cited: November 28th, 2023] https://www.bibleoutlines.com/daniel-91-27-prophecy-of-seventy-sevens-unfolds-israels-future/
In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…
* When Jesus stated that every stone in the Temple would be torn down it looked impossible that such massive stones would ever be moved – but within a generation it came to pass. Has Jesus told you anything that looked impossible? * Describe how you think Jesus felt when He wept over Jerusalem with deep sobbing as He warned of what would become of them after they rejected Him and had their Messiah crucified. * Describe the “Day of the Lord“. * Describe the “abomination of desolation“. * What are the signs that the day of the Lord is near? * How are we to prepare for the coming of the Son of Man in the clouds?
Please read Matthew 21:19-23:36, Mark 11:19-12:44 & Luke 20:1-21:4, 37-38
12th Nissan – Three days before Pesach (Passover)
When evening came, they left the city. Mark 11:19 ESV
And every day He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. And early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him. Luke 21:37-38 ESV
And at once the fig tree withered. Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.” Matthew 21:19b – 22 NASB
As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree shriveled from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Yeshua, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree You cursed has shriveled up!” And Yeshua answered, saying to them, “Have faith in God! Amen, I tell you, if someone says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but trusts that what he says is happening, so shall it be for him. For this reason I say to you, whatever you pray and ask, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your transgressions. But if you don’t forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions.” Mark 11:20-26 TLV
The withering of the fig tree seems to have begun as soon as the Lord had spoken the curse against it. Matthew says, “at once the fig tree withered“. Mark says, “the fig tree shriveled from the roots.” In twenty-four hours it was completely dead.
By cleansing the Temple and cursing the barren fig tree, causing it to wither and die, Yeshua was pronouncing His coming judgment of Israel and demonstrating His power to carry it out. It also teaches the principle that religious profession and observance are not enough to guarantee salvation, unless there is the fruit of genuine salvation evidenced in the life of the person. James would later echo this truth when he wrote that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). The lesson of the fig tree is that we should bear spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), not just give an appearance of religiosity. God judges fruitlessness, and expects that those who have a relationship with Him will “bear much fruit” (John 15:5-8).
Yeshua then applied the lesson to His disciples, not as fig trees but as those endowered with His power over the fig tree, who were to judge the 12 tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). Then He declared their authority even over the mountain on which Jerusalem was situated, the mountain on which the temple stood, and the Sanhedrin deliberated. “truly I say unto you” With great solemnity He seeks to impress upon them a truth which would be of the greatest import to them, when they went forth, as His apostles, to establish and spread His kingdom—that an unfaltering faith in God would overcome all difficulties. “shall say unto this mountain” they have authority to speak even to the whole Jewish religious system as represented by this mountain they were focused on as they walked back to Jerusalem. The idiom of uprooting a mountain was familiar in the schools of the Jews. In Rabbinic usage the “uprooter of mountains” (ʿōqēr hārîm) is the sage who overcomes the obstacles and objections of those he is contending with. Those teachers among the Jews that were more eminent for the profoundness of their learning, or the splendour of their virtues, were described as, “He is a rooter up or remover of mountains.” They called Rabbah Bar Nachmani, A rooter up of mountains, because he had a piercing judgment (Lightfoot, Hor. Heb). In b. Sanhedrin 24a it states: One who saw Resh Lakish in the Beth-Hamidrash [engaged in debate in the Temple] would think that he was uprooting mountains and grinding them against each other! “And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.” – their victory over the religious authorities in establishing the kingdom of God in Israel, and the nations, would be both through miraculous signs in answer to their prayers and in the Holy Spirit inspired wisdom of their speech (for example see Acts 4).
” Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him” Many would come against the apostles when they proclaimed the kingdom of God in word and deed, but they were not to harbor bitter feelings against them but rather forgive them, bless those who cursed them and pray for their persecutors. The power in answering their prayers was to be used in loving people, not seeking revenge for wrongs done.
Now when He entered the Temple, the ruling kohanim (priests) and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, saying, “By what authority are You doing these things? Who gave You this authority?” Yeshua replied to them, “I also will ask you one question. If you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. John’s immersion, where was it from? From heaven or from men?” They began to dialogue among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the crowd, for all hold up John as a prophet.” So answering Yeshua, they said, “We don’t know.” Then He said to them, “Neither am I telling you by what authority I do these things.” Matthew 23:23-27 TLV
Then they came again to Jerusalem. And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to Him, and began saying to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things, or who gave You this authority to do these things?” And Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question, and you answer Me, and then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven, or from men? Answer Me.” And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men’?”—they were afraid of the crowd, for everyone was regarding John to have been a real prophet. And answering Jesus, they said, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” Mark 11:27-33 LSB
One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came upand said to Him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.” He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from. And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” Luke 20:1-8 ESV
“By what authority are You doing these things?” They evidently wished to bring Him to account for His act of the day before, and for His assumption to teach as a Rabbi, without any license from the Schools of Hillel (Beit Hillel) or Shammai (Beit Shammai), which was contrary to the established rule. The same question had been put to Him three years before and by the same persons (John 2:18). Both John and Jesus were loved by the Jewish people but treated with suspicion by the Jewish authorities.
“Now what do you think? A man had two sons, and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘I won’t,’ but afterward he had a change of heart and went. The man went to the second son and said the same thing. But he answered, ‘I will, sir,’ and didn’t go. Which of the two did the will of the father?” “The first,” they said. Yeshua said to them, “Amen, I tell you, the tax collectors and prostitutes are going ahead of you into the kingdom of God. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and even after you saw this, you had no change of heart to believe him.” Matthew 21:28-32 TLV
In His rabbinic style, Yeshua starts this parable with a question, drawing His audience in to give their opinion. The religious leaders are quick to show they know the correct answer to this question – it is the man who obeys God, not just the one who promises to, that does His will. They knew what was required. They thought they were doing what was required with their careful attention to their purification rites and all the Jewish customs. Yeshua, however, had a different standard by which they were measured – believing John and repenting at his call. Even the worst of sinners had responded to John’s message of repentance and directing people to the Lamb of God, but they had not as was evidenced by their continued rejection of His kingdom authority.
“Listen to another parable. There was a master of a household who planted a vineyard. He put a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a tower. Then He leased it to some tenant farmers and went on a journey. Matthew 21:33 TLV
And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country.” Mark 12:1 ESV
And He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey for a long time. Luke 20:9 LSB
This landowner did not just buy an existing vineyard. He planted and cultivated one himself, personally investing his time, thoughtful attention, finances, and energy. He devoted himself to his vineyard and spared no detail, providing everything it needed to be productive. He put a wall around it to protect it from wild animals. He dug a wine press in it, and he built a tower to defend it from thieves. Once these things were completed, it was time to wait for its vines to produce its harvest of grapes and wine. It is typical for newly planted grapevines to take three years to begin to produce.
Using the symbolism of a vineyard would have immediately brough to mind Isaiah 5:1-7 and Psalm 80:7-15 for His Jewish audience here in the temple, both of which depict God as the planter and the vineyard as unfaithful Israel.
Isaiah 5:1-7 Let me sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 2 He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watch-tower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; he expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. 3 And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. 4 What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? 5 And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. 6 I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his pleasant planting; he expected justice, but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry!
Psalm 80:7-15 7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved. 8 You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. 9 You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land. 10 The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches; 11 it sent out its branches to the sea, and its shoots to the River. 12 Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit? 13 The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it. 14 Turn again, O God of hosts; look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, 15 the stock that your right hand planted.
Yeshua added another component to the imagery – tenant farmers who were to tend and protect the vineyard until it was ready to produce and then render to God what was His from that produce. These were representative of the Jewish leadership who were even now confronting Him and denying His authority in His Father’s house.
“Now when fruit season drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.” Matthew 21:35 TLV
“When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard.” Mark 12:2 ESV
“And at the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard.” Luke 20:10 LSB
Thus far, everything Yeshua has shared in His parable has matched expectations. It was not unusual for landowners to be away tending other matters as their workers tended their farms or vineyards under the terms of a lease agreement. And if they were away during harvest-time it would be typical for them to send someone to receive his produce. But what follows in the parable is unexpected and most unusual. It is a severe and deliberate breach of contract. These very ones who were proclaiming most loudly the need to obey every aspect of Torah were at the same time committing the most heinous breach of God’s covenant with them.
“But grabbing his servants, the tenants beat up one, killed another, and stoned still another. Again the master sent other servants, even more than the first, and they did the same thing to them. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ “But when the tenants saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir! Come on, let’s kill him and get his inheritance!’ So grabbing him, they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore when the master of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” “He will bring those miserable men to a miserable end,” they said to Him, “and will lease the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the fruits in their seasons.” Yeshua said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures? ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone. This came from Adonai, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’ Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to people producing its fruits. Whoever falls on this stone will be shattered; but the one upon whom it falls, it will crush him.” Matthew 21:35-44 TLV
“And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” Mark 12:3-11 ESV
“But the vine-growers sent him away empty-handed having beaten him. And he proceeded to send another slave; and when they beat him also and treated him shamefully, they sent him away empty-handed. And he proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out. Now the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the vine-growers saw him, they were reasoning with one another, saying, ‘This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “May it never be!” But when Jesus looked at them, He said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.” Luke 20:11-18 LSB
This was a harsh judgment Yeshua was pronouncing on His accusers. And yet, He also included great hope for them, and for all who would acknowledge what God was doing as He quoted from Psalm 118, which was used as an entrance liturgy to the Temple during the festival of Passover and so was on everyone’s mind at this time of year. This Psalm proclaims God’s deliverance from Egypt and, later on, from the Exile, then prophesies that God’s ultimate deliverance and foundation of the kingdom of heaven (the chief cornerstone) would be rejected by those who considered themselves to be builders of Judaism.
Psalm 118 was a liturgical script, complete with speaking parts for leaders and congregation. One can hear the jubilant call and response in 118:2-4: “Let Israel say, ‘His steadfast love endures forever.’ Let the house of Aaron say, ‘His steadfast love endures forever.’ Let those who fear the LORD say, ‘His steadfast love endures forever.’” With this Psalm on their lips, the priests and people processed into the Temple. The approach to the Temple culminates in verse 19, “Open to me the gates of righteousness…” and the condition for entrance is given in verse 20, “The righteous shall enter through it.” The people express their faith that since God has saved them in the past, He can be trusted in the future (verse 25). Then the festival procession proceeds up to the altar, to adorn it with signs of victory (verse 27).
Psalm 118 1Praise (Heb. hodu, Or Give thanks to) Adonai, for He is good. For His lovingkindness endures forever. 2 O let Israel say: For His lovingkindness endures forever. 3 O let the house of Aaron say: For His lovingkindness endures forever. 4 O let those who fear Adonai say: For His lovingkindness endures forever. 5Out of a tight place I called on Adonai— Adonai answered me with a spacious place. 6 Adonai is for me—I will not fear! What can man do to me? 7 Adonai is for me, as my helper. I will see the downfall of those who hate me. 8 It is better to take refuge in Adonai than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in Adonai than to trust in princes. 10 All nations surrounded me— in the Name of Adonai I cut them off. 11 They surrounded me, yes, all around me— in the Name of Adonai I cut them off. 12 They swarmed around me like bees— they were extinguished like burning thorns— in the Name of Adonai I cut them off. 13 You pushed me hard to make me fall, but Adonai helped me. 14 Adonai is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. 15 Shouts of joy and victory are in the tents of the righteous: “Adonai’s right hand is mighty! 16 Adonai’s right hand is lifted high! Adonai’s right hand is mighty!” 17 I will not die, but live, and proclaim what Adonai has done! 18 Adonai has chastened me hard, but has not given me over to death. 19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and praise Adonai. 20 This is the gate of Adonai— the righteous will enter through it. 21 I give You thanks, because You have answered me and have become my salvation. 22 The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone. 23 It is from Adonai: it is marvelous in our eyes! 24 This is the day that Adonai has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it! 25 Hoshia-na! Please, Adonai, save now! We beseech You, Adonai, prosper us! 26 Baruch haba b’Shem Adonai— Blessed is He who comes in the Name of Adonai. We bless you from the House of Adonai. 27 Adonai is God, and He has given us light. Join the festival with branches,up to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I praise You. You are my God—I exalt You! 29 Praise Adonai, for He is good, for His lovingkindness endures forever.
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet. Matthew 21:45-46 ESV
They were trying to seize Yeshua, because they realized that He spoke the parable against them. But they feared the crowd, so they left Him and went away. Mark 12:12 TLV
And the scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on Him that very hour, but they feared the people. For they understood that He spoke this parable against them. Luke 20:19 LSB
Yeshua again used parables in speaking to them: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son,but when he sent his slaves to summon the invited guests to the wedding, they refused to come. So he sent some more slaves, instructing them to tell the guests, ‘Look, I’ve prepared my banquet, I’ve slaughtered my bulls and my fattened cattle, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding!’ But they weren’t interested and went off, one to his farm, another to his business; and the rest grabbed his slaves, mistreated them and killed them. The king was furious and sent his soldiers, who killed those murderers and burned down their city. “Then he said to his slaves, ‘Well, the wedding feast is ready; but the ones who were invited didn’t deserve it. So go out to the street-corners and invite to the banquet as many as you find.’ The slaves went out into the streets, gathered all the people they could find, the bad along with the good; and the wedding hall was filled with guests. “Now when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who wasn’t dressed for a wedding; so he asked him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him outside in the dark!’ In that place people will wail and grind their teeth, for many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:1-14 CJB
In the culture of that day a wedding feast was inseparable from the wedding itself, which involved a week-long series of meals and festivities and was the highlight of all social life. Guests were invited to stay at the house of the groom’s parents for the entire occasion, and the father would make as elaborate provisions as he could afford. A royal wedding, such as the one featured in this parable, would be held in the palace and the celebration often lasted for several weeks with all the abundance of the kingdom.
The king sent his “servants” or “slaves” (plural) to invite the guests, implying that a great number had been invited. καλέσαι τοὺς κεκλημένους, to invite the already invited. This second invitation seems to accord with Eastern custom (Esther 6:14). In the culture of the day it was customary first to invite the guests, and then at the time of the event give a final invitation to those who had accepted the first invitation indicating that they would attend. The first invitation was given to the people of Israel by all the prophets, from Moses through to Yohanan the Immerser. The Jews had accepted this invitation by entering into covenant through circumcision, so it was to them that Yeshua had now come and sent out first the twelve, and then the seventy, to invite them to the prepared banquet. Yeshua was the feast.
Instead of rejoicing that the time of the long-awaited banquet had arrived and leaving everything to partake in it they would continue on with daily life or actually attack those bringing the good news. Even though they knew that a royal invitation was equivalent to a royal command, they refused to acknowledge the king’s announcement, thus rejecting his authority – they had no fear of their king! This was utter rebellion, murderous rebellion as they attacked those sent to them from the king. There’s a warning that if the Jews reject Him Jerusalem will be burned down – even as the Romans were later to do in AD70 when Titus surrounded Jerusalem, broke through, plundered the temple and burned the city to the ground. And the invitation was extended to all those who were previously excluded, the Gentiles both good and bad. It was, however, not an unconditional invitation – for any who attended without first putting on their wedding garment of His righteousness would be bound and thrown out to the dark place of weeping and grinding teeth.
