THE STARTLING TRUTH OF MAUNDY THURSDAY
Mathew 26: 30 After singing the Hallel, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Yeshua then said to them, “Tonight you will all lose faith in me, as the Tanakh says, ‘I will strike the shepherd dead, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you into the Galil.” 33 “I will never lose faith in you,” Kefa answered, “even if everyone else does.” 34 Yeshua said to him, “Yes! I tell you that tonight before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” 35 “Even if I must die with you,” Kefa replied, “I will never disown you!” And all the talmidim said the same thing.
It is natural for ‘disciples’ of Yeshua Adonai to look around at other ‘followers’ of Yeshua and judge them and measure them. To debate who is greater and who is lesser. And, having done that, to extend their judgements to the ‘pagan’, ‘heathen’, ‘unbeliever’, ‘non-elect’, the ‘outsider’ etc.
There are those who gladly and loudly, or subtly and surreptitiously, judge and condemn the ancient Orthodox churches, the Catholic Church and even ‘Reformed’ churches. They brand those who go to these places as ‘nominal’ Christians, look down on their practices and generally despise them. They see them as retrogressive and Christ-denying simply because they do not follow their own specific norms or forms.
Many, or perhaps most, of the ‘new churches’ do not have an inkling of the meaning and significance of Passion Week is or its central days – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday – why they exist and what they stand for.
Such is the piteous condition of some forms of modern-day ‘Christianity’, much of which cannot be easily distinguished from primitive forms of shamanism or magic or the more modern materialistic processes of political and business acumen and enterprise.
Yet, how the Maschiach works is exciting. G-d uses everything and everyone – the Old and the New – and rides in majesty through it all to make known the glory of His Son. Yeshua riding into Jerusalem on ‘Palm Sunday’ to cries of ‘Hosanna’ upon the ass’ colt, signifies the overwhelming reign of G-d! Before His face, everyone is an ass’ colt! That’s a miracle!
Mathew 13: 52 He said to them, “So then, every Torah-teacher who has been made into a talmid for the Kingdom of Heaven is like the owner of a home who brings out of his storage room both new things and old.”
Both ‘New’ and ‘Old” come with their own idiosyncracies. But what is necessary is a coming to the accrued multiplex wisdom of the Body of Christ across the ages. The Head (Yeshuah Mashiach) builds His Body across Time and into the Beyond. All the work of the Mashiach, is a work in Eternity, glimpsed here in Space-Time, in the Old and the New, as a variety of Expressions of the Eternal.
Mathew 16: 15 “But you,” he said to them, “who do you say I am?” 16 Shim‘on Kefa answered, “You are the Mashiach, the Son of the living God.” 17 “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan,” Yeshua said to him, “how blessed you are! For no human being revealed this to you, no, it was my Father in heaven. 18 I also tell you this: you are Kefa,” [which means ‘Rock,’] “and on this rock I will build my Community, and the gates of Sh’ol will not overcome it.
It is the Mashiach who builds His Community and this ‘building’ that includes the wisdom of all who have gone by in the past – the Traditions, the Holy Calendar, the Liturgy, the Church Fathers, the Desert Fathers, the Monastics, the Reformers, even those who chose to be Schismatics and Heretics – and all their glimpses into the complexity and Mystery of the Body of Christ, a work in progress.
The details of the Body are important to the Head. And so it is that Yeshua Mashiach proclaimed a startling detail to His talmidim Apostles as they reclined at the Pesach Table with Him on Maundy Thursday eve. He made this startling prophecy to those whose feet he had just washed and those who had just partaken of the eating of the Bread of His Body and the drinking of the Wine of His Blood.
Mathew 26; 31 Yeshua then said to them, “Tonight you will all lose faith in me…”
Of course, every one of the talmidim protested! After all, they had much to be commended for with regard to their ‘faith’. Had they not immediately followed Yeshua when He gave them the call? Had they not been loyal to Him all the while? Had they not been zealous to listen and even act according to His word? Had they not the right to be proud that they were given revelation about the Mashiach, the Son of G-d, unlike the masses that followed Him around? Were they not the ones He explained parables to? Had they not seen him in His intimate moments of miracle-doing, healing, prayer and so on? Were they not to RULE the world to come?
Of course, they were the Elite, the Elect! How proud they were to be among the Chosen, to be so close to the Master, so much so they could flaunt that closeness in the faces of those they deemed to be lesser mortals!
But it is to precisely to the Elect that Yeshua brings His startling word! In spite of their pride, irrespective of the fact that they had partaken of His Flesh and Blood, Yeshua is not afraid to tell them about something that they would experience, a certain truth:
Mathew 26; 31 Yeshua then said to them, “Tonight you will all lose faith in me…”
Protest they did. As proud or ignorant people always do!