Then the P’rushim went away and put together a plan to trap Yeshua with his own words. Matthew 22:15 CJB
The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. Luke 20:19-20 ESV
They sent him some of their talmidim and some members of Herod’s party. They said, “Rabbi, we know that you tell the truth and really teach what God’s way is. You aren’t concerned with what other people think about you, since you pay no attention to a person’s status. So tell us your opinion: does Torah permit paying taxes to the Roman Emperor or not?” Yeshua, however, knowing their malicious intent, said, “You hypocrites! Why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used to pay the tax!” They brought him a denarius; and he asked them, “Whose name and picture are these?” “The Emperor’s,” they replied. Yeshua said to them, “Nu, give the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor. And give to God what belongs to God!” On hearing this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away. Matthew 22:16-22 CJB
Then they send some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Yeshua in order to trap Him with a word. They come and say to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are honest, and what others think doesn’t concern You. You don’t look at men’s appearance, but teach the way of God according to the truth. Is it permitted to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay, or shouldn’t we?” But Yeshua saw through their hypocrisy and said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius so I may see it.” They brought one. And He said to them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they said to Him. Then Yeshua said to them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were completely amazed at Him. Mark 12:13-17 TLV
So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent. Luke 20:21-26 ESV
The P’rushim (Pharisees) sent some of their young talmidim (disciples) with supporters of the Herodian dynasty’s reign over Israel to try to trap Yeshua with a question that had no safe answer.
Herodians: Herod’s Idumaean grandfather had been forcibly converted to Judaism after the Hasmonean King, John Hyrcanus, conquered Idumea in 107 B.C. The Maccabean Revolt & Hasmonean Period (166 – 40 BC) – Renewal Blog His father, Antipater, was administratively gifted and politically astute such that the high priest Hyrcanus II depended on his advise during Roman political instability and after Julius Ceasar appointed Hyrcanus II as ethnarch (Greek for “ruler of the nation”) Antipater took control of virtually all matters of state . Antipater installed his sons as governors, Herod over Galilee and Phasael over Jerusalem. Herod’s brutal massacrer, without trial, of those engaged in resistance led to confrontation with the Sanhedrin. After Antipater was poisoned in 43 B.C. Herod and Phasael were each given the title of tetrarch by the Romans. In 40 B.C. the Parthians allied themselves with Antigonus II (Mattathias) the Hasmonean, who as the last of the Hasmonean princes had long been seeking to reassert Hasmonean rule over Judea. Once again Judea had a Hasmonean king, but Herod had escaped and set sail for Rome, where he persuaded the Senate to declare him king of Judea and provide him with an army to expel the Parthians from the province. In 37 B.C. Herod and the Roman army recaptured Jerusalem and beheaded Antigonus. Early in his reign, Herod also murdered all but two of the members of the Jewish Sanhedrin and replaced them with religious leaders who would do his bidding, recalling from the Hellenistic diaspora several distinguished priestly families such as the Phabi, Kathros, and Boethus who were nurtured in Greco‑Roman culture as the new king of Judea sort to replace the Hasmonean aristocracy with one of his own. Second Temple Period under Roman Rule until Messiah (63 BC – 1BC) – Renewal Blog. Herod was determined to build a Herodian dynasty to rival the Hasmonean dynasty that he had replaced. Supporting Herod, and his dynasty, had been the way to advance, both politically and economically, in Jewish society.
Herod had died shortly after his killing of the innocents in Bethlehem and left the lion’s share of the kingdom; Idumaea, Judea and Samaria, and the title of Ethnarch (ruler of the people) to his son Herod Archelaus; Tetrarch (ruler over a fourth) of Galilee and Perea to his son Herod Antipas; and Tetrarch of the small regions of Gaulanitis, Trachonitis, Batanaea, and Panias in the northeast to his son Herod Philip. In 6 CE, Emperor Augustus had deposed Herod Archelaus, whose reign had been brutal and poorly administered, and converted his territory into the Roman province of Judaea – exerting direct Roman rule over the heart of Israel, including Jerusalem. It was now about 30 years since Herod had died and his dynasty lost control over Judea. The Sanhedrin, however, still contained members who had been appointed for their loyalty to Herod and members of the Herodian party, satellites of the tetrarch Antipas, royalists who hoped for a restoration of the Herodian monarchy over all Judea instead of direct Roman rule. Herodians were not a religious party but rather a political group concerned with the interests of the Herodian dynasty. They probably favoured the policies of Herod Antipas, who was tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea (4 BC–AD 39), a strong promoter of Hellenistic (Greco-Roman) culture and had beheaded Yohanan the Immerser (John the Baptist). Theologically, they would have included both Pharisees and Sadducees who preferred Herodian rule to direct Roman rule. A significant number of the Pharisees in the Sanhedrin were from Beit Shammai. The Shammaites would not bow to Roman rule nor countenance any social intercourse with either the Romans or those who in any way worked with them (Second Temple Period under Roman Rule until Messiah (63 BC – 1BC) – Renewal Blog).
After the banishment of Herod Archelaus, the Roman procurator, Coponius, had decided to directly tax the Jews and this had been strongly protested by the P’rushim (Pharisees) ever since on the basis that it was against the Torah to have a foreigner rule over them. Deuteronomy 17 provides God’s instructions for any king over Israel and begins with an injunction that the people were not to place a foreigner over themselves. P’rushim, particularly those of Beit Shammai, interpreted this as it being against Torah to pay taxes to any foreign power.
When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite. The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel. Deuteronomy 17:14-20 NIV
Thus, the vexed question of whether Torah permitted paying taxes to the Roman Emperor or not was both religious and political. Surely the real Messiah would uphold the P’rushim‘s doctrine that it was contrary to Torah and lead a victorious revolt against the Romans, and if he were not the real Messiah would be crushed by the Romans and thereby no longer a threat to the status quo. Yeshua never let them set the agenda, but only did that which He saw His Father doing. He answered by re-shaping the whole debate: “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
That same day, some Tz’dukim came to him. They are the ones who say there is no such thing as resurrection, so they put to him a sh’eilah: “Rabbi, Moshe said, ‘If a man dies childless, his brother must marry his widow and have children to preserve the man’s family line.’ There were seven brothers. The first one married and then died; and since he had no children, he left his widow to his brother. The same thing happened to the second brother, and the third, and finally to all seven. After them all, the woman died. Now in the Resurrection — of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all married her.” Yeshua answered them, “The reason you go astray is that you are ignorant both of the Tanakh and of the power of God. For in the Resurrection, neither men nor women will marry; rather, they will be like angels in heaven. And as for whether the dead are resurrected, haven’t you read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’chak and the God of Ya‘akov’ ? He is God not of the dead but of the living!” When the crowds heard how he taught, they were astounded; Matthew 22:23-33 CJB
Then Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came and began questioning Yeshua, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that ‘if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, then his brother should take the widow and father children for his brother.’ There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife and, when he died, left no offspring. And the second took her and died, leaving no offspring, and the third likewise. Now the seven left no offspring. Last of all, the woman died, too. In the resurrection, when they rise up, whose wife will she be? For all seven had married her.” Yeshua said to them, “Isn’t this the reason you’ve gone astray, because you don’t understand the Scriptures or the power of God? For when they rise up from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. But concerning the dead being raised, haven’t you read in the book of Moses about the burning bush? How God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He’s not the God of the dead, but of the living. You have gone far astray!” Mark 12:18-27 TLV
Now some of the Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection) came to Him, and they questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he is childless, his brother should marry the wife and raise up seed for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; and the first married a wife and died childless, and the second31 and the third married her; and in the same way, all seven died, leaving no children. Finally the woman died also. Therefore, this woman—in the resurrection—whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as a wife.” And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage. For they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him.” And some of the scribes answered and said, “Teacher, You have spoken well.” Luke 20:27-39 LSB
Tz’dukim/ Sadducees came mostly from the priestly aristocracy and upper classes. They were open to Hellenism and closed to the Oral Torah which the P’rushim considered essential rules for everyday Jewish life. They generally did not accept the doctrine of the resurrection or the immortality of the soul, and rejected the divine inspiration of the Nev’im (Prophets) and K’tuvim (Writings) in the TaNaKh (our Old Testament). Sadducees generally centered their interests in political life, of which they were the chief rulers before the destruction of the Second Temple, where their power had resided. Most of the High Priests were Sadducees and they also had a strong role in the Sanhedrin. Instead of sharing the P’rushim‘s (Pharisees’) messianic hopes they took the people’s destiny onto their own hands, fighting or negotiating with the Roman authorities as they thought best, while seeking their own temporal welfare and worldly success.
These Tz’dukim (Sadducies) were trying to establish their argument for a general principal on a very rare, extreme and unlikely case. Yeshua answers that, in founding upon Deuteronomy 25:5 the denial of the resurrection, which their question implies, they are mistaken, and that in a twofold respect: (1) they do not understand the Scriptures, i.e. they fail to see how the reality of eternal life actually underlies many a scriptural utterance; and (2) they do not sufficiently realize the extent of the power of God, that He is the resurrection and life. Although there are many verses from different parts of the TaNaKh that Yeshua could have used to prove resurrection, He chose one from the Torah (which the Sadducees believed possessed supreme authority) and quoted Exodus 3:6. His opponents had cited a passage from Torah; with a passage from Torah Yeshua answers them, showing that if they just believed the scriptures they said they believed they would have no argument with Him.
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40 ESV
One of the Torah scholars came and heard them debating. Seeing that Yeshua had answered them well, he asked Him, “Which commandment is first of all?” Yeshua answered, “The first is, ‘Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. And you shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” “Well said, Teacher,” the Torah scholar said to Him. “You have spoken the truth, that He is echad, and besides Him there is no other! And ‘to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love the neighbor as oneself,’ is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Yeshua saw that he had answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” Mark 12:28-34a TLV
Yeshua took these from the following Torah scriptures: Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:4–5 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask Him any more questions. Matthew 22:41-46 ESV
And no one dared any longer to question Him. While Yeshua was teaching in the Temple, He said, “How is it that the Torah scholars say that the Messiah is Ben-David? David himself, through the Ruach ha-Kodesh, said, ‘Adonai said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies under Your feet.”’ If David himself calls Him ‘Lord,’ in what way is He his son?” And the large crowd was listening to Him with delight. Mark 12:34b-37 TLV
For they no longer dared to ask him any question. But he said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is David’s son? For David himself says in the Book of Psalms, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’ David thus calls him Lord, so how is He his son?” Luke 20: 40-44 ESV
Yeshua challenged them with one of David’s prophetic psalms, Psalm 110:
The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies! Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours. The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath. He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter chiefs over the wide earth. He will drink from the brook by the way; therefore he will lift up his head.
In this Psalm Yeshua is described as king descended from David, and Lord over David, and priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (a theme the writer of Hebrews would later pick up on – Heb. 5:6–10; 6:20; 7:17–21.) He is so much more than the pharisees comprehended when they thought of Messiah.
In His teaching He said, “Watch out for the Torah scholars, who like to walk around in long robes. They like greetings in the marketplaces,the best seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at feasts. They devour widows’ houses and make long prayers as a show. These men will receive greater condemnation!” Mark 12: 38-40 TLV
And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” Luke 20:45-47
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. “But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town,so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. Matthew 23:1-36 ESV
His detractors had disengaged, frustrated by the way He “moved mountains” (ʿōqēr hārîm) as an eminent sage whose profoundness of learning and splendour of virtue overcome all the obstacles and objections of those who tried to contend with Him. None of them had been able to trap Him in His words. Now He turned to His disciples and addressed the crowd for the last time, giving a farewell address that returned to the theme of the Parable of the Vineyard He had shared with them that morning.
He sat down opposite the treasury and began watching how the people were putting money into the offering box. Many rich people were putting in a lot. Then a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. Calling His disciples over, He said to them, “Amen, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those contributing to the box! For they all put in from their surplus; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had, her whole living.” Mark 12:41-44 TLV
Then Yeshua looked up and saw the rich dropping their gifts into the treasury box. He also saw a poor widow dropping in two small copper coins. And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all the rest. For all these put in their gifts from their surplus. But she, out of her poverty, put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4 TLV
Yeshua was now in the treasury, that part of the women’s court where the trumpet-shaped brazen chests (שׁוֹפָרוֹת) were placed for receiving the offerings of those who came to worship. Each of these thirteen chests were fixed to the pillars of the portico which surrounded the court and had an inscription on them signifying for what use the offerings put into them were destined. Here Yeshua drew attention away from those who considered themselves important as His final discourse in the temple focused instead on someone considered of little consequence – a poor widow. What was important to man was of little regard to God, and what God saw as noteworthy was despised by man because it wasn’t seen – the attitudes of the heart.
1. HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/. 2. Stern, David H. Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). 1998. 3. Holy Bible.New International Version. s.l. : Zondervan Publishing House, 1984. 4. —. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020. 5. Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars.Holy Scriptures Tree of Life Version (TLV). s.l. : Baker Books. 6. Translation Committee. The Legacy Standard Bible (LSB). LSB. [Online] https://read.lsbible.org/. 7. Bible Commentaries. John 12:1. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/john/12-1.htm. 8. Abbott, Shari. Jesus’ Last Days Timeline: the Cross and the Resurrection. Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/jesus-last-days-timeline/. 9. —. Was Jesus Crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/crucified/. 10. Bible Study Webmaster. Last Days of Jesus Timeline. Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.biblestudy.org/maps/last-days-of-jesus-timeline.html. 11. Jews for Jesus. Jesus’ Last Week Leading Up to Passover: A Day-by-Day Look. Jews for Jesus. [Online] March 09, 2011. https://jewsforjesus.org/learn/jesus-last-week-leading-up-to-passover-a-day-by-day-look. 12. Köstenberger, Andreas. April 3, AD 33: Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died. Centre for Biblical Studies. [Online] April 8th, 2020. https://cbs.mbts.edu/2020/04/08/april-3-ad-33-why-we-believe-we-can-know-the-exact-date-jesus-died/. 13. Hunt, Michal E. Jesus’ Last Week in Jerusalem. Agape Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/Jesus%20Last%20Week%20in%20Jerusalem.htm. 14. Bond, Helen K. All you ever wanted to know about Jesus’ last week on earth. Brainstorm. [Online] April 9th, 2020. https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2020/0408/950906-all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-jesus-last-week-on-earth/#:~:text=The%20evangelist%20says%20that%20Jesus,disciples%20(Monday%2FTuesday). 15. Forbes, Peter. The Last Week Of Jesus’ Life. Bible Study Manuals. [Online] May 1999. https://www.biblestudymanuals.net/last_week_of_Jesus_life.htm. 16. Blue Letter Bible Minister. Christ :: The Three Days and the Three Nights. Blue Letter Bible. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/crux.cfm. 17. Bible Info staff. Was Jesus in the tomb for three days and three nights? Bible Info. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/jesus-in-tomb-for-three-days-nights#. 18. ‘Dating the Death of Jesus’: Memory and the Religious Imagination. Bond, Helen. 04, s.l. : New Testament Studies, 2013, Vol. 59. 461-475doii: 10.1017/S0028688513000131. 19. Bookman, Doug. A time line and chronology of the Easter Passion Week that includes Gregorian dates, First Century Jewish day/night cycles, and Galilean Jew cycles. Christianity. [Online] June 19th, 2023. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/a-time-line-of-the-passion-week.html. 20. Brannan, Rick. The Last Week of Jesus’ Life on Earth: a Closer Look. Logos. [Online] April 3rd, 2012. https://www.logos.com/grow/jesus-final-week-a-closer-look/. 21. Lacey, Troy. How Many Times Was Jesus Anointed? Answers in Genesis. [Online] May 14th, 2019. https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/how-many-times-was-jesus-anointed/. 22. Wilson, Larry W. Chronology of the Crucifixion Week. Wake Up Am erica Seminars. [Online] March 14th, 2000. https://wake-up.org/time-periods/passover-week-chronology.html. 23. Smith, Pete. Chronology & Synopsis of the Passion Week. Bible.org. [Online] February 25th, 2013. https://bible.org/article/chronology-synopsis-passion-week. 24. Renan, Ernest. Last Week of Jesus. The Life of Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 32023.] https://biblehub.com/library/renan/the_life_of_jesus/chapter_xxiii_last_week_of.htm#1. 25. Chein, Rochel. What was the purpose of “keeping” the Paschal lamb for four days? Chabad. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/657692/jewish/What-was-the-purpose-of-keeping-the-Paschal-lamb-for-four-days.htm. 26. Farr, Stan. The Passover Lamb. Rabbi Yeshua. [Online] 2016. [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://rabbiyeshua.com/articles/passover-lamb. 27. Easton, M.G. Easton’s Bible Dictionary – Bethany. Bible Study Tools. [Online] [Cited: October 23rd, 2023.] https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/bethany/. 28. . ANCIENT JEWS & CLEANLINESS. Early Church History. [Online] [Cited: October 23rd, 2023.] https://earlychurchhistory.org/medicine/ancient-jews-cleanliness/. 29. MDiv, Rick Lanser. THE HEBREW CALENDAR OF THE SECOND TEMPLE ERA. The Shiloh Excavations. [Online] March 17th, 2023. https://biblearchaeology.org/abr-projects/the-daniel-9-24-27-project-2/5035-the-hebrew-calendar-of-the-second-temple-era. 30. Encyclopaedia Judaica. Israel Environment & Nature: Fig. Jewish Virtual Library. [Online] [Cited: October 27th, 2023.] https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/fig. 31. Bible Focus. The Fig Tree and Israel. Bible Focus staff. [Online] May 12th, 2007. https://biblefocus.net/consider/v15FigTree/Fig_Tree_and_Israel.html. 32. Andrews, Samuel J. The Life of Our Lord Upon the Earth – Part VI – Last Teaching in the Temple. Bible Study Tools. [Online] 1904. [Cited: November 6th, 2023.] https://www.biblestudytools.com/classics/andrews-the-life-of-our-lord-upon-the-earth/part-vi/lasxt-teaching-in-the-temple.html. 33. What Does It Mean to Cast a Mountain into the Sea? Another Look at Mark 11:23. Ortlund, Dane C. 2, s.l. : Bulletin for Biblical Research, 2018, Vol. 28. https://doi.org/10.5325/bullbiblrese.28.2.0218. 34. Hort, Fenton John Anthony. Mark 11 – Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: November 6th, 2023.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/cambridge/mark/11.htm. 35. Roberts, Alastair. The Politics of the Vineyard of Israel—Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:7-15; Matthew 21:33-46. Political Theology. [Online] October 2nd, 2017. https://politicaltheology.com/the-politics-of-israel-the-vineyard-isaiah-51-7-psalm-807-15-matthew-2133-46-alastair-roberts/. 36. The Bible Says Commentary author. Matthew 21:33-41 meaning. The Bible Says. [Online] [Cited: November 7th, 2023.] https://thebiblesays.com/commentary/matt/matt-21/matthew-2133-41/. 37. Koester, Nancy. Commentary on Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24. Working Preacher. [Online] April 12th, 2009. https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/resurrection-of-our-lord-2/commentary-on-psalm-1181-2-14-24-3#:~:text=%E2%80%9CThis%20is%20the%20day%20that,later%20on%2C%20from%20the%2 38. Padfield, David. There Is Still Room – An Indepth Examination of the Parable of he Wedding Feast . Padfield. [Online] 2021. [Cited: November 8th, 2023.] https://www.padfield.com/acrobat/sermons/there-is-still-room.pdf. 39. Gafni, Professor Isaiah. Herod the Great – Herod’s rule accomplished a political and social revolution. My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: November 12th, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/herod-the-great/. 40. Schiffman, Lawrence H. The Land of Israel Under Roman Rule – Judea becomes a Roman tributary. My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: November 12th, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/palestine-under-roman-rule/.
In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…
* How do you understand Jesus’ words “if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.“? * How did Jesus respond to the accusations that He lacked the authority to do what He was doing? * What was the sign of the Jew’s covenant with God and how were their leaders planning a most heinous breach of God’s covenant with them? * What do we learn from the parable of the wedding feast? * Explain the significance of the Psalms that Jesus’ quoted from when answering His accusers.
Please read Matthew 21:12-19, Mark 11:12-18, Luke 19:45-48 & John 12:20-50
11th Nissan – Four days before Pesach (Passover)
Now in the morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. And seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” Matthew 21:18-19a LSB
The next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if He would find any fruit on it. When He came up to it, He found nothing except leaves, because it wasn’t the season for figs. And He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening. Mark 11:12-14 TLB
The fig tree has many branches, large leaves, and widely spread boughs. Large, shady fig trees are to be found in Israel, especially on the banks of streams and near springs, and are among the most beautiful trees in the country. The fig tree sheds its leaves in winter, at the end of which, even before the tree is covered with leaves, the paggim (“early figs,” Song 2:13) begin to develop in the form of small fruits, which are really tiny flowers covered with a soft skin, and which continue to grow and ripen throughout spring and into the summer months. The fruit of the fig tree appears before the leaves in spring, and, because the fruit is green it blends in with the leaves right up until it is almost ripe. This particular tree drew Yeshua’s attention because it already had a full covering of leaves. When Yeshua and His talmidim saw from a distance that the tree was covered in fully formed leaves, they would have expected to see much fruit on closer inspection, even though it was too early in the season for that fruit to be ripe.
Hosea 9:10 compared the young nation of Israel to bakkurot (“first-ripe figs“, early fruit on a fig tree in its first season), which are delicious and eagerly sought after (Isaiah 28:4; Jeremiah 24:2). Fig trees are prolific and will bear two crops of fruit each year. The first crop appears in spring before the leaves. The fruit is green and is inconspicuous among the leaves as they unfold, until the time of ripening which is from about May in Israel. If a fig tree has leaves but no fruit, the tree is barren.
In Israel, the presence of a fruitful fig tree was considered to be a symbol of blessing and prosperity for the nation. Likewise, the absence or death of a fig tree symbolized divine judgment and rejection. This fig tree, covered in lush green leaves but having no fruit hiding among them, represented the barren and empty spiritual state of Israel. It looked vibrant and healthy from a distance, had a magnificent temple of white marble and gold, had an appearance of godliness as Jews from around the world gathered together in Jerusalem and went through ritual purification ceremonies to prepare for the Passover celebration, but still it was fruitless. It wasn’t just that the fruit was immature because it was not yet the season for picking the figs – there was none. This mirrored what Yeshua would find when He arrived in the temple that day – and the cursing of the fig tree reflected His turning over of the money changer’s tables and illustrated His right to do so.
Then Yeshua entered the Temple and drove out all those selling and buying in the Temple. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those selling doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of thieves’!” Matthew 21:12-13 TLV
Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He was not permitting anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbers’ den.” And the chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching. Mark 11:15-18 LSB
When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” Luke 19:45-46 NIV
There was no fruit of repentance. The fig tree was barren. Yeshua had rebuked the merchants and money changers and chased them out during the days of cleansing before His first Passover after being baptized by Yohanan (Yeshua’s 2nd lesson – Passover – Renewal Blog), but nothing had changed. How He had longed to see evidence of the people’s love of God and honoring of His holiness, but for all their religious practices, all their large, lush show of leaves, there was no fruit. Even now, instead of repenting “thechief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him“.
The blind and lame came to Him in the Temple, and He healed them. But when the ruling kohanim and Torah scholars (chief priests and the scribes) saw the wonders He performed, and the children crying out in the Temple and saying, “Hoshia-na to Ben-David,” (Hosanna to the Son of David) they became indignant. And they said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Yeshua said to them. “Haven’t you ever read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing toddlers You have prepared praise for Yourself’?” Matthew 21:14-16 TLV
The blind and the lame came to Yeshua in the temple and He healed them. Yeshua was harsh with those misusing the temple but compassionate with those who came seeking His healing. He had come for the blind and the lame. He had come to give sight and to be the Way men walked. This show of authority followed by healing compassion excited the imagination of the people who were looking for a Messiah who would with authority throw out their Roman overlords and with compassion heal His own people. The children repeated the chorus from the triumphal entry the day before – they knew and enjoyed this song. In response to the indignant rebuke of the ruling kohanim and Torah scholars, Yeshua directed them to one of the Messianic Psalms:
From the mouths of children and infants You have ordained praise on account of Your adversaries, to silence the enemy and avenger. When I behold Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place— what is man that You are mindful of him, or the Son of Man that You care for Him? You made Him a little lower than the angels; You crowned Him with glory and honor. You made him ruler of the works of Your hands; You have placed everything under his feet: all sheep and oxen, and even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! Psalm 8
All this was taking place in the temple’s “Gentiles Courtyard.” This space for peoples of all nations to come and pray and seek the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob which had been filled with Jews buying and selling all the things the Jews needed for their sacrificial worship beyond the Gate Beautiful. Temple guards were charged by the chief priests to ensure that any Gentile who attempted to pass from the noisy marketplace of the Gentiles Courtyard into the inner sacred Jewish worship space was immediately killed.
After Yeshua healed all the lame and blind who had come to Him, He passed through the gate into the Jews only section of the temple.
Now there were some Greeks (Gentiles) among those who were going up to worship at the feast. These came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in the Galilee. “Sir,” they said, “we want to see Yeshua.” Philip comes and tells Andrew; Andrew and Philip come and tell Yeshua.
Yeshua answers them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified! Amen, amen I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it produces much fruit. He who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it forever. If any man serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there also will My servant be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. “Now My soul is troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But it was for this reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name!” Then a voice came out of heaven, “I have glorified it, and again I will glorify it!” Therefore the crowd that was standing there and heard it was saying that it had thundered. Others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” Yeshua responded, “This voice hasn’t come for My sake, but for yours. Now is the judgment of this world! Now the prince of this world will be driven out! And as I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to Myself.” He said this to show the kind of death He was about to die. The crowd answered Him, “We’ve heard from Scripture that the Messiah remains forever. How can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” Therefore Yeshua said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness will not overtake you. The one who walks in darkness doesn’t know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light so that you may become sons of light.” John 12:20-35 TLV
Those who came to Philip were Gentiles, but proselytes to Judaism, and worshippers of the true God, persons who had come to Jerusalem, it seems, for the express purpose of worshipping Him. It is likely that they had heard of the Messiah, and cherished expectations of His coming: but, being foreigners, they had never seen Yeshua. The same came, therefore, to Philip, which was of Bethsaida — This circumstance is mentioned to show how these men came to apply themselves to Philip. Probably they were Syro-Phœnicians, dwelling about Tyre and Sidon, and who, having commerce with Galilee, might be acquainted with Philip. It appears that Yeshua had already passed from the Court of the Gentiles, through the carefully guarded gate and into the area set aside for Jews to worship, these Gentiles could not pass into there to try to see Him.
Yeshua‘s response appears to be avoiding the question. Instead, He speaks of the hour having come. It was at last the time for Him to be glorified, but this glorification was not what we would think. It would not involve Him being praised and honoured by mankind, but rather being despised, rejected, mocked, beaten and crucified – “falls to the earth and dies“. There was nothing glorious to the natural eyes about death on a cross – it was deliberately designed to be the most shameful, torturous way to die. Yeshua held no illusions about the horrors He was soon to suffer, this would be no easy ride cocooned in God’s grace and peace but raw, overwhelming, unremitting pain and suffering: “Now My soul is troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’?“ The only thing glorious about what was to come was His total yielding to the Father’s will, His loving us so much that He laid down His life for us.
Then Yeshua addressed the desire of Gentiles to see Him: Now is the judgment of this world! Now the prince of this world will be driven out! And as I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to Myself. His salvation was going to be open to all people from all nations. The prince of this world who had blinded the eyes of the peoples to God’s glory was going to be driven out and He would draw all people to Himself.
The Jewish crowd understood what Yeshua meant when He declared that the: The Son of Man must be lifted up, and it utterly confused them. How could He be crucified, how could He die, if Messiah remains forever? He responded by exhorting them to believe in and walk in the light (Himself) while He was still with them, then left the temple area and hid himself from the crowd.
But even though He had performed so many signs before them, they weren’t trusting in Him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet, who said, “Adonai, who has believed our report? To whom has the arm of Adonai been revealed?” For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah also said, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they might not see with their eyes nor understand with their hearts and turn back, and I would heal them.” Isaiah said these things because he saw His glory and spoke of Him. John 12:37-41 TLV
In quoting from the first verse of Isaiah 53, John is directing our attention to the whole of this Messianic prophesy:
Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of Yahweh been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our peace fell upon Him, And by His wounds we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But Yahweh has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living, That for the transgression of my people, striking was due to Him? So His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But Yahweh was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If You would place His soul as a guilt offering, He will see His seed, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of Yahweh will succeed in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will divide for Him a portion with the many, And He will divide the spoil with the strong; Because He poured out His soul to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.
Despite all the miracles, including raising Lazareth from the dead, the crowds were not ready to put their trust in a Messiah who was going to suffer and die for them instead of destroying the Romans for them.
Next, He takes us to Isaiah 6:9-13 ESV: And he said, “Go, and say to this people
“‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said: “Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste, and the Lord removes people far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled.” The holy seed is its stump.
This had been illustrated by Yeshua cursing the fig tree. Jerusalem, and all the Jewish cities, were going to be laid waste and God’s people removed far away. About 33 years after Yeshua‘s death and resurrection a series of large-scale revolts by the Jews of Judaea and the Eastern Mediterranean were launched against the Roman Empire. These are referred to as the Jewish-Roman wars and took place between 66 and 135 AD. The Jewish–Roman wars had a devastating impact on the Jewish people, transforming them from a major population in the Eastern Mediterranean into a dispersed and persecuted minority. The First Jewish-Roman War culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem, and other towns and villages in Judaea, resulting in significant loss of life and a considerable segment of the population being uprooted or displaced. Those who remained were stripped of any form of political autonomy. Subsequently, the brutal suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt resulted in even more severe consequences. Judea witnessed a significant depopulation, as many Jews were killed, expelled, or sold into slavery. Jews were banned from residing in the vicinity of Jerusalem, which the Romans rebuilt into the pagan colony of Aelia Capitolina, and the province of Judaea was renamed Syria Palaestina. Despite this devastation and destruction, the worst and longest lasting in all Jewish history, God held out the hope to His people that even as the terebinth and oak when cut down retain the principle of vitality in their roots, which will again spring up into a great tree (cf. Job 14:7 ff.), so the ruined Israel would still contain the indestructible germ of the future kingdom of God, the “holy seed” remains wrapped up in it. The people knew this had come to pass in their history, with the Babylonian exile, but an even greater destruction awaited them, yet still not without hope.