Mathew 26: 33 “I will never lose faith in you,” Kefa answered, “even if everyone else does.” 34 Yeshua said to him, “Yes! I tell you that tonight before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” 35 “Even if I must die with you,” Kefa replied, “I will never disown you!” And ALL the talmidim said the same thing.
The ‘talmidim’ in the Old and New ‘churches’ have the same flesh as Kefa and the first talmidim. They make similar statements in day-to-day life, especially those in the ‘new’ churches, often to shame unbelievers or other ‘believers’ who do not adhere to their piecemeal doctrines or dogma or speak their ‘jargon’.
But Yeshua’s word remains for ever. True.
Mathew 26; 31 Yeshua then said to them, “Tonight you will all lose faith in me…”
Yes, precisely that word is a light to the talmidim. There will be a ‘night’ or ‘nights’ when the proud disciples suddenly realise that they have ‘lost faith’, or fallen asleep as they did in the Garden of Gat-Sh’manim, or wandered away from their love of the Mashiach.
They will suddenly see that their words are ’empty’ and they do not have the power to do all they claimed. They will be cast down from high pedestals. In that moment, such talmidim will find themselves ‘scattered’ or ‘confused’ or ‘fearful’, even desperate!
But in such moments, when one enters the ‘night’ Yeshua prophesied of, that ‘night’ in which one ‘loses faith’ in Yeshua, lies the Great Pearl, the opportunity to learn the humility of Yeshua!
How is it that Yeshua never stumbled or fell even when His elect ‘sheep’ lost faith in Him? It was because of His humility.
The secret of Maundy Thursday, its light of revelation, is to acknowledge that all the talmidim can only too easily enter the ‘night’ when they lose faith in Yeshua. That acknowledgement is the sign of humility. For such, Yeshua will be careful to go before them. That acknowledgement is a preventive measure.
But, if, like Kefa and the others, the testimony is one of ignorance or arrogance relating to their loyalty to Yeshua, then the realisation of the truth of Yeshua’s words concerning them will come only after there is stumbing or falling. Yet, He remains gracious even towards such. For did He not choose them to be His talmidim?
However, prevention is better than cure.
Mathew 26; 31 Yeshua then said to them, “Tonight you will all lose faith in me…”
Mathew 26: 32 “But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you into the Galil.”
I am that talmid of Yeshua who acknowledges that it is possible for one like me to enter a night of losing faith in Yeshua, even according to His prophetic word.
But I am also that talmid who has the supreme hope and delight that since He has been raised from the dead, He will go before me and lead me.
Mathew 11: 28 “Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Psalm 23: 1 Adonai is my shepherd; I lack nothing.
2 He has me lie down in grassy pastures,
he leads me by quiet water,
3 he restores my inner person.
He guides me in right paths
for the sake of his own name.
4 Even if I pass through death-dark ravines,
I will fear no disaster; for you are with me.
I Corinthians 10: 12 Therefore, let anyone who thinks he is standing up be careful not to fall!
LENTEN MEDITATION 9
THE BOOK OF GOOD NEWS
The Gospel of St Mark is a book of the proclamation of the GOOD NEWS that is the very Person and works of Yeshua Mashiach. If one can understand the many-hued facets of this Good News, one will be immersed in the Ruach HaKodesh, as promised. May it be so.
- THE GOOD NEWS IS THE PERSON OF YESHUA MACHIACH
Mark 1: 1 The beginning of the Good News of Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of God.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF IMMERSION IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
Mark 1: 8 I have immersed you in water, but he will immerse you in the Ruach HaKodesh.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE TRINITY
Mark 1: 10 Immediately upon coming up out of the water, he saw heaven torn open and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; 11 then a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, whom I love; I am well pleased with you.”
- THE GOOD NEWS OF PROTECTION IN THE WILDERNESS/TEMPTATION
Mark 1: 12 Immediately the Spirit drove him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by the Adversary. He was with the wild animals, and the angels took care of him.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF METANOIA
Mark 1: “The time has come, God’s Kingdom is near! Turn to God from your sins
and believe the Good News!”
- THE GOOD NEWS OF BEING CALLED/CHOSEN
Mark 1: 16 As he walked beside Lake Kinneret, he saw Shim‘on and Andrew, Shim‘on’s brother, casting a net into the lake; for they were fishermen. 17 Yeshua said to them, “Come, follow me, and I will make you into fishers for men!” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.
19 Going on a little farther, he saw Ya‘akov Ben-Zavdai and Yochanan, his brother, in their boat, repairing their nets. 20 Immediately he called them, and they left their father Zavdai in the boat with the hired men and went after Yeshua.