Nevertheless many, even among the leaders, put their trust in Him. But because of the Pharisees, they were not confessing Yeshua, so they would not be thrown out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory of men more than the glory of God. John 12:42-43 TLV
Many even of the Sanhedrin believed. We know of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, apparently there were others who remain unnamed. They did not yet, however, have the courage to proclaim their conviction. They did not want to be thrown out and hoped, rather, to change things from within. The Holy Spirit had not yet fallen on them to empower them to stand up to those who threatened dire consequences for anyone who believed. As we will see, even Peter withered under the gaze of Yeshua‘s enemies.
Yeshua spoke these things, then left and hid Himself from them. John 12:36 TLV
When evening came, they left the city. Mark 11:19
Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and He spent the night there. Matthew 21:17 TLV
And He was teaching every day in the Temple. The ruling kohanim (priests) and the Torah scholars, even the leaders of the people, were trying to destroy Him; but they could not find any way to do it, because all the people were hanging on His words. Luke 19:47-48 TLV
1. HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/. 2. Stern, David H. Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). 1998. 3. Holy Bible.New International Version. s.l. : Zondervan Publishing House, 1984. 4. —. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020. 5. Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars.Holy Scriptures Tree of Life Version (TLV). s.l. : Baker Books. 6. Translation Committee. The Legacy Standard Bible (LSB). LSB. [Online] https://read.lsbible.org/. 7. Bible Commentaries. Matthew 21:14. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: November 1st, 2023.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/21-14.htm. 8. Abbott, Shari. Jesus’ Last Days Timeline: the Cross and the Resurrection. Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/jesus-last-days-timeline/. 9. —. Was Jesus Crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/crucified/. 10. Bible Study Webmaster. Last Days of Jesus Timeline. Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.biblestudy.org/maps/last-days-of-jesus-timeline.html. 11. Jews for Jesus. Jesus’ Last Week Leading Up to Passover: A Day-by-Day Look. Jews for Jesus. [Online] March 09, 2011. https://jewsforjesus.org/learn/jesus-last-week-leading-up-to-passover-a-day-by-day-look. 12. Köstenberger, Andreas. April 3, AD 33: Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died. Centre for Biblical Studies. [Online] April 8th, 2020. https://cbs.mbts.edu/2020/04/08/april-3-ad-33-why-we-believe-we-can-know-the-exact-date-jesus-died/. 13. Hunt, Michal E. Jesus’ Last Week in Jerusalem. Agape Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/Jesus%20Last%20Week%20in%20Jerusalem.htm. 14. Bond, Helen K. All you ever wanted to know about Jesus’ last week on earth. Brainstorm. [Online] April 9th, 2020. https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2020/0408/950906-all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-jesus-last-week-on-earth/#:~:text=The%20evangelist%20says%20that%20Jesus,disciples%20(Monday%2FTuesday). 15. Forbes, Peter. The Last Week Of Jesus’ Life. Bible Study Manuals. [Online] May 1999. https://www.biblestudymanuals.net/last_week_of_Jesus_life.htm. 16. Blue Letter Bible Minister. Christ :: The Three Days and the Three Nights. Blue Letter Bible. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/crux.cfm. 17. Bible Info staff. Was Jesus in the tomb for three days and three nights? Bible Info. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/jesus-in-tomb-for-three-days-nights#. 18. ‘Dating the Death of Jesus’: Memory and the Religious Imagination. Bond, Helen. 04, s.l. : New Testament Studies, 2013, Vol. 59. 461-475doii: 10.1017/S0028688513000131. 19. Bookman, Doug. A time line and chronology of the Easter Passion Week that includes Gregorian dates, First Century Jewish day/night cycles, and Galilean Jew cycles. Christianity. [Online] June 19th, 2023. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/a-time-line-of-the-passion-week.html. 20. Brannan, Rick. The Last Week of Jesus’ Life on Earth: a Closer Look. Logos. [Online] April 3rd, 2012. https://www.logos.com/grow/jesus-final-week-a-closer-look/. 21. Lacey, Troy. How Many Times Was Jesus Anointed? Answers in Genesis. [Online] May 14th, 2019. https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/how-many-times-was-jesus-anointed/. 22. Wilson, Larry W. Chronology of the Crucifixion Week. Wake Up Am erica Seminars. [Online] March 14th, 2000. https://wake-up.org/time-periods/passover-week-chronology.html. 23. Engle, Karen. Palm Sunday, and Why the ‘Date’ Is So Significant. Logos. [Online] March 2023. https://www.logos.com/grow/palm-sunday-and-why-the-date-is-so-significant/. 24. Smith, Pete. Chronology & Synopsis of the Passion Week. Bible.org. [Online] February 25th, 2013. https://bible.org/article/chronology-synopsis-passion-week. 25. Renan, Ernest. Last Week of Jesus. The Life of Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 32023.] https://biblehub.com/library/renan/the_life_of_jesus/chapter_xxiii_last_week_of.htm#1. 26. Craig, William Lane. The Triumphal Entry. Reasonable Faith. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/jesus-of-nazareth/the-triumphal-entry. 27. Haktfoed, Conn. Arrival at Bethany. The Life of Our Lord Upon the Earth. [Online] [Cited: October 21, 2023.] https://www.biblestudytools.com/classics/andrews-the-life-of-our-lord-upon-the-earth/part-vi/arrival-at-bethany.html#:~:text=Porter%20estimates%20the%20former%20at%20five%20and%20a,when%20the%20supper%20was%20made%20for%20the%20Lord.. 28. Chein, Rochel. What was the purpose of “keeping” the Paschal lamb for four days? Chabad. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/657692/jewish/What-was-the-purpose-of-keeping-the-Paschal-lamb-for-four-days.htm. 29. Dr. Paul Jehle. Lamb Selection Day (Shabbat HaGadol). Plymouth Rock Foundation. [Online] April 10th, 2014. https://www.tntchurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/04-LambSelectionDay-04-10-14-PJ.pdf. 30. Farr, Stan. The Passover Lamb. Rabbi Yeshua. [Online] 2016. [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://rabbiyeshua.com/articles/passover-lamb. 31. Easton, M.G. Easton’s Bible Dictionary – Bethany. Bible Study Tools. [Online] [Cited: October 23rd, 2023.] https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/bethany/. 32. Baker, Stephen. Why Did Jesus Ride a Donkey for His Triumphant Entry? Bible Study Tools. [Online] March 31st, 2023. https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/why-did-jesus-ride-donkey-triumphant-entry.html#SnippetTab. 33. Michael Houdmann. What is the significance of the triumphal entry? Got Questions. [Online] [Cited: October 23rd, 2023.] https://www.gotquestions.org/triumphal-entry.html. 34. . ANCIENT JEWS & CLEANLINESS. Early Church History. [Online] [Cited: October 23rd, 2023.] https://earlychurchhistory.org/medicine/ancient-jews-cleanliness/. 35. MDiv, Rick Lanser. THE HEBREW CALENDAR OF THE SECOND TEMPLE ERA. The Shiloh Excavations. [Online] March 17th, 2023. https://biblearchaeology.org/abr-projects/the-daniel-9-24-27-project-2/5035-the-hebrew-calendar-of-the-second-temple-era. 36. Encyclopaedia Judaica. Israel Environment & Nature: Fig. Jewish Virtual Library. [Online] [Cited: October 27th, 2023.] https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/fig. 37. Bible Focus. The Fig Tree and Israel. Bible Focus staff. [Online] May 12th, 2007. https://biblefocus.net/consider/v15FigTree/Fig_Tree_and_Israel.html.
In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…
* How did the fig tree represent Israel? * Describe how both the mercy and severity of God was displayed on this day. * What was Jesus’ response to the suffering He knew He was going to endure? * How do we respond when suffering unjustly, do you have examples from your own life? * How do we get the courage to speak boldly of Jesus in the face of persecution?
44 Yeshua cried out, “Whoever puts trust in Me believes not in Me but in the One who sent Me! And whoever beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me. As light I have come into the world, so that everyone who trusts in Me should not remain in darkness. “If anyone hears My words but doesn’t keep them, I do not judge him; for I came to save the world, not to judge the world. The one who rejects Me and doesn’t receive My words has a judge; the word I spoke will judge him on the last day. For I did not speak on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has commanded Me what to say and speak. 50 And I know that His commandment is life everlasting. Therefore what I say, I say just as the Father has told Me.” John 12:44-50 TLV
Please read: Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44 and John 12:1-19
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray Him, objected,“Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” John 12:1-8 NIV
9th Nissan: Six days before the Pesach – the Pesach sacrifice was slaughtered on Nissan 14th. In the ancient world when one counted a sequence, one counted the day that started the sequence as #1-the ancients had no concept of a ‘0’ place value. Therefore, counting as the ancients counted, six days before Nisan 14th, would be Nisan 9th.
The journey from Jericho to Bethany is 17 miles (27.3 kilometers) with an elevation increase of about 3,400 feet (1,060 m).
These pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem for Pesach (Passover) would have spent most of the day walking uphill. Before He reached Jerusalem, Yeshua turned off to visit with His dear friends in Bethany.
The last time He had been in Bethany, Yeshua had raised Lazareth from the dead. Many had joined the sisters in mourning for four days before Yeshua arrived and brought Lazareth back to life, so all knew of this incredible miracle that had been done in their midst. They had likely heard that He was on His way from Jericho and spent most of the day preparing to welcome Him with this dinner in His honour.
Lazareth was among those who ate with Him, Martha served and Mary expressed her love in a most extravagant way that changed the atmosphere of the whole house. In defending Mary’s actions Yeshua quotes from Deuteronomy 15:11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. The command to be openhanded towards the poor is for all people in all times, but this was the only time Mary had opportunity to prepare Yeshua’s body for burial and be that living example of the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2).
Now a large crowd of Judeans knew He was there and came, not only for Yeshua but also to see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. So the ruling kohanim(chief priests) made plans to kill Lazarus also,because on account of him many of the Jewish people were going and putting their trust in Yeshua. John 12:9-11 TLV
Some of the pilgrims who had come from Jericho would have told this in Jerusalem, less than two miles away, where pilgrims were earnestly asking about Him (John 11:55). Great numbers of the people wished to see the man that had been raised from the dead, and even more so, the Man who had raised him. Messianic expectations were running at an all-time high. In the celebration of Pesach (Passover), the Festival of Redemption, the people had an eschatological hope. It was believed that the Ultimate Redemption, which was to be brought about through the Messiah, would take place at Passover. The expectation was that Messiah would be a second Moses who would lead Israel out from under the bondage of the nations. Hence, two of Yeshua‘s talmidim had earlier asked to sit at His right hand and left hand in the kingdom to come. For most of the Jews, putting their trust in Yeshua involved such messianic expectations for this coming Pesach.
Scholars estimate that the usual population of Jerusalem was around 40,000 and it could escalate to six times that number during Pesach. It was a time of much overcrowding, much religious fervor and heightened expectations of a Messianic overthrow of the Romans, so it was also a time when extra Roman soldiers were assigned to the city and their army was on heightened alert, ready to crush anything that looked like it could become an insurrection. Having a noisy parade going into Jerusalem at this time of year was not a safe thing to do, and it caused heightened fears among the Jewish authorities who wanted to keep a good reputation with Rome to avoid any Roman reprisals.
10th Nissan – Five days before the Pesach: In Exodus chapter 12, the Torah gives instructions for the celebration of Passover. The children of Israel were to choose a lamb for the Pesach sacrifice on the 10th day of the 1st month (Nissan), 4 days before the actual slaughtering was to be done: Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month, each man is to take a lamb for his family one lamb for the household. …Your lamb is to be without blemish… You must watch over it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to slaughter it at twilight (lit: between the evenings). It is on the 10th day of the 1st month that Yeshua entered Jerusalem, and the people made their choice.
And when they had approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” And this took place in order that what was spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled, saying, “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold your King is coming to you, Lowly, and mounted on a donkey, And on a colt, the foal of a pack animal.’” And the disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their garments on them; and He sat on the garments. And most of the crowd spread their garments in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. And the crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were crying out, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!” And when He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.” Matthew 21:1-11 LSB
And as they approached Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples, and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied there, on which no one has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it’; and immediately he will send it back here.” They went away and found a colt tied at the door, outside in the street; and they untied it. And some of the bystanders were saying to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them just as Jesus had said, and they gave them permission. They brought the colt to Jesus and put their cloaks on it; and He sat on it. And many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. And those who went in front and those who followed were shouting: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!” Mark:11:1-10 NASB
When He got near Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of the disciples,saying, “Go into the village ahead. As you enter, you will find a colt tied up, that no one has ever sat upon. Untie it and bring it. And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say, ‘The Master needs it.’” Those who were headed out found things just as He told them. Then as they were untying the colt, his owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Master needs it.” Then they brought it to Yeshua, threw their cloaks on the colt, and set Yeshua on it. And as He went along, the people were spreading their cloaks on the road. When Yeshua came near the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began to rejoice. They praised God with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of Adonai! Shalom in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!” But answering, Yeshua said, “I tell you that if these keep silent, the stones will shout out!” Luke 19:30-40 TLV
The next day, the huge crowd that had come up for the feast heard that Yeshua was coming to Jerusalem. So they took palm branches and went out to meet Him, shouting, “‘Hoshia-na! Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” Finding a young donkey, Yeshua sat on it, as it is written, “Fear not, Daughter of Zion! Look! Your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.” His disciples did not understand these things at first. But when Yeshua was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that the crowd had done these things for Him. So the crowd, which had been with Yeshua when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, kept on telling everyone about it. It was also for this reason that the crowd came out to meet Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign. So the Pharisees said to each other, “You see that you can’t do anything. Look, the whole world has taken off after Him!” John 12:12-19 TLV
It was not far from Bethany (house of dates) to Bethphage (house of figs) where two disciples were instructed to go to get the donkey colt for Yeshua to ride into Jerusalem, the city of David. This is the only time He is recorded as having ridden anywhere instead of walking. It signified that Yeshua was coming as the prophesied king: “Say to the daughter of Zion, behold your king is coming to you, gentle and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.” (Zechariah 9:9). A king going to war rode a horse, or sat in a chariot pulled by horses, but a king coming in peace rode a donkey as he was conveyed to his palace – Yeshua was conveyed by this donkey to the temple, which, as a twelve-year-old, He had described as “My Father’s house“. The Triumphal Entry was reminiscent of David’s son Solomon riding on a donkey to his coronation (1 Kings 1:28-40). The presence of a donkey also harkened to Abraham’s journey to sacrifice his son Issac (Genesis 22:1-19). The spreading of cloaks was an act of homage for royalty (see 2 Kings 9:13) as the people recognised Yeshua as the blessed king coming in the name of the Lord and hoped to see Him miraculously deliver them from Roman rule.
Zachariah’s prophesy contained more than just details about riding on a donkey, it went on to proclaim His victory over all the armies of the world and rule over the whole earth – this is the deliverance they were expecting from their Messiah:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. Zechariah 9:9-12 (NIV)
The people were crying out: “‘Hoshia-na! Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!”
It’s a phrase found in the Hebrew Scriptures, Psalm 118, which rejoices in the Lord’s triumph. It is one of the Messianic Psalms that Yeshua quoted from when teaching the people:
Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. 21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord. 27 The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! 28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. 29 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 118:19-29
By verse 22 of this Psalm, the rejected stone has become the “cornerstone”. This is a marvelous work — by God’s doing — which then launches the day of salvation, verse 23-24. This day of salvation is the long-anticipated deliverance that Israel thought might never come. Verse 25 captures the hope: “Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success!”