Mark 3: 14 He appointed twelve to be with him, to be sent out to preach 15 and to have authority to expel demons:
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE AUTHORITY OF YESHUA MASHIACH
Mark 1: 21 They entered K’far-Nachum, and on Shabbat Yeshua went into the synagogue and began teaching. 22 They were amazed at the way he taught, for he did not instruct them like the Torah-teachers but as one who had authority himself.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF LIBERATION FROM DEMONIC INFLUENCES
Mark 1: 25 But Yeshua rebuked the unclean spirit, “Be quiet and come out of him!” 26 Throwing the man into a convulsion, it gave a loud shriek and came out of him.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF YESHUA THE HEALER
Mark 1: 32 That evening after sundown, they brought to Yeshua all who were ill or held in the power of demons, 33 and the whole town came crowding around the door. 34 He healed many who were ill with various diseases and expelled many demons, but he did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew who he was.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE POWER OF PRAYER
Mark 1: 35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Yeshua got up, left, went away to a lonely spot and stayed there praying.
Mark 6: 46 After he had left them, he went into the hills to pray.
Mark 9: 28 After Yeshua had gone indoors, his talmidim asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 29 He said to them “This is the kind of spirit that can be driven out only by prayer.”
Mark 11: 17 Then, as he taught them, he said, “Isn’t it written in the Tanakh, My house will be called a house of prayer for all the Goyim But you have made it into a den of robbers!”
Mark 11: 24 Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, trust that you are receiving it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive your offenses.”
Mark 14: 35 Going on a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that if possible, the hour might pass from him: 36 “Abba!” (that is, “Dear Father!”) “All things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me! Still, not what I want, but what you want.” 37 He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Kefa, “Shim‘on, are you asleep? Couldn’t you stay awake one hour? 38 Stay awake, and pray that you will not be put to the test — the spirit indeed is eager, but human nature is weak.”
- THE GOOD NEWS OF YESHUA’S PITY/COMPASSION
Mark 1: 40 A man afflicted with tzara‘at came to Yeshua and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, Yeshua reached out his hand, touched him and said to him, “I am willing! Be cleansed!” 42 Instantly the tzara‘at left him, and he was cleansed.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS
Mark 2: 2 After a while, Yeshua returned to K’far-Nachum. The word spread that he was back, 2 and so many people gathered around the house that there was no longer any room, not even in front of the door. While he was preaching the message to them, 3 four men came to him carrying a paralyzed man. 4 They could not get near Yeshua because of the crowd, so they stripped the roof over the place where he was, made an opening, and lowered the stretcher with the paralytic lying on it. 5 Seeing their trust, Yeshua said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Some Torah-teachers sitting there thought to themselves, 7 “How can this fellow say such a thing? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins except God?” 8 But immediately Yeshua, perceiving in his spirit what they were thinking, said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier to say to the paralyzed man? ‘Your sins are forgiven’? or ‘Get up, pick up your stretcher and walk’? 10 But look! I will prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
- THE GOOD NEWS OF YESHUA IS FOR SINNERS, NOT THE RIGHTEOUS
Mark 2: 16 When the Torah-teachers and the P’rushim saw that he was eating with sinners and tax-collectors, they said to his talmidim, “Why does he eat with tax-collectors and sinners?” 17 But, hearing the question, Yeshua answered them, “The ones who need a doctor aren’t the healthy but the sick. I didn’t come to call the ‘righteous’ but sinners!”
- THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE SHABBAT IN YESHUA MASHIACH
Mark 2: 27 Then he said to them, “Shabbat was made for mankind, not mankind for Shabbat; 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of Shabbat.”
Mark 3: 1 Yeshua went again into a synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Looking for a reason to accuse him of something, people watched him carefully to see if he would heal him on Shabbat. 3 He said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Come up where we can see you!” 4 Then to them he said, “What is permitted on Shabbat? Doing good or doing evil? Saving life or killing?” But they said nothing. 5 Then, looking them over and feeling both anger with them and sympathy for them at the stoniness of their hearts, he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” As he held it out, it became restored.
- THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT FELLOWSHIP IN DOING THE WILL OF GOD
Mark 3: 34 Looking at those seated in a circle around him, he said, “See! Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does what God wants is my brother, sister and mother!”
- THE GOOD NEWS ENCODED IN PARABLES
Mark 4: 9 And he concluded, “Whoever has ears to hear with, let him hear!” 10 When Yeshua was alone, the people around him with the Twelve asked him about the parables. 11 He answered them, “To you the secret of the Kingdom of God has been given; but to those outside, everything is in parables, 12 so that they may be always looking but never seeing; always listening but never understanding.
Otherwise, they might turn and be forgiven!” 13 Then Yeshua said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How will you be able to understand any parable?
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE SEED/THE MESSAGE
Mark 4: 26 And he said, “The Kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seed on the ground. 27 Nights he sleeps, days he’s awake; and meanwhile the seeds sprout and grow — how, he doesn’t know. 28 By itself the soil produces a crop — first the stalk, then the head, and finally the full grain in the head. 29 But as soon as the crop is ready, the man comes with his sickle, because it’s harvest-time.”