Now this salvation and success was to come through a person — the Messiah of God — the one sent to rescue His people. So goes the shout in verse 26: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Without doubt, this rambling crowd in Jerusalem, taking its cues from Psalm 118, is declaring Yeshua to be the Messiah come to deliver Israel. That’s why Luke records the Pharisees telling Yeshua to rebuke His disciples. Do you hear what they are saying? They think you’re the Messiah come to save us. Tell them to shut up. Anger and fear are closely related, fear of how the Romans might respond if they understood the significance of what the crowd was shouting aroused murderous anger in the Jewish leaders. The Hope of Israel had come, but the religious leaders responded out of fear instead of faith, and so failed to recognize the day and take hold of that which would lead to shalom (peace, restoration, wholeness and wellbeing).
Those who were shouting so joyfully in recognizing Yeshua as Messiah, failed to fully understand the significance of Him riding a donkey instead of a horse. They expected Him to march into the city and overthrow Rome, to destroy all their instruments of war. They wanted to be free from Gentile oppression, even if by force, even if by threats and plagues and a split sea, as they recounted so well from Moses’ deliverance from Egypt. They wanted another exodus, one that expelled and annihilated the Romans, and every other Gentile army.
As He drew near and saw Jerusalem, He wept over her, saying, “If only you had recognized this day the things that lead to shalom! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will surround you with barricades and hem you in on all sides. And they will smash you to the ground—you and your children within you. And they won’t leave within you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44 TLV
Instead of sounding the battle cry as He drew near to Jerusalem, Yeshua wept. For all their praises, these people had not understood what He’d come to deliver them from.
As the road from Bethany crossed the ridge and dipped down the western slope of the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem was spread out before them with its magnificent gilded white marble temple flashing resplendently in the spring sunlight. And yet this vision evoked not awe in Yeshua but heartsickness. He wept over her. The word translated “wept” is the Greek verb klaiō, “weep, cry, bewail.” Yeshua burst into sobbing. He wept for their blindness, and for the pain of plunder, death and total destruction of Jerusalem this would lead to in 70AD.
And Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple area; and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late. Mark 11:11 NASB
By the time of Christ, ceremonial cleanliness by water had become institutionalized into a purity ritual involving full immersion in a mikveh. Purification through full immersion in a Mikveh was required of all Jews before they could enter the Temple or participate in major festivals. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims converged on Jerusalem for Passover and other major feasts. So, even with all the Mikvehs around the temple (large and small) it may still have taken some time waiting to go through the purification process before Yeshua could enter the temple that afternoon. It was already late by the time He entered the temple courts, and everything was coming to an end for the day. The remnants of the day’s activities were keenly observed before Yeshua led the twelve back to Bethany.
1. HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/. 2. Stern, David H. Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). 1998. 3. Holy Bible.New International Version. s.l. : Zondervan Publishing House, 1984. 4. —. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020. 5. Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars.Holy Scriptures Tree of Life Version (TLV). s.l. : Baker Books. 6. Translation Committee. The Legacy Standard Bible (LSB). LSB. [Online] https://read.lsbible.org/. 7. Bible Commentaries. John 12:1. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/john/12-1.htm. 8. Abbott, Shari. Jesus’ Last Days Timeline: the Cross and the Resurrection. Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/jesus-last-days-timeline/. 9. —. Was Jesus Crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? Reasons for Hope* Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://reasonsforhopejesus.com/crucified/. 10. Bible Study Webmaster. Last Days of Jesus Timeline. Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.biblestudy.org/maps/last-days-of-jesus-timeline.html. 11. Jews for Jesus. Jesus’ Last Week Leading Up to Passover: A Day-by-Day Look. Jews for Jesus. [Online] March 09, 2011. https://jewsforjesus.org/learn/jesus-last-week-leading-up-to-passover-a-day-by-day-look. 12. Köstenberger, Andreas. April 3, AD 33: Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died. Centre for Biblical Studies. [Online] April 8th, 2020. https://cbs.mbts.edu/2020/04/08/april-3-ad-33-why-we-believe-we-can-know-the-exact-date-jesus-died/. 13. Hunt, Michal E. Jesus’ Last Week in Jerusalem. Agape Bible Study. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/Jesus%20Last%20Week%20in%20Jerusalem.htm. 14. Bond, Helen K. All you ever wanted to know about Jesus’ last week on earth. Brainstorm. [Online] April 9th, 2020. https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2020/0408/950906-all-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-jesus-last-week-on-earth/#:~:text=The%20evangelist%20says%20that%20Jesus,disciples%20(Monday%2FTuesday).. 15. Forbes, Peter. The Last Week Of Jesus’ Life. Bible Study Manuals. [Online] May 1999. https://www.biblestudymanuals.net/last_week_of_Jesus_life.htm. 16. Blue Letter Bible Minister. Christ :: The Three Days and the Three Nights. Blue Letter Bible. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/crux.cfm. 17. Bible Info staff. Was Jesus in the tomb for three days and three nights? Bible Info. [Online] [Cited: October 20th, 2023.] https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/jesus-in-tomb-for-three-days-nights#. 18. ‘Dating the Death of Jesus’: Memory and the Religious Imagination. Bond, Helen. 04, s.l. : New Testament Studies, 2013, Vol. 59. 461-475doii: 10.1017/S0028688513000131. 19. Bookman, Doug. A time line and chronology of the Easter Passion Week that includes Gregorian dates, First Century Jewish day/night cycles, and Galilean Jew cycles. Christianity. [Online] June 19th, 2023. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/a-time-line-of-the-passion-week.html. 20. Brannan, Rick. The Last Week of Jesus’ Life on Earth: a Closer Look. Logos. [Online] April 3rd, 2012. https://www.logos.com/grow/jesus-final-week-a-closer-look/. 21. Lacey, Troy. How Many Times Was Jesus Anointed? Answers in Genesis. [Online] May 14th, 2019. https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/how-many-times-was-jesus-anointed/. 22. Wilson, Larry W. Chronology of the Crucifixion Week. Wake Up Am erica Seminars. [Online] March 14th, 2000. https://wake-up.org/time-periods/passover-week-chronology.html. 23. Engle, Karen. Palm Sunday, and Why the ‘Date’ Is So Significant. Logos. [Online] March 2023. https://www.logos.com/grow/palm-sunday-and-why-the-date-is-so-significant/. 24. Smith, Pete. Chronology & Synopsis of the Passion Week. Bible.org. [Online] February 25th, 2013. https://bible.org/article/chronology-synopsis-passion-week. 25. Renan, Ernest. Last Week of Jesus. The Life of Jesus. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 32023.] https://biblehub.com/library/renan/the_life_of_jesus/chapter_xxiii_last_week_of.htm#1. 26. Craig, William Lane. The Triumphal Entry. Reasonable Faith. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/jesus-of-nazareth/the-triumphal-entry. 27. Haktfoed, Conn. Arrival at Bethany. The Life of Our Lord Upon the Earth. [Online] [Cited: October 21, 2023.] https://www.biblestudytools.com/classics/andrews-the-life-of-our-lord-upon-the-earth/part-vi/arrival-at-bethany.html#:~:text=Porter%20estimates%20the%20former%20at%20five%20and%20a,when%20the%20supper%20was%20made%20for%20the%20Lord.. 28. Chein, Rochel. What was the purpose of “keeping” the Paschal lamb for four days? Chabad. [Online] [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/657692/jewish/What-was-the-purpose-of-keeping-the-Paschal-lamb-for-four-days.htm. 29. Dr. Paul Jehle. Lamb Selection Day (Shabbat HaGadol). Plymouth Rock Foundation. [Online] April 10th, 2014. https://www.tntchurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/04-LambSelectionDay-04-10-14-PJ.pdf. 30. Farr, Stan. The Passover Lamb. Rabbi Yeshua. [Online] 2016. [Cited: October 21st, 2023.] https://rabbiyeshua.com/articles/passover-lamb. 31. Easton, M.G. Easton’s Bible Dictionary – Bethany. Bible Study Tools. [Online] [Cited: October 23rd, 2023.] https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/bethany/. 32. Baker, Stephen. Why Did Jesus Ride a Donkey for His Triumphant Entry? Bible Study Tools. [Online] March 31st, 2023. https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/why-did-jesus-ride-donkey-triumphant-entry.html#SnippetTab. 33. Michael Houdmann. What is the significance of the triumphal entry? Got Questions. [Online] [Cited: October 23rd, 2023.] https://www.gotquestions.org/triumphal-entry.html. 34. . ANCIENT JEWS & CLEANLINESS. Early Church History. [Online] [Cited: October 23rd, 2023.] https://earlychurchhistory.org/medicine/ancient-jews-cleanliness/. 35. Parnell, Jonathan. The Problem of Palm Sunday. Desiring God. [Online] April 134, 2014. https://desiringgod.org/articles/the-problem-of-palm-sunday
In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…
* Describe a time when you witnessed someone express their love for Jesus in an extravagant way, and how others responded to this. * What reasons did the chief priests have for being so upset that many of the people were putting their trust in Jesus? * What was the significance of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem being on 10th Nissan ?
Please read: Matthew 20:20-34, Mark 10:35-52, Luke 18:35 – 19:28 & John 11:55-57
Yeshua continued travelling towards Jerusalem where many were already waiting for Him as they prepared for Passover.
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him. John 11:55-57 NIV
This journey took Him, and multitudes travelling from the northern regions, along the Jordan Valley and through Jericho before climbing up the mountain trail to Jerusalem. Yeshua had been telling them: we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will deliver Him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock Him and spit on Him, and flog Him and kill Him. His disciples seemed incapable of hearing those words, seeking instead their own advancement in God’s kingdom.
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came with her sons to Yeshua, and she was kneeling down and asking something from Him. “What do you want?” He said to her. She said to Him, “Declare that these two sons of mine might sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your kingdom.” But Yeshua replied, “You don’t know what you’re asking! Are you able to drink the cup I am about to drink?” “We are able,” they say to Him. He said to them, “You shall indeed drink My cup. But to sit on My right and left, this isn’t Mine to grant. Rather, it’s for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” Now when the ten heard, they became indignant with the two brothers. But Yeshua called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them, and their great ones play the tyrant over them. It shall not be this way among you. But whoever wants to be great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you shall be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:20-28 TLV
Then James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus, saying to Him, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And they said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” And hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John. And calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great menexercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:35-45 LSB
The twelve were not the only ones who were travelling with Yeshua. Every so often, like in this instance, we find another of the entourage following Yeshua brought into focus. In this case it is a woman, the mother of James and John. If James and John were in their thirties when Yeshua called them it would seem strange for their mother to make such a request on their behalf. But there is evidence to suggests that Peter was the only one of the apostles who was more than 20yo (2-Yr1-17 12 Chosen – Renewal Blog), James and John just being teenagers at this time. Mark places the initiative on the two young men. It appears likely that they had been contemplating Yeshua’s words: when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel and developing a sense of self-importance. They still had little understanding of what Yeshua was saying, but their imaginations were captured by the image of sitting on thrones with Him, judging their fellow Israelites.
Yeshua responds by reminding them of something we all prefer to ignore, and hope will not be, that suffering precedes His glorification and ours. Oh how we want the glory, the blessings, the prosperity, all the promises, and to have them instead of the suffering that Yeshua declared would be the lot of all who chose to follow Him. They shall indeed suffer, but positions of authority are not for the asking.
The other apostles were indignant with James and John, angry that they had sort something which they considered to be so unjust and unfair. Yeshua used the opportunity to teach them what true leadership in His kingdom looks like and share, once again, about His impending death for them. The ways of the world are for everyone to serve the leader, the one considered great among them, but the ways of God’s kingdom are for the leader to serve everyone else. Yeshua was our example in this, washing His disciple’s feet and serving us to the extent of giving His life for us.
A rift valley is a lowland region that forms where Earth’s tectonic plates move apart, or rift. The “Great Rift Valley System,” stretches from Israel in the north to Mozambique in the south. The area is geologically active, and features volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, and frequent earthquakes. The northern part of this system is the Jordan Rift Valley. The Jordan Rift Valley stretches from the Golan Heights, near Israel’s border with Syria and Lebanon, to the Dead Sea, to the Gulf of Aqaba—an inlet of the Red Sea that separates the Sinai Peninsula from the Arabian Peninsula. Jericho lies deep in the northern section of this Jordan Rift Valley
The oasis of Jericho, some 25 km east of Jerusalem, lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, about 390m below sea level. It has natural fortifications, an abundant water supply and warm pleasant winters. Jericho was chosen as the site for the winter palaces of the kings of the Hasmonean dynasty (The Maccabean Revolt & Hasmonean Period (166 – 40 BC) – Renewal Blog), and of King Herod, under Roman rule. In this plain with fertile soil and an abundance of water from nearby springs, rare plants producing aromatic essences and spices, were grown. Most famous among these was the opobalsamum plant, whose oil was among the costliest substances in the ancient world, and very profitable to the growers.
An earthquake in 31BC destroyed the Hasmonean palaces so Herod had built two additional winter palaces for himself near the edge of the Wadi Qelt valley, overlooking the oasis of Jericho. The palaces were situated below the high cliffs of the Judean Desert at the entrance to Wadi Qelt – west of the Jericho oasis – about a day’s horseback riding from Jerusalem.
The palaces were planned for rest and recreation, a winter resort for Jerusalem’s aristocracy, but also as administrative centers; the proximity to Jerusalem made it possible for the king to efficiently deal with affairs of state during his winter sojourn there.
Shortly after ordering the slaughter of babies in Bethlehem, Herod died here.
Abundant water delivered via aqueduct from the springs in Wadi Qelt (wadi = dry riverbed) filled reservoirs, Mikvahs and large Roman baths, and was used to irrigate the palace gardens as well as tens of acres of agricultural land belonging to the king, where dates and costly aromatic plants and spices were grown. The palaces and the road from Jericho to Jerusalem were protected by the fortresses of Doq (Qarantal) and Cypros, built atop the cliffs at the entrance to Wadi Qelt. In the first century the Greek geographer Strabo described the city like this: Jericho is surrounded by mountainous country which slopes toward it like a theatre. It is mixed with all kinds of cultivated and fruitful trees, though it consists mostly of palm trees. It is everywhere watered with streams.
It was both on His way into this famed city of luxury, and on His way out, that Yeshua encountered men who were blind.
Now as Yeshua was approaching Jericho, a certain blind man was sitting by the road, begging. But when he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him that Yeshua ha-Natzrati was passing by. And he cried out, saying, “Yeshua, Ben-David, have mercy on me!” And those leading the way were scolding him, so he would be quiet. But he kept shouting all the more, “Ben-David, have mercy on me!” So Yeshua stopped and ordered the blind man to be brought to Him. And when he came near, Yeshua asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And he said, “Master, I want to see again!” Yeshua said to him, “Receive your sight. Your faith has made you well.” Immediately the man received his sight and began following Yeshua, glorifying God. And when all the people saw it, they also gave praise to God. Luke 18:35-43 TLV
Again, a crowd had formed around Yeshua. They answered the blind man by saying that Yeshua ha-Natzrati (Jesus of Nazareth) was passing by. He immediately knew who they were speaking of, the Messiah, the One who had healed so many others. Israel’s prophets had referred to their coming Messiah as “the Son of David“.