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE MESSAGE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Mark 4: 30 Yeshua also said, “With what can we compare the Kingdom of God? What illustration should we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when planted, is the smallest of all the seeds in the field; 32 but after it has been planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all the plants, with such big branches that the birds flying about can build nests in its shade.”
33 With many parables like these he spoke the message to them, to the extent that they were capable of hearing it. 34 He did not say a thing to them without using a parable; when he was alone with his own talmidim he explained everything to them.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF YESHUA’S POWER OVER NATURE
Mark 4: 39 He awoke, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind subsided, and there was a dead calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you no trust even now?” 41 But they were terrified and asked each other, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the waves obey him?”
- THE GOOD NEWS IS THE WITNESS ABOUT YESHUA MASHIACH
Mark 5: 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been demonized begged him to be allowed to go with him. 19 But Yeshua would not permit it. Instead, he said to him, “Go home to your people, and tell them how much Adonai in his mercy has done for you.” 20 He went off and began proclaiming in the Ten Towns how much Yeshua had done for him, and everyone was amazed.
- THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT HEALING BY FAITH IN YESHUA MASHIACH
Mark 5: 30 At the same time, Yeshua, aware that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” 33 The woman, frightened and trembling, because she knew what had happened to her, came and fell down in front of him and told him the whole truth. 34 “Daughter,” he said to her, “your trust has healed you. Go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
- THE GOOD NEWS THAT YESHUA MASHIACH IS THE RESURRECTION
Mark 5: 39 On entering, he said to them, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead, she’s just asleep!” 40 And they jeered at him. But he put them all outside, took the child’s father and mother and those with him, and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand, he said to her, “Talita, kumi!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 At once the girl got up and began walking around; she was twelve years old. Everybody was utterly amazed.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF BEING SENT OUT BY YESHUA TO DO HIS WORK
Mark 6: 7 Yeshua summoned the Twelve and started sending them out in pairs, giving them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He instructed them, “Take nothing for your trip except a walking stick — no bread, no pack, no money in your belt. 9 Wear shoes but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place; 11 and if the people of some place will not welcome you, and they refuse to hear you, then, as you leave, shake the dust off your feet as a warning to them.” 12 So they set out and preached that people should turn from sin to God, 13 they expelled many demons, and they anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE COMPASSION OF JESUS TOWARDS ALL
Mark 6: 34 When Yeshua came ashore, he saw a huge crowd. Filled with compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, he began teaching them many things. 35 By this time, the hour was late. The talmidim came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s getting late. 36 Send the people away, so that they can go and buy food for themselves in the farms and towns around here.” 37 But he answered them, “Give them something to eat, yourselves!” 41 Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, and, looking up toward heaven, made a b’rakhah. Next he broke up the loaves and began giving them to the talmidim to distribute. He also divided up the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate as much as they wanted, 43 and they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces and fish. 44 Those who ate the loaves numbered five thousand men.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF KNOWING THE SOURCE OF UNCLEANNESS
Mark 7: 14 Then Yeshua called the people to him again and said, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand this! 15 There is nothing outside a person which, by going into him, can make him unclean. Rather, it is the things that come out of a person which make a person unclean!” 16 17 When he had left the people and entered the house, his talmidim asked him about the parable. 18 He replied to them, “So you too are without understanding? Don’t you see that nothing going into a person from outside can make him unclean? 19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and it passes out into the latrine.” (Thus he declared all foods ritually clean.) 20 “It is what comes out of a person,” he went on, “that makes him unclean. 21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come forth wicked thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, arrogance, foolishness…. 23 All these wicked things come from within, and they make a person unclean.”
- THE GOOD NEWS IS ALSO FOR THE GENTILES
Mark 7: 27 He said, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s food and toss it to their pet dogs.” 28 She answered him, “That is true, sir; but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s leftovers.” 29 Then he said to her, “For such an answer you may go on home; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 She went back home and found the child lying on the couch, the demon gone.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF SALVATION FROM THE LEAVEN OF PHARASAISM
Mark 8: 15 So Yeshua said to them, “Watch out! Guard yourselves from the hametz of the P’rushim and the hametz of Herod.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE REVELATION OF THE MASHIACH
Mark 8: 29 “But you,” he asked, “who do you say I am?” Kefa answered, “You are the Mashiach.” 30 Then Yeshua warned them not to tell anyone about him. 31 He began teaching them that the Son of Man had to endure much suffering and be rejected by the elders, the head cohanim and the Torah-teachers; and that he had to be put to death; but that after three days, he had to rise again.