“In those days and at that time, I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; He will do what is just and right in the land” (Jeremiah 33:15). For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this (Isaiah 9:6-7).
So, this man who had become blind cried out in a way to let Yeshua know that he believed in Him, using the known Messianic term Ben-David (son if David): “Yeshua, Ben-David, have mercy on me!” Yeshua healed him with a word and declared: “Your faith has made you well.” This man of faith, now healed, kept glorifying God as he now followed Yeshua.
Then they came to Jericho. Mark 10:46a
And He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. And Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on before and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. And when they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” But Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor, and if I have extorted anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:1-10 LSB
Jericho was a good place to collect taxes, on a major trade route, close to the fords of the Jordan, on the frontier of Peraea, and on the richest plain of Israel, abounding in the choicest productions, especially balsam. Zaccheushad risen through the ranks to become a chief tax collector in this prosperous area and had accumulated a lot of wealth along the way. Yet, he recognized an emptiness in his life. Everyone else looked at Zaccheus’ lifestyle and assumed he had all he wanted and harbored no desire for godliness. Yeshua saw something different. The name Zacchæus appears in the Old Testament in the form Zaccai (Ezra 2:9; Nehemiah 7:14), and meant “pure” or “innocent”, the opposite of what his countrymen thought of this Jewish tax collector for their Roman oppressors.
The crowd following Yeshua were shocked to see Him give attention to such a man. But Yeshua did not go to Zaccheus’ house to condone his sin but to offer the type of acceptance that brings men to repentance. Zaccheus responded to this hand of fellowship from the holy One with an exuberant declaration: “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor, and if I have extorted anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” If those so eager to condemn Yeshua for fellowshipping with a tax collector were as whole-hearted in their repentance He would not have gone on to weep over Jerusalem.
As they were listening to this, Yeshua went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem and they supposed that the kingdom of God was about to appear at once. Therefore He said, “A certain nobleman went to a faraway land to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. And calling ten of his own slaves, he gave them ten minas (1 mina = 100 denarii = about four months’ wages for an average worker) and said to them, ‘Do business until I come back.’ But his citizens detested him and they sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We don’t want this fellow to reign over us!’ When he returned after receiving the kingdom, he called for those slaves to whom he had given the money. He wanted to know how much business they had done. Now the first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your one mina has made ten.’ The master said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you were faithful with so little, take charge over ten cities.’ Also, the second slave came, saying, ‘Your mina, Master, made five.’ Then he also said to this one, ‘You are likewise over five cities.’ But another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina. I was keeping it safe in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you because you are a strict man. You take what you did not make and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘By the words of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked slave! You knew that I am strict, taking what I did not make and reaping what I did not sow? Then why didn’t you put my money in the bank, so that when I came back I could have collected it with interest?’ Then to the bystanders he said, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ But they said to him, ‘Sir, he has ten minas!’ ‘I tell you, to everyone who has, more shall be given. But from the one who doesn’t have, even what he does have shall be taken away. But those hostile to me, who didn’t want me to reign over them, bring them here and execute them before me.’” Luke 19:11-27 TLV
Zaccheus had a large and opulent house, which had now been opened up to the people as they followed Yeshua there. In the midst of all this opulence Yeshua declared the salvation of this household. As the crowd were listening, He then went on to address the growing expectation among them. They were approaching Jerusalem and even this powerful and wealthy man was transformed and following Yeshua (maybe Zaccheus had already started handing over half his wealth to the poor among them, so their expectations rose as to what was possible). In all previous visits to Jerusalem, the city of David, our Lord had gone up either alone or accompanied only by His chosen disciples. Now the “son of David” was followed by a crowd, gathering strength as they journeyed on, and roused, by their very nearness to the Holy City, to an almost uncontrollable excitement. Surely, their Messiah would claim the throne of His father David and deliver them from the dominion of the Romans, set them at liberty and restore the greatness of the state of Israel – the kingdom of God would appear this Passover. Yeshua responded with a prophetic sketch in parabolic form of the real future before them, the fortunes of the King and the various attitudes of men towards Him. He tells them of a man who had a right to the kingdom, yet who, before taking possession of it, went into another kingdom to receive a confirmation of his title, thus intimating that He would also go away and have His authority affirmed before He would set up His rule over the earth and execute judgment on His enemies, those of His own citizens who rejected Him.
In this parable, each of His servants received the same to do business with, one mina. All who obeyed Him and did business with what they were given were declared faithful and rewarded for their faithfulness in accordance with their ability. The one who disobeyed and hid instead of investing his mina was judged by his own false ideas and had what he’d been given taken from him. For those who are hostile to the King and don’t want Him reigning over them there is no mercy.
After saying these things, Yeshua was going on ahead, up to Jerusalem. Luke 19:28 TLV
Now as they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. And here two blind men sitting by the roadside, when they heard that Yeshua was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Master, Ben-David!” The crowd warned them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Master, Ben-David!” Yeshua stopped and called out to them. “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Master, let our eyes be opened!” Moved with compassion, Yeshua touched their eyes. Instantly they regained their sight and followed Him. Matthew 20:29-33 TLV
As Jesus and His disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. Mark 10:46b-52 NIV
Most of the dedicated Jews were already in Jerusalem preparing for pilgrimage festival of Pesach (Passover), having arrived at least a week before it started so they had time for all the ritual purification needed before partaking. Yet still, increasing numbers of people joined in the throng following Yeshua in eager expectation as He continued towards Jerusalem to fulfil His mission.
Matthew mentions two blind men sitting by the side of the road from Jericho to Jerusalem, while Mark focuses on one of these, Bartimaeus. His name means son of Timaeus, and Timaeus is a Greek name meaning valuable or honorable. Few of the people Yeshua healed are named in the gospels so it’s interesting that one of the blind men around Jericho that He healed has been named in Mark but only this once, and that name is Greek, not Hebrew. Although many Jews, even some of Yeshua’s 12 apostles, had Greek names it is possible that this healed man was a gentile. Like the man on the way to Jericho, these cried out “Ben-David“, acknowledging Yeshua as Messiah, were persistent in their cries even in the face of opposition, asked for their sight to be restored and Yeshua declared that their faith had healed them. They joined the crowd following Him to Jerusalem.
1. HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/. 2. Stern, David H. Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). 1998. 3. Holy Bible.New International Version. s.l. : Zondervan Publishing House, 1984. 4. —. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020. 5. Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars.Holy Scriptures Tree of Life Version (TLV). s.l. : Baker Books. 6. Translation Committee. The Legacy Standard Bible (LSB). LSB. [Online] https://read.lsbible.org/. 7. Bible Commentaries. Matthew 19:24. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: October 16th, 2023.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/19-24.htm. 8. Geva, Hillel. Archaeology in Israel: Jericho – The Winter Palace of King Herod. Jewish Virtual Library. [Online] [Cited: October 17th, 2023.] https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jericho-the-winter-palace-of-king-herod. 9. Bible Walks staff. Jericho. Bible Walks. [Online] September 15th, 2015. https://www.biblewalks.com/Jericho. 10. (Editor), Jeannie Evers. Rift Valley. National Geographic. [Online] September 12th, 2023. https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/rift-valley/. 11. Bonne, Kathelijne. The East African Rift System: a belt of natural wonders. Gondwana Talks. [Online] [Cited: October 17th, 2023.] https://www.gondwanatalks.com/l/east-african-rift-system/. 12. . Timaeus meaning. Abarim Publications. [Online] [Cited: October 19th, 2023.] https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Timaeus.html.
In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…
* What are the differences between being a leader or “great man” in the Roman world and being a leader or “great man” in the kingdom of God? * What are the similarities and differences between your culture’s ideas of greatness and those of the kingdom of God? * How do you act as a servant and slave to the other members of the body of Christ in your area? * What was the significance of calling Jesus the son of David? * What is Jesus’ attitude towards those who don’t want Him to reign over them? * How did the faith of the blind men heal them?
Please read: Matthew 19:16-20:19, Mark 10:17-34, Luke 17:11-37, 18:1-14 & 18-34
While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. And as He entered a village, ten men with leprosy who stood at a distance met Him;and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. But Jesus responded and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:11-19 NASB
As Passover approached, Yeshua left the seclusion of Ephraim and headed back up towards Galilee to join the caravans of His countrymen making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. This would be His last pilgrimage to Jerusalem. As He walked towards His destiny the crowds began to gather again, eager to see miracles and hear His teachings. Word quickly spread ahead to each village He approached that Yeshua was coming. As He approached a village on the border of Samaria and Galilee ten men with leprosy started crying out to Him. Yeshua responded to their cry by instructing them to act as though they had been healed by going to the priests to confirm their healing, and as they obeyed His word, they were all healed. Nine continued on to get the official declaration of cleanliness from the priest but one returned to Him giving thanks and glorifying God. This one was a Samaritan.
Now when Yeshua was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with signs to be seen. Nor will they say, ‘Look, here!’ or ‘There!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” Luke 17:20-21 TLV
It wasn’t just well-wishers who hear of Yeshua coming, the Pharisees in each village also heard the news and came out to test Him. They had been expecting Messiah to come and establish the Kingdom of God by defeating the Roman army and setting the Jews free from all their oppressors, even setting them up in authority over all the other nations. Yeshua had been doing much to commend Him as Messiah, but He had not shown any propensity to take up the sword and slay Romans, nor even to call out to God for a supernatural demolition of the Roman army. When was He going to do this? Yeshua’s idea of the kingdom of God was very different. As he would later say to Pilate: “my Kingdom is not of this world“. What Messiah had come to establish was not an earthly kingdom but a spiritual Kingdom set up in the heart by divine grace. He had not come to condemn and defeat human armies, but to conquer demons, sin and death. “If I, by the finger of God, cast out devils, then is the kingdom of God come among you” Matthew 12:28.
Then Yeshua said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go and chase after them. For just as the lightning flashes from one part of the sky and lights up another part, so will the Son of Man be in His day. But first He must suffer much and be rejected by this generation. Luke 17:22-25 TLV
Yeshua turns now to His talmidim (probably after the departure of the Pharisees, as they do not appear again in what follows, and as the discourses themselves bear an unreserved character, wholly different from Luke 17:20), in order to give to them instructions in reference to the question raised by the Pharisees, and the questions that would torment their own hearts after He was crucified. Once again, Yeshua took opportunity to let His talmidim know that He was soon to depart from them and indeed, after His resurrection from having a physical presence on the earth would be for much longer, but He will one day return victorious and fulfil all the that Pharisees were now expecting Messiah to fulfil and so much more so than they could currently even imagine. His upcoming suffering and rejection would not be a failure or catastrophe but part of God’s good purposes.
“As it was in the days of Noah, so will it also be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating, drinking, marrying, and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. “It was just the same in the days of Lot. They were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building. But on the day Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven and destroyed them all. Things will be the same on the day when the Son of Man is made fully known. “In that day, the one who is on the roof, and his possessions in the house, must not go down to take them away. In the same way, the one who is in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life will preserve it. “I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken along and the other left. There will be two women grinding at the same place. One will be taken and the other left.” “Where, Lord?” they replied. And He said to them, “Where there is a corpse, there also will the vultures be gathered.” Luke 17:26-37 TLV
In both the days of Noah and those of Sodom, the people had heard the cry to repent but rejected it and continued on with life as usual, oblivious to the destruction coming their way. The great vulture, well known in Syria, and can be seen in hundreds on the Plain of Gennesaret, is a hideous looking bird, equal to the eagle in size and strength. It acts as a scavenger to purify the earth from the putrid carcasses with which it would otherwise be encumbered. When Yeshua’stalmidim asked “where, Lord“, He replied ‘everywhere there is corruption (a corpse)’. The whole of humanity has been corrupted by sin that needs to be purified even as the great vultures purify the earth from rotting carcasses.
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great feast of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, both free and slaves, and small and great.” Revelation 19:17-18 NASB
Then Yeshua told them a parable to show that they should always pray and not be discouraged, He said, “There was a judge in a certain city who neither feared God nor respected people. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my opponent.’ “He was unwilling at the time. But afterward he said to himself, ‘Although I don’t fear God or respect people, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice so she won’t wear me out by her incessant coming.’” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge is saying. Won’t God do justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He be slow to help them? I tell you, He will quickly give them justice. But when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1-8 TLV
Only here and in Luke 18:9 does Yeshua give the explanation or point of the parable before the parable itself. “not be discouraged” = the Greek word means to give in through cowardice or give up from faint-heartedness. No matter what our circumstances, no matter how far away it feels like God is or how ineffective it feels like our prayers are, no matter how fierce the attack against us, never lose heart and give up, never give in to fear. Keep praying, keep seeking Him, keep standing firm in the faith and God will answer your cry.
Then Yeshua spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, while holding others in contempt. “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘O God, I thank You that I am not like other people—thieving, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and tithe on all that I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, wouldn’t even lift his eyes toward heaven, but beat his chest, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man, rather than the other, went down to his home declared righteous. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14 TLV
The ones Yeshua spoke this parable to were those whose attitude was in equal parts adulation of themself and slander of others. Yeshua exposed how who trusted in themselves did not trust in God. The Pharisee thought he was praying to God, but Yeshua reveals that he was, in fact, just “praying this to himself.” In truly praying to God we trust in His righteousness, not our own, we rely on His mercy not our works.
And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” And looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. Mark 10:17-22 LSB
And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do so that I may obtain eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” Then he said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not give false testimony; Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to Him, “All these I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. Matthew 19:16-22 NASB
And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said, “All these I have observed from my youth.” And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” But when he heard this he became sad, for he was very rich. Luke 18:18-23 TLV
Setting out on a journey, heading towards Jerusalem for Passover, towards Jerusalem for His crucifixion. This wealthy young Jewish man who held a position of authority in his community recognized in Yeshua One who taught with authority. He longed to know how to inherit eternal life. He felt in himself that he was lacking something but could not reason what that was. Not worrying what other leaders of the Jewish people might think of him, this rich young ruler ran up and knelt before Yeshua. He was humble.
Yeshua answered this Jew by pointing him to the commandments. Matthew has the young man asking “which ones“, not such a strange question when you remember that the Jews have derived 613 commandments from the Torah. Yeshua’s list of commandments come from the 10 God gave to Moses on Sinai: #6 Do not murder; #7 Do not commit adultery; #8 Do not steal; #9 Do not bear false witness; #5 Honor your father and mother.
Mark adds Do not defraud : this is not in the Ten Commandments, although the Mosaic law does speak of it. Leviticus 19:35 says, “You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin.” Deuteronomy 25:13–16 also demands that Jews not cheat in their weights and measures, ending with “For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, are an abomination to the LORD your God.” It may be that Yeshua used defrauding as an outworking of #10 Do not covet.
Matthew adds You shall love your neighbor as yourself from Leviticus 19:18b. Again, not one of the ten but Yeshua had already identified it as the second most important commandment of all (Luke 10:27). Still this young man could not identify his lack, for he had been a good Jewish boy, carefully obeying each of these commands on how to treat others even as his parents had taught him. It was a culture in which obeying parents was the norm and anything else was frowned upon by the whole community. Yeshua loved this humble, sincere young man so He exposed the idol in his heart, that which came between him and fulfilling the most important command, loving the Lord God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength: Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. It was a challenge and an invitation. Following Christ requires giving up everything, taking up our cross, losing our life in order to gain it, dying in order to live.
This wealthy young man recognised the powerful truth in Yeshua’s words to him, but was not yet willing to pay the price. His heart was still soft, he went away grieving. Now he knew his lack but could not overcome it, too much of his security and identity had become attached to his wealth.
And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” And looking at them, Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then Peter responded and said to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?” And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms on account of My name, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.” Matthew 19:23-30 NASB
And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were even more astonished, saying to Him, “Then who can be saved?” Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.” Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, except one who will receive one hundred times as much now in the present age—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.” Mark 10:23-31 LSB
Gazing at him, Yeshua said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Then those who heard said, “Then who can be saved?” But Yeshua said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Then Peter said, “Look, we’ve left everything of our own to follow You.” And Yeshua said to them, “Amen, I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much in this age; and in the olam ha-ba, eternal life.” Luke 18:24-30 TLV
Peter spoke for all the disciples when he said “we’ve left everything to follow You” and Yeshua responds by assuring them that such a priority, seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, will always be rewarded both in this life and with eternal life in the age to come. In Matthew we also see a promise just for the twelve apostles: when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. There is evidence later that James and John took this to heart and spent time imagining themselves on these thrones.
Matthew gives us the parable Yeshua then told to explain His comment that “many who are first will be last, and the last, first.“
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. “He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matthew 20:1-16 NIV
Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life!” Matthew 20:17-19 NIV
And they were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking on ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were fearful. And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him: “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will deliver Him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock Him and spit on Him, and flog Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again.” Mark 10:32-34 LSB
Then Yeshua took the twelve aside and said to them, “Look, we’re going up to Jerusalem, and everything written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be carried out. He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and He will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. After they have scourged Him, they will kill Him. Yet on the third day, He will rise again.” But they understood none of these things; this message was hidden from them, and they did not understand what He was saying. Luke 18:31-34 TLV
This revelation was just for His closest friends, but even they were not yet able to grasp it. Even as He walked with determination towards this awful fate, Yeshua’s focus was on preparing His followers for the shock, confusion and grief they would endure when He was taken from them. It would not be the tragedy it appeared, but a direct fulfilment of prophesies written about Him and further proof that He truly is the famed Son of Man whom Daniel saw reigning at the right hand of the Father.
1. HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/. 2. Stern, David H. Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). 1998. 3. Holy Bible.New International Version. s.l. : Zondervan Publishing House, 1984. 4. —. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020. 5. Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars.Holy Scriptures Tree of Life Version (TLV). s.l. : Baker Books. 6. The Legacy Standard Bible (LSB). LSB.[Online] https://read.lsbible.org/. 7. Bible Commentaries. Matthew 19:24. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: October 16th, 2023.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/19-24.htm. 8. Hecht, Mendy. The 613 Commandments (Mitzvot). Chabad. [Online] [Cited: October 15th, 2023.] https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/756399/jewish/The-613-Commandments-Mitzvot.htm. 9. Bible Ref Editors. What does Mark 10:19 mean?Bible Reference. [Online] [Cited: October 15th, 2023.] https://www.bibleref.com/Mark/10/Mark-10-19.html#:~:text=In%20Mark%2C%20Jesus%20adds%20that%20the%20man%20must,weights%2C%20a%20just%20ephah%2C%20and%20a%20just%20hin.%22.
In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…
* Why do you think it was only the Samaritan who returned to give thanks for his healing from leprosy? * How is the kingdom of God evident in your life and in your church? * In what ways did Jesus explain to His disciples that He was about to be crucified and raise from the dead?
Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. And it was the Mary who anointed the Lord with perfume, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. John 11:1-2 NASB
Bethany lay on the south-east slope of the Mount of Olives, and, according to John 11:18, nearly two miles from Jerusalem. The village was known, then, in the circles of the first disciples, as the village of Mary and Martha, by way of distinction from the “Bethany beyond Jordan” referred to in John 1:28.
“Lazarus,” the Greek form of Eleazar = God is my Help . Many commentators conclude that Lazarus was younger than his sisters.
So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”
The sisters knew well what peril Yeshua and His disciples would encounter by returning to Bethany in Judea, so close to those in Jerusalem who were seeking His life, and they must have known that He could have healed Lazareth by a word; so, they simply state the case.
But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not meant for death, but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” (Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister, and Lazarus.) So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. John 11:3-6 NASB
Yeshua was teaching the people throughout the region of Peræa, beyond (to the east of) the Jordan River, when the sisters in Bethany sent word to Him about Lazarus’s grave sickness. He could have prayed for Lazarus’ healing right there and then, effecting the cure from a distance as He had done for the Centurian’s servant – but He did not. He could have left what He was doing and hastened back to Bethany to lay hands on Lazarus, but He did not. Instead, He said some cryptic comment about it being for the glory of God and then stayed where He was for two whole days more, neither continuing to travel further afield nor returning back towards Judea. Those whom Christ loves are no more exempt than others from their share of earthly trouble and anguish. Yeshua loved Lazarus, and his sisters, but still He only did what He saw the Father doing, knowing this would also prove best for those He loved.
Yeshua delayed His return to Mary and Martha not only though He loved them, but becauseGod loved them. He loved them, and therefore He designed to do something great and extraordinary for them; to work such a miracle for their relief, as He had not wrought for anyone else. If Yeshua had gone immediately, and had arrived at Bethany while Lazarus was still alive, and had cured his sickness, He would have done no more for him than He had done for many; if Yeshua had come to him, and raised him when he was but just dead, He would have done no more than He had done for some; but deferring His relief so long, Yeshua had an opportunity of doing more for Lazareth than He had done, or ever should do, for any other. Observe that God has gracious intentions even in his apparent delays. (See Isaiah 54:7-8). Christ’s friends at Bethany were not out of His thoughts, nor was His affection to them lessened, though when He heard of their distress He made no haste to give them relief. His lingering so long after their message came, did not proceed from want of concern for his friends, but happened according to the counsels of God’s wisdom. For the length of time that Lazarus lay in the grave put his death beyond all possibility of doubt, and removed every suspicion of a fraud, and so afforded Yeshua a fit opportunity of displaying the love He bare to Lazarus, as well as His own almighty power, in his unquestionable resurrection from the dead. It is true, the sisters were thus kept a while in painful anxiety, on account of their brother’s life, and in the conclusion were pierced with the sorrow of seeing him die.
Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let’s go to Judea again.” The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and yet You are going there again?” Jesus replied, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks during the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks during the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” John 11:7-10 NASB
Yeshua does not identify their destination more definitely, and the word “again” recalls the dangers from which they had escaped at the close of their last visit to Jerusalem in Judea. His talmidim (disciples) expressed some unwillingness to undertake the journey back into danger; not imagining that it was proposed on Lazarus’s account, whom they supposed out of danger because Yeshua had said of his sickness that it was not unto death.
Are there not twelve hours in the day? — The Jews always divided the space from sunrise to sunset, whether the days were longer or shorter, into twelve parts, so that the hours of their day were all the year the same in number, though much shorter in winter than in summer. Day represented the time for Yeshua teach the people before the dark night of His crucifixion. The length of the day was set, they could not make it longer or shorter. While ever it was day no efforts to kill Christ could succeed (and various opponents had tried). Not one moment of this time was to be wasted worrying about their personal safety instead of moving forward with proclamation of the kingdom of God.
Because there is no light in him — Or rather, in it, as εν αυτω, should be translated, referring to the noun, κοσμου, world, in the end of the preceding verse. For his stumbling in the night is occasioned by the want of that which prevents his stumbling in the day, namely, light, the sun not being above the horizon. Dr. Campbell, however, thinks that, in it, or, in him, is better omitted in English, where it would encumber rather than enlighten the expression. He therefore reads, He stumbleth because there is no light.
He said these things, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him.” The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be saved from his sickness.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of actual sleep. So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.” John 11:11-15 LSB
Yeshua’s disciples were soon going to witness His death. They needed to believe that He had authority over death. What appeared to be a heartless delay was actually a merciful show of love and care. Often, what feels unfair and as though God has forgotten us in the moment is actually an expression of His lovingkindness towards us as He prepares us for what we don’t know is to come.
Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.” John 11:16 LSB
The threat of stoning Yeshua in the temple (John 10:31) was still very fresh in their minds (The Divine Council – Renewal Blog). Yeshua’s disciples felt it not only as a threat against Him, but a threat against themselves as well as His followers. Each had times of being brave and willing to face those threats, willing to die for Him if that was the cost of following Him. But they did not yet have the empowering of the Holy Spirit to be able to stand unmovable in such.
So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about fifteen stadia away; and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them about their brother. Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, the One who comes into the world.” And when she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to Him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews—who were with her in the house and consoling her—when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, they followed her, thinking that she was going to the tomb to cry there. Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus therefore saw her crying, and the Jews who came with her also crying, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?” John 11:17-37 LSB
The Jewish custom was to bury on the day of death (see Acts 5:6-10), followed by a weeklong mourning period (“shiva“) during which mourners are visited at home by family and community. It was Jewish belief that after death the soul lingers near the body for three days, hoping that it will return to life (Tanhuma, Miqetz 4; Pequdei 3), but after those three days, the soul returns to God (Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 90b-91a). It was after those three days had passed, but still during the shiva, that Yeshua came to raise Lazareth from the grave.
We do not know where in Peraea Jesus was sojourning when He received the message announcing Lazarus’s illness. We do know that Yeshua had spent some time walking through Peraea – ministry on two separate shabbat days has been specifically recorded. So, He could have been at least four day’s walk from Bethany when He received the news from Mary and Martha.
Bethany was near Jerusalem, about fifteen stadia away – possibly 2 miles or 3 km; a Roman stadion was around 607 ft. or 185 m long. Many of the Jews from the nearby city of Jerusalem had come to comfort Mary and Martha during shiva. Lazarus had been deeply loved by many.
Yeshua wept. He didn’t lack faith. He knew He was going to raise Lazarus back to life and very soon would be enjoying his friend once more. But He wept. He mourned. His grief was real and all could see how much He had loved Lazarus.
So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time he smells, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the crowd standing around I said this, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” And when He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” John 11:36-44 LSB
They all knew that Yeshua could have kept this man from dying, but none believed that after four days Lazarus could be raised from the dead. By that time his soul would have departed and his body stink from the process of decay. It was too late now, all hope had gone, nothing could be done. Or so they thought.
Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done. John 11:45-46 NASB
But some of them went off to the P’rushim (Pharisees) and told them what He had done. So the head cohanim (chief priests) and the P’rushim called a meeting of the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do? — for this man is performing many miracles. If we let Him keep going on this way, everyone will trust in Him, and the Romans will come and destroy both the Temple and the nation.” But one of them, Kayafa (Caiaphas), who was cohen gadol (high priest) that year, said to them, “You people don’t know anything! You don’t see that it’s better for you if one man dies on behalf of the people, so that the whole nation won’t be destroyed.” Now he didn’t speak this way on his own initiative; rather, since he was cohen gadol that year, he was prophesying that Yeshua was about to die on behalf of the nation, and not for the nation alone, but so that He might gather into one the scattered children of God.
Acts 6:7 tells us that: And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. John likely learned of what happened in this meeting through believers (like Nicodemus) who were there and those priests who later became obedient to the faith. Notice God’s hand even in what appears to be the evil plans of Yeshua’s enemies: since he was cohen gadol that year, he was prophesying that Yeshua was about to die on behalf of the nation…
From that day on, they made plans to have him put to death. Therefore Yeshua no longer walked around openly among the Judeans but went away from there into the region near the desert, to a town called Efrayim (Ephraim), and stayed there with His talmidim. John 11:46-54 CJB
Yeshua had returned to where His ministry began, Bethany beyond Jordan (John 10:40), immediately after leaving Jerusalem following Hanukkah (the feast of Dedication). It was the winter month of Tevet, in the middle of the wet season, as it had been when He was baptised by Yochanan three years before. Yeshua had continued teaching throughout the region of Peræa for some weeks before He heard that Lazarus was sick. Returning to Bethany four days after Lazarus’ death to raise him from the dead, Yeshua then departed to Ephraim in the month of Shevat. Here He continued till the week leading to Passover. The crowds had been bigger than ever in Peræa but now, after His most spectacular attention getting miracle, Yeshua hid away in Ephraim for around six weeks, about the same time He had spent alone in the wilderness being tempted at the beginning of His ministry. Ephraim was a secluded spot on the edge of the wilderness where He could avoid the observation of His enemies until the appointed hour had come. How little the people at large knew where He was, appears from the fact that those who went up early to the feast, sought Him at Jerusalem. These days of preparation, it seems, were spent in times of solitary communion with His Father and fellowship with his talmidim .
It is believed that the Biblical town of Ephraim is now called Taybeh. This Palestinian village is the only Christian town left in Israel or Palestine. The people of Taybeh hold fast to their heritage of Yeshua seeking refuge there shortly before his crucifixion. They also see the pomegranate as a symbol of the fullness of Jesus’ suffering and Resurrection. This fruit appears as a motif in religious art in Taybeh. A tradition says Jesus told the villagers a parable relating to this fruit, whose sweet seeds are protected by a bitter membrane. Using this image, Jesus explained that to reach the sweetness of his Resurrection he had to go through the bitterness of death.
1. HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/. 2. Stern, David H. Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). 1998. 3. Holy Bible.New International Version. s.l. : Zondervan Publishing House, 1984. 4. —. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020. 5. Bible Commentaries. John 11:1. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: October 1st, 2023.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/john/11-1.htm. 6. My Jewish Learning . Jewish Death and Mourning 101. My Jewish LKearning. [Online] [Cited: October 9th, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/death-mourning-101/. 7. Jews for Judaism. Does the Talmud talk about a ressurection 3 days after the end of the world? Jews for Judaism. [Online] [Cited: October 9th, 2023.] https://www.jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/articles/does-the-talmud-talk-about-a-ressurection-3-days-after-the-end-of-the-world/. 8. Administrator. Jesus’ Final Journey to Jerusalem. Bible Mapper. [Online] September 5th, 2022. https://biblemapper.com/blog/index.php/2022/09/05/jesus-final-journey-to-jerusalem/. 9. See The Holy Land Editors. Taybeh. seetheholyland. [Online] [Cited: October 10th, 2023.] https://www.seetheholyland.net/taybeh/.
In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…
* Describe a time in your life when God didn’t appear to answer your prayer, but looking back you can see how what He did was better than what you were asking for? * When has God directed you to do something that didn’t appear to display your care for ones you loved? * What is a trial that you have gone through that you later realised had been God’s mercy in preparing you for what was to come? * What comfort do we get from knowing that Jesus wept here? * Has there been a time in your life when it seemed that God had waited too long to help you and all hope had gone? *How can we see God’s hand even in an enemy’s attack and so walk confident in His sovereignty and goodness towards us? * What is the significance of Jesus’ time in Ephraim?
Please read Matthew 19:3-15, Mark 10:2-16, Luke 16:16-18, 17:1-10, 18:15-17
“The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.” Luke 16:16-17 NKJV
“Up to the time of Yochanan there were the Torah and the Prophets. Since then the Good News of the Kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is pushing to get in. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter in the Torah to become void.” Luke 16:16-17 CJB
The word for ‘tittle’ is keraia, the tip or horn of a letter, the smallest stroke in a Hebrew letter, such as that which distinguishes ב from כ or ה from ח.