Mark 9:2 Six days later, Yeshua took Kefa, Ya‘akov and Yochanan and led them up a high mountain privately. As they watched, he began to change form, 3 and his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than anyone in the world could possibly bleach them. 4 Then they saw Eliyahu and Moshe speaking with Yeshua. 5 Kefa said to Yeshua, “It’s good that we’re here, Rabbi! Let’s put up three shelters — one for you, one for Moshe and one for Eliyahu.” 6 (He didn’t know what to say, they were so frightened.) 7 Then a cloud enveloped them; and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” 8 Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Yeshua.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE EXECUTION STAKE
Mark 8: 34 Then Yeshua called the crowd and his talmidim to him and told them, “If anyone wants to come after me, let him say ‘No’ to himself, take up his execution-stake, and keep following me. 35 For whoever wants to save his own life will destroy it, but whoever destroys his life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will save it.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF HUMILITY
Mark 9: 35 He sat down, summoned the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.” 36 He took a child and stood him among them. Then he put his arms around him and said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the One who sent me.”
- THE GOOD NEWS OF SUSPENDING JUDGEMENT
Mark 9: 38 Yochanan said to him, “Rabbi, we saw a man expelling demons in your name; and because he wasn’t one of us, we told him to stop.” 39 But Yeshua said, “Don’t stop him, because no one who works a miracle in my name will soon after be able to say something bad about me. 40 For whoever is not against us is for us.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF SALVATION FROM LOVE OF MONEY
Mark 9:24 The talmidim were astounded at these words; but Yeshua said to them again, “My friends, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God! 25 It’s easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.” 26 They were utterly amazed and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Yeshua looked at them and said, “Humanly, it is impossible, but not with God; with God, everything is possible.”
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE REWARDS OF BEING TALMIDIM
Mark 10: 28 Kefa began saying to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Yeshua said, “Yes! I tell you that there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, 30 who will not receive a hundred times over, now, in the ‘olam hazeh, homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and lands — with persecutions! — and in the ‘olam haba, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first!”
- THE GOOD NEWS OF DRINKING YESHUA’S CUP OF SUFFERING
Mark 10: Mark 10: 38 But Yeshua answered, “You don’t know what you’re asking! Can you drink the cup that I am drinking? or be immersed with the immersion that I must undergo?” 39 They said to him, “We can.” Yeshua replied, “The cup that I am drinking, you will drink; and the immersion I am being immersed with, you will undergo.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF BEING A SERVANT
Mark10: 43 But among you, it must not be like that! On the contrary, whoever among you wants to be a leader must be your servant; 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must become everyone’s slave! 45 For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve — and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- THE GOOD NEWS OF BEING A COLT YESHUA CAN RIDE ON
Mark 11: 3 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it,’ and he will send it here right away.” 4 They went off and found a colt in the street tied in a doorway, and they untied it. 5 The bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They gave the answer Yeshua had told them to give, and they let them continue. 7 They brought the colt to Yeshua and threw their robes on it, and he sat on it.
- THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE G-D OF THE LIVING
Mark 12: 26 And as for the dead being raised, haven’t you read in the book of Moshe, in the passage about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’chak and the God of Ya‘akov’? 27 He is God not of the dead, but of the living! You are going far astray!”
- THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE TWO GREAT COMMANDMENTS
Mark 12: 29 Yeshua answered, “The most important is, ‘Sh’ma Yisra’el, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad [Hear, O Isra’el, the Lord our God, the Lord is one], 30 and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your understanding and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’
- THE GOOD NEWS OF YESHUA BEING THE FULFILMENT OF PROPHECY
Mark 12: 35 As Yeshua was teaching in the Temple, he asked, “How is it that the Torah-teachers say the Messiah is the Son of David? 36 David himself, inspired by the Ruach HaKodesh, said,
‘Adonai said to my Lord,
“Sit here at my right hand
until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’
37 David himself calls him ‘Lord’; so how is he his son?”
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE CALLING OF THE WIDOW WITH 2 MITES
Mark 12: 43 He called his talmidim to him and said to them, “Yes! I tell you, this poor widow has put more in the offering-box than all the others making donations. 44 For all of them, out of their wealth, have contributed money they can easily spare; but she, out of her poverty, has given everything she had to live on.”
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE OLD GIVING WAY TO THE NEW
Mark 13: 26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with tremendous power and glory.27 He will send out his angels and gather together his chosen people from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE NEW COVENANT
Mark 14: 22 While they were eating, Yeshua took a piece of matzah, made the b’rakhah, broke it, gave it to them and said, “Take it! This is my body.” 23 Also he took a cup of wine, made the b’rakhah, and gave it to them; and they all drank. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood, which ratifies the New Covenant, my blood shed on behalf of many people. 25 Yes! I tell you, I will not drink this ‘fruit of the vine’ again until the day I drink new wine in the Kingdom of God.”
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE ‘I AM’
Mark 14: 61 But he remained silent and made no reply. Again the cohen hagadol questioned him: “Are you the Mashiach, Ben-HaM’vorakh?” 62 “I AM,” answered Yeshua.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE CRUCIFIXTION OF THE MASHIACH
Mark 15: 37 But Yeshua let out a loud cry and gave up his spirit. 38 And the parokhet in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw the way he gave up his spirit, he said, “This man really was a son of God!”
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE MASHIACH
Mark 16: 6 But he said, “Don’t be so surprised! You’re looking for Yeshua from Natzeret, who was executed on the stake. He has risen, he’s not here! Look at the place where they laid him. 7 But go and tell his talmidim, especially Kefa, that he is going to the Galil ahead of you. You will see him there, just as he told you.” 8 Trembling but ecstatic they went out and fled from the tomb, and they said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
14 Later, Yeshua appeared to the Eleven as they were eating, and he reproached them for their lack of trust and their spiritual insensitivity in not having believed those who had seen him after he had risen.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF BEING A WITNESS OF YESHUA MASHIACH
Mark 16: 15 Then he said to them, “As you go throughout the world, proclaim the Good News to all creation. 16 Whoever trusts and is immersed will be saved; whoever does not trust will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who do trust: in my name they will drive out demons, speak with new tongues, 18 not be injured if they handle snakes or drink poison, and heal the sick by laying hands on them.”20 And they went out and proclaimed everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the message by the accompanying signs.
- THE GOOD NEWS OF THE ASCENSION OF YESHUA MASHIACH
Mark 16: 19 So then, after he had spoken to them, the Lord Yeshua was taken up into heaven and sat at the right hand of God.
LENTEN MEDITATION 8
THE BOOK OF INVITATIONS
The Gospel of St Mathew is a book of invitations. Accept these invitations to know and live a life that is inexpressible joy.
1.INVITATION TO SOMETHING BETTER THAN SIN
Matthew 4:17 From that time on, Yeshua began proclaiming, “Turn from your sins to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!”
2.INVITATION TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO OTHERS’ LIVES
Matthew 4:18 As Yeshua walked by Lake Kinneret, he saw two brothers who were fishermen — Shim‘on, known as Kefa, and his brother Andrew — throwing their net into the lake. 19 Yeshua said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers for men!” 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers — Ya’akov Ben-Zavdai and Yochanan his brother — in the boat with their father Zavdai, repairing their nets; and he called them.
3.INVITATION TO HEALING
Matthew 4: 23 Yeshua went all over the Galil teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing people from every kind of disease and sickness. 24 Word of him spread throughout all Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill, suffering from various diseases and pains, and those held in the power of demons, and epileptics and paralytics; and he healed them.
Matthew 8: 14 Yeshua went to Kefa’s home and there saw Kefa’s mother-in-law sick in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she got up and began helping him.
16 When evening came, many people held in the power of demons were brought to him. He expelled the spirits with a word and healed all who were ill. 17 This was done to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Yesha‘yahu,
“He himself took our weaknesses
and bore our diseases”
- INVITATION TO BE PERFECT
- INVITATION TO CLEANSING
Matthew 8: 1 Yeshua had come down from the hill, large crowds followed him. 2 Then a man afflicted with tzara‘at came, kneeled down in front of him and said, “Sir, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” 3 Yeshua reached out his hand, touched him and said, “I am willing! Be cleansed!” And at once he was cleansed from his tzara‘at.
6. INVITATION TO FAITH
Matthew 8:13 Then Yeshua said to the officer, “Go; let it be for you as you have trusted.” And his orderly was healed at that very moment.
Mathew 21:21 Yeshua answered them, “Yes! I tell you, if you have trust and don’t doubt, you will not only do what was done to this fig tree; but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Go and throw yourself into the sea!’ it will be done. 22 In other words, you will receive everything you ask for in prayer, no matter what it is, provided you have trust.”
- INVITATION TO FOLLOW HIM INTENSELY, EXCLUSIVELY
Matthew 8:19 A Torah-teacher approached and said to him, “Rabbi, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 Yeshua said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds flying about have nests, but the Son of Man has no home of his own.” 21 Another of the talmidim said to him, “Sir, first let me go and bury my father.” 22 But Yeshua replied, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Mathew 9:9 As Yeshua passed on from there he spotted a tax-collector named Mattityahu sitting in his collection booth. He said to him, “Follow me!” and he got up and followed him.
Mathew 10: 37 Whoever loves his father or mother more than he loves me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than he loves me is not worthy of me.
- INVITATION TO OVERCOME FEAR BY FAITH
Mathew 8: 28 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? So little trust you have!” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and there was a dead calm.
- INVITATION TO FORGIVENESS BY FAITH
Matthew 9:1 So he stepped into a boat, crossed the lake again and came to his own town.2 Some people brought him a paralyzed man lying on a mattress. When Yeshua saw their trust, he said to the paralyzed man, “Courage, son! Your sins are forgiven.”
Mathew 18:21 Then Kefa came up and said to him, “Rabbi, how often can my brother sin against me and I have to forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” answered Yeshua, “but seventy times seven!