The Septuagint rendered the Hebrew ‘Torah‘ (תורה) by the Greek nomos (“Law”), probably in the sense of a living network of traditions and customs of a people. The designation of the Torah by nomos, and by its Latin successor lex (whence, “the Law”) has historically given rise to the misunderstanding that Torah means legalism. ‘Torah‘ (תורה) can also be translated as instruction, teaching, direction or guidance. The root, yod-resh-hey (ירה), originally meant to throw or shoot an arrow. The noun torah literally means to cause something (or someone) to move straight and true. The most prominent meaning of Torah for Jews is that it constitutes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, the five books of Moses, (also called the Pentateuch, ‘five books’ in Greek – Genesis (Bereshit), Exodus (Shemot), Leviticus (Va-yikra), Numbers (Bamidbar) and Deuteronomy (Devarim)). Sometimes the word Torah is used to refer to the whole Hebrew Bible (TaNaKh) which contains the books of Moses – Torah, the Prophets – Nevi’im (נביאים), and the Writings – Ketuvim (כתובים). Yeshua may well have been referring to the whole TaNaKh in Luke 16 when He spoke of “thelaw and the prophets“, not even the smallest part of which will become void or fail.
Yeshua made a distinction between the age of the law and the prophets and the age of the kingdom of God – this shift from one age to the next was marked by the ministry of Yochanan the baptiser. The end of the age of the law and prophets does not, however, mean an end to the value or necessity of such for God’s word is eternal.
God’s Law (the whole TaNaKh) is eternal and unbreaking. It never changes. It will not shift or realign itself to the opinions of men. We are wrong if we think that we can go up against God’s laws and win. We will lose. God is not mocked.
Luke continues with his download of Messiah’s teachings:
Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” Luke 17:1-2 NASB
Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” Luke 17:3-4 NKJV
And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. Luke 17:5-6 NKJV
The apostles thought it was more faith that they needed but Yeshua responded that they didn’t need much, the smallest amount of faith can overcome any obstacle.
“And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ” Luke 17:7-10 NKJV
The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.” Matthew 19:3-12 NKJV
And some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” And they said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote for you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” And in the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again. And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.” Mark 10:2-12 LSB
“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.” Luke 16:18 LSB
His teaching had been clear on this (see Fulfilling Torah – Renewal Blog). But here in Peræa Judea, beyond the Jordan, in the territory of Herod Antipas and close to where he had imprisoned and beheaded Yohannan the immerser for calling him out on divorced the daughter of Aretas and marrying his brother’s wife, these pharisees asked him: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” He was more lenient than they with regards to all the added ceremony of the Oral Torah but demanded a much higher standard with regard to living out the love of God.
Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And He laid His hands on them and departed from there. Matthew 19:13-15 NKJV
And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. Mark 10:13-16 LSB
People were also bringing babies to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:15-17 NIV
Little children were brought to Yeshua, as to a man of extraordinary sanctity, whose prayer was supposed to have peculiar efficacy (John 9:31); as, in a similar way, children were also brought to the presidents of the synagogues in order that they might pray over them. The laying on of the hands (Genesis 48:14) was desired as a means of communicating the blessing prayed for (Acts 6:6). Yeshua honoured those who brought the children to Him and spent the time to meet their request, at the same time teaching His followers the need to be as a little child to enter His kingdom.
1. HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/. 2. Stern, David H. Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). 1998. 3. Holy Bible.New International Version. s.l. : Zondervan Publishing House, 1984. 4. —. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020. 5. Bible Commentaries. Luke 14:1. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: October 1st, 2023.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/luke/14-1.htm. 6. Saunders, Maryanne. The Torah – Judaism, Sacred texts. British Library. [Online] September 23rd, 2019. https://www.bl.uk/sacred-texts/articles/the-torah#:~:text=Torah%20(%D7%AA%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%94)%20in%20Hebrew%20can,have%20been%20composed%20by%20Moses.. 7. Freeman, Tzvi. What is Torah? A Comprehensive Overview. Chabad. [Online] [Cited: October 4th, 2023.] https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1426382/jewish/Torah.htm. 8. My Jewish Learning Editors. What Does ‘Torah’ Mean? My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: October 4th, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/what-does-the-word-torah-mean/. 9. Rabinowitz, Louis. Judaism: The Written Law – Torah. Jewish Virtual Library. [Online] [Cited: October 4th, 2023.] https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-written-law-torah. 10. Rich, Tracey R. Torah. Judaism 101. [Online] [Cited: October 5th, 2023.] https://www.jewfaq.org/torah. 11. Commentaries. Matthew 19:13. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: October 5th, 2023.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/19-13.htm. 12. The Bible Says. Luke 16:16-17 meaning. The Bible Says. [Online] [Cited: October 5th, 2023.] https://thebiblesays.com/commentary/luke/luke-16/luke-1616-17/#:~:text=The%20point%20Jesus%20seems%20to,You%20will%20lose.. 13. Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass,. Christ’s Words. [Online] [Cited: October 5th, 2023.] https://christswords.com/main/content/%C2%A0luke-1617%C2%A0and-it-easier-heaven-and-earth-pass.
In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…
* What does it mean that God’s law will not fail or become void? * Why would Jesus give the same teachings at different times during His ministry? * What is your understanding of Jesus’ teaching on divorce and how do you apply that in your church and community? * How are children viewed and treated in your community?
Now many crowds were going along with Him, and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:25-27 CJB
The word hate in Luke 14:26 deserves a closer look. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the contrast between “love” and “hatred” is sometimes used to communicate preference. For example, in dealing with inheritances in polygamous marriages, the Mosaic Law referred to “two wives, one beloved, and another hated” (Deuteronomy 21:15). Our love for Christ needs to be such that He is preferred above all else, even our own life.
Then Yeshua shared two more parables to illustrate our need to count the cost of following Him:
For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Lest, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Luke 14:28-30 LSB
Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. Luke 14:31-33 LSB
“Therefore, salt is good, but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 14:34-35 LSB
Then three parables to demonstrate God’s eagerness in seeking those who are lost.
Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. And both the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He told them this parable, saying, “What man among you, if he has one hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:1-7 LSB
“Or what woman, if she has ten drachmas and loses one drachma, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the drachma which I had lost!’ In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10 LSB
And He said, “A man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate living recklessly. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he was desiring to be fed with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will rise up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before you.19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ So he rose up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet, and bring the fattened calf, slaughter it, and let us eat and celebrate, for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate. “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. And summoning one of the servants, he began inquiring what these things could be. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he became angry and was not wanting to go in, and his father came out and began pleading with him. But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and never have I neglected a command of yours. And yet never have you given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ And he said to him, ‘Child, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and is alive, and was lost and has been found.’” Luke 15:11-32 LSB
Now He was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a steward, and this steward was reported to him as squandering his possessions. And he called for him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ And the steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the stewardship people will take me into their homes.’ And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘One hundred baths of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ And he said, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ And his master praised the unrighteous steward because he had acted shrewdly, for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light. And I say to you, make friends for yourselves from the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will take you into the eternal dwellings.
“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much, and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? Luke 16:1-12 LSB
Yeshua repeated some of His teaching as He spoke in different regions.
No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him.
And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts, for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.Luke 16:13-15
“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. But a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. Now it happened that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom, and the rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things. But now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you are not able, and none may cross over from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I am asking you, father, that you send him to my father’s house – for I have five brothers – in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:19-31 LSB
Moses and the Prophets wrote of Messiah to come. Here He was but those religious leaders who proclaimed most loudly that they obeyed Moses refused to believe in the One that he spoke of. refusing to believe in Him. Yeshua prophesied their reaction of failing to be persuaded even by His resurrection and diagnosed this as a failure to listen to Moses and the Prophets.
HELPS Ministries. The Discovery Bible. [Online] https://thediscoverybible.com/.
Stern, David H. Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). 1998.
Holy Bible.New International Version. s.l. : Zondervan Publishing House, 1984.
—. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020.
The Lockman Foundation. The Legacy Standard Bible. [Online] https://lsbible.org/.
In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…
* Who is invited to God’s banquet? * What is God’s response to those who are lost and trapped in sin? * What are the costs of discipleship in these passages? * God accepts anyone, no matter how sinful they have been, but what does He demand if we choose to come to him?
And it happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely. Luke 14:1 LSB
And it happened, probably just as Yeshua was finishing His journey through Herod’s southern dominion (the region of Peræa). This leader of the Pharisees was likely a member of the Sanhedrin (Jewish supreme court or Sanhedrin ha-Gadol “the Great Council” that consisted of 71 rabbis), and he had invited several other scholars of the Law and Pharisees to join in assessing the merits of this outsider who was teaching the people. Yeshua was invited to their Friday evening meal that welcomed in Shabbat. Such were often lavish and joyous affairs, the whole day having been spent on preparations before the Sabbath candles or lanterns were lit to herald its arrival as the day faded into evening.
Yeshua never refused an invitation, whether the inviter were a Pharisee or a publican, a friend or a foe. He never mistook the disposition of His host and always in His presence their hearts were exposed. On this occasion His host and their esteemed guests were watching Him closely to judge His response to each part of the situation before Him. The chill atmosphere of suspicion did not freeze the flow of His gentle beneficence and wise teaching. Yeshua’s meek goodness remained itself in the face of hostile observers. The miracle and the two parables are aimed straight at their errors.
To eat bread – in Jewish households, a meal is considered any repast in which bread is consumed, so Jewish meals begin with the blessing over bread and then the sharing of bread together. Bread and wine are the two food items that are always present at the Shabbat evening meal every Friday night, and prayers are said for both. In fact, on Shabbat evening it is traditional to have two challahs (loafs of bread) with the meal to symbolize the double portion of mana that the Jewish people received every Friday while wandering the desert.
And behold, in front of Him was a man suffering from dropsy. And Jesus answered and spoke to the scholars of the Law and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” But they were silent. And He took hold of him, healed him, and sent him away. And He said to them, “Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?” And they could make no reply to this. Luke 14:2-6 LSB
The term “dropsy” is a shortening of “hydropsy” (Greek, “hudropikos,” “watery looking”). Better known as edema today, this is swelling due to excess fluid in the body, leading to unsightly, bloated limbs whose movements are limited and awkward. Dropsy could be a symptom of cancer or diseases of the kidney, liver, or heart, most often congestive heart failure. In the ancient world, untreated dropsy was, eventually, always fatal. It was considered ironic that one afflicted with dropsy was swollen because of excess water in the body but was at the same time thirsty for more water. Metaphorically, dropsy was used widely as a metaphor for greed and wealth, particularly in the writings of Greek philosophers.
Before they had done the ritual handwashing and taken their seats Yeshua was confronted with this man suffering from a fatal disease that carried connotations of guilt and shame. Yeshua answered the thoughts which He saw arising in the hearts of His host and their esteemed guests: “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” They refused to answer.
Displaying the kingdom of God, Yeshua “took hold of him, healed him, and sent him away.” The moment that Yeshua laid His hand on the man, his complexion returned, and his body was reduced to its ordinary size; becoming, at the same time, vigorous and fit for action so he could with ease go on his way. As He had done in the synagogue on a previous Shabbat (http://blog.renewal.asn.au/2023/09/26/repent-or-perish/), Yeshua reminded these religious leaders that the Sabbath itself is a reminder of the release from captivity that God effected. What is more fitting for such a day than to release people from the bondage of sickness and disease?
And He was telling a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they were picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not recline at the place of honor, lest someone more highly regarded than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in shame you proceed to occupy the last place. But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who recline at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:7-11 LSB
As each guest completed their hand washing ceremony they proceeded to the table, seeking the seats of highest honour. Jews are required to wash their hands and say a blessing before eating any meal that includes bread or matzah (the unleavened bread eaten at Passover). The ritual, known as netilat yadayim is unrelated to personal hygiene, and a person is still required to perform this ritual even if his or her hands are clean. It was customary to avoid speaking following the recitation of the netilat yadayim blessing until reciting the blessing for bread and partaking of some. Yeshua, who was waiting, watching and observing those who pushed ahead to wash their hands first so they could get the good seats at the table, used this period of enforced silence to teach His next lesson to these religious leader: everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Then Jesus said to the man who had invited Him, “When you host a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or brothers or relatives or rich neighbors. Otherwise, they may invite you in return, and you will be repaid. But when you host a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind, and you will be blessed. Since they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:12-14 BSB
Then, after He too had washed His hands, reclined at the table and the blessing on the bread had been said and partaken of, Yeshua speaks to His host. Those who would have been excluded from this man’s banquets are the very people Yeshua exhorts him to invite. Those who can do nothing to raise his social, political or financial standing are the ones he should be reaching out to, for such is the kingdom of God in action. Yeshua is challenging him to shift his focus from earthly rewards to heavenly rewards.
On hearing this, one of the people at the table with Yeshua said to Him, “How blessed are those who eat bread in the Kingdom of God!”
But He replied, “Once a man gave a banquet and invited many people. When the time came for the banquet, he sent his slave to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come! Everything is ready!’ But they responded with a chorus of excuses. The first said to him, ‘I’ve just bought a field, and I have to go out and see it. Please accept my apologies.’ Another said, ‘I’ve just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to test them out. Please accept my apologies.’ Still another said, ‘I have just gotten married, so I can’t come.’ The slave came and reported these things to his master. “Then the owner of the house, in a rage, told his slave, ‘Quick, go out into the streets and alleys of the city; and bring in the poor, the disfigured, the blind and the crippled!’ The slave said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.’ The master said to the slave, ‘Go out to the country roads and boundary walls, and insistently persuade people to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet!’” Luke 14:15-24 CJB
The guest presumed that one would have to work hard at diligently obeying all the commandments to try to earn his way into this banquet and Yeshua paints a totally different picture. Those who were invited had all sorts of worldly excuses for not attending, they thought they wanted such an honour but in reality they were too tied to the things of this world. So, it was all those who were thought not to qualify who were sort out, brought in and insistently persuaded to attend. What the Jews had presumed had to be earnt would be received through simple acceptance of the invitation.
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Hartsock, Chad. The Healing of the Man with Dropsy (Luke 14:1-6) and the Lukan Landscape. BRILL. [Online] January 1st, 2013. https://brill.com/view/journals/bi/21/3/article-p341_4.xml#:~:text=Rather%2C%20the%20dropsy%20is%20itself,notice%20of%20the%20dropsy%20metaphor..
Smith, Ralph Allan. Everybody has Dropsy – Luke 14:1-24. Theopolis. [Online] July 2nd, 2019. https://theopolisinstitute.com/everybody-has-dropsy-luke-141-24/.
Estes, J. Worth. VIII.39 – Dropsy from Part VIII – Major Human Diseases Past and Present. The Cambridge World History of Disease. [Online] March 28th, 2008. https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/abs/cambridge-world-history-of-human-disease/dropsy/C58BF7044399EE1E911299B54E39E484.
MY JEWISH LEARNING. Ritual Hand Washing Before Meals – The Netilat Yadayim practice and blessing. My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: October 2nd, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/hand-washing/.
In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…
* What do you think brought the man with “dropsy” to this Shabbat meal? Was he seeking healing? Was he a plant by the pharisees to bring occasion to accuse Jesus? What in the text has led you to this conclusion? * Did you notice any shift in attitudes towards Jesus during the course of this meal? Explain. * What must we do to qualify to “eat bread in the kingdom of God”?