10.INVITATION TO TASTING COMPASSION
Mathew 9:11 When the P’rushim saw this, they said to his talmidim, “Why does your rabbi eat with tax-collectors and sinners?” 12 But Yeshua heard the question and answered, “The ones who need a doctor aren’t the healthy but the sick. 13 As for you, go and learn what this means: ‘I want compassion rather than animal-sacrifices.’[a] For I didn’t come to call the ‘righteous,’ but sinners!”
Mathew 9:36 Yeshua went about all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and weakness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
11.INVITATION TO FAITH IN THE MESSIAH
Mathew 9: 20 A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years approached him from behind and touched the tzitzit on his robe. 21 For she said to herself, “If I can only touch his robe, I will be healed.” 22 Yeshua turned, saw her and said, “Courage, daughter! Your trust has healed you.” And she was instantly healed.
23 When Yeshua arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute-players, and the crowd in an uproar, 24 he said, “Everybody out! The girl isn’t dead, she’s only sleeping!” And they jeered at him. 25 But after the people had been put outside, he entered and took hold of the girl’s hand, and she got up.
27 As Yeshua went on from there, two blind men began following him, shouting, “Son of David! Take pity on us!” 28 When he entered the house, the blind men came up, and Yeshua said to them, “Do you believe that I have the power to do this?” They replied, “Yes, sir.” 29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it happen to you according to your trust”; 30 and their sight was restored.
32 As they were going, a man controlled by a demon and unable to speak was brought to Yeshua. 33 After the demon was expelled the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed.
Mathew 17: 20 He said to them, “Because you have such little trust! Yes! I tell you that if you have trust as tiny as a mustard seed, you will be able to say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there!’ and it will move; indeed, nothing will be impossible for you!”
- INVITATION TO AUTHORITY
Mathew 10: 11 Yeshua called his twelve talmidim and gave them authority to drive out unclean spirits and to heal every kind of disease and weakness.
- INVITATION TO DO THE MESSIAH’S WORK
Mathew 10: 7 As you go, proclaim, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is near,’ 8 heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those afflicted with tzara’at, expel demons. You have received without paying, so give without asking payment.
- INVITATION TO WITNESS/TESTIFY
Mathew 10: 12I am sending you out like sheep among wolves, so be as prudent as snakes and as harmless as doves. 17 Be on guard, for there will be people who will hand you over to the local Sanhedrins and flog you in their synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as a testimony to them and to the Goyim.
- INVITATION TO PERSECUTION
Mathew 10: 18 But when they bring you to trial, do not worry about what to say or how to say it; when the time comes, you will be given what you should say. 20 For it will not be just you speaking, but the Spirit of your heavenly Father speaking through you.
- INVITATION TO BE LIKE YESHUA
Mathew 10: 27 It is enough for a talmid that he become like his rabbi, and a slave like his master. Now if people have called the head of the house Ba‘al-Zibbul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!
- INVITATION TO ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Mathew 10:32“Whoever acknowledges me in the presence of others I will also acknowledge in the presence of my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others I will disown before my Father in heaven.
- INVITATION TO SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Mathew 10:34 “Don’t suppose that I have come to bring peace to the Land. It is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword!
36 a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law,
so that a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.
- INVITATION TO THE CROSS-DEATH-GRAVE
Mathew 10:38 And anyone who does not take up his execution-stake and follow me is not worthy of me.
Mathew 16:23 But Yeshua turned his back on Kefa, saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path, because your thinking is from a human perspective, not from God’s perspective!”
24 Then Yeshua told his talmidim, “If anyone wants to come after me, let him say ‘No’ to himself, take up his execution-stake, and keep following me. 25 For whoever wants to save his own life will destroy it, but whoever destroys his life for my sake will find it.
- INVITATION TO LOSE ATMAN TO ATTAIN PARAMATMAN
Mathew 10: 39 Whoever finds his own life will lose it, but the person who loses his life for my sake will find it.
- INVITATION TO LOVE AND HONOUR THE DISCIPLES
Mathew 10: 40 “Whoever receives you is receiving me, and whoever receives me is receiving the One who sent me. 41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive the reward a prophet gets, and anyone who receives atzaddik because he is a tzaddik will receive the reward a tzaddik gets.42 Indeed, if someone gives just a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my talmid — yes! — I tell you, he will certainly not lose his reward!”
- INVITATION TO SOUL-REST
Mathew 11: 28 “Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.[f] 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
- INVITATION TO DO GOOD (THE SHABBAT)
Mathew 11: 11 But he answered, “If you have a sheep that falls in a pit on Shabbat, which of you won’t take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore, what is permitted on Shabbat is to do good.” 13 Then to the man he said, “Hold out your hand.” As he held it out, it became restored, as sound as the other one.
- INVITATION TO BRING FORTH GOOD FRUIT FROM A GOOD HEART
Mathew 11: 33“If you make a tree good, its fruit will be good; and if you make a tree bad, its fruit will be bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 You snakes! How can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what overflows from the heart. 35 The good person brings forth good things from his store of good, and the evil person brings forth evil things from his store of evil.
- INVITATION TO WATCH ONE’S WORDS
Mathew 11: 36 Moreover, I tell you this: on the Day of Judgment people will have to give account for every careless word they have spoken; 37 for by your own words you will be acquitted, and by your own words you will be condemned.
- INVITATION TO BE AMONG THOSE WHO DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER
Mathew 11:48 He was still speaking to the crowd when his mother and brothers appeared outside, asking to talk with him. 47 [d] 48 But to the one who had informed him he replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to histalmidim, he said, “Look! Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 Whoever does what my Father in heaven wants, that person is my brother and sister and mother.”
- INVITATION TO RECEIVE THE SEED OF THE WORD OF GOD – YESHUA
Mathew 13: 1 A farmer went out to sow … But others (seeds) fell into rich soil and produced grain, a hundred or sixty or thirty times as much as had been sown.9 Those who have ears, let them hear!”
- INVITATION TO UNDERSTAND DARK SAYINGS
Mathew 13:11 He answered, “Because it has been given to you to know the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it has not been given to them.18 But you, how blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear! 17 Yes indeed! I tell you that many a prophet and many atzaddik longed to see the things you are seeing but did not see them, and to hear the things you are hearing but did not hear them.
- INVITATION TO FIND THE HIDDEN KINGDOM AND TREASURE IT
Mathew 13: 24-33, 44-50
51 “Have you understood all these things?” “Yes,” they answered.
- INVITATION TO AWE
Mathew 14:25 Around four o’clock in the morning, he came toward them, walking on the lake! 26 When the talmidim saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said and screamed with fear.27 But at once Yeshua spoke to them. “Courage,” he said, “it is I. Stop being afraid.”
- INVITATION TO THE TRUE SIGNIFICANCE OF TRADITION
Mathew 15: 6 b Thus by your tradition you make null and void the word of God! 7 You hypocrites! Yesha‘yahu was right when he prophesied about you,
8 ‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far away from me.
9 Their worship of me is useless,
because they teach man-made rules as if they were doctrines.’”
- INVITATION TO IGNORE THE PHARISEES’ DOCTRINE
Mathew 15:14 Let them be. They are blind guides. When a blind man guides another blind man, both will fall in a pit.”
Mathew 16: 6 Yeshua said to them, “Watch out! Guard yourselves against the hametz of the P’rushim and Tz’duki.
- INVITATION TO RECOGNISE THE SOURCE OF EVIL
Mathew 15: 19 For out of the heart come forth wicked thoughts, murder, adultery and other kinds of sexual immorality, theft, lies, slanders. . . 20 These are what really make a person unclean, but eating without doing n’tilat-yadayim does not make a person unclean.”
- INVITATION TO BELIEVE IN HIS WORKS
Mathew 15:38 he took the seven loaves and the fish, made a b’rakhah, broke the loaves and gave them to the talmidim, who gave them to the people. 37 Everyone ate his fill, and they took seven large baskets full of the leftover pieces. 38 Those eating numbered four thousand…
- INVITATION TO THE REVELATION OF THE MASHIACH
Mathew 16: 15 “But you,” he said to them, “who do you say I am?” 16 Shim‘on Kefa answered, “You are the Mashiach, the Son of the living God.” 17 “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan,” Yeshua said to him, “how blessed you are! For no human being revealed this to you, no, it was my Father in heaven. 18 I also tell you this: you are Kefa,” [which means ‘Rock,’] “and on this rock I will build my Community, and the gates of Sh’ol will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
Mathew 17: 1 Six days later, Yeshua took Kefa, Ya‘akov and his brother Yochanan and led them up a high mountain privately. 2 As they watched, he began to change form — his face shone like the sun, and his clothing became as white as light.3 Then they looked and saw Moshe and Eliyahu speaking with him. 4 Kefa said to Yeshua, “It’s good that we’re here, Lord. I’ll put up three shelters if you want — one for you, one for Moshe and one for Eliyahu.” 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them; and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!”6 When the talmidim heard this, they were so frightened that they fell face down on the ground. 7 But Yeshua came and touched them. “Get up!” he said, “Don’t be afraid.” 8 So they opened their eyes, looked up and saw only Yeshua by himself.
- INVITATION TO HUMILITY
Mathew 18: 1 At that moment the talmidim came to Yeshua and asked, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” 2 He called a child to him, stood him among them, 3 and said, “Yes! I tell you that unless you change and become like little children, you won’t even enter the Kingdom of Heaven! 4 So the greatest in the Kingdom is whoever makes himself as humble as this child.
- INVITATION TO UNITY – ADVAITA
Mathew 18:8 Thus they are no longer two, but one. So then, no one should split apart what God has joined together.”
- INVITATION TO POVERTY
Mathew 18: 21 Yeshua said to him, “If you are serious about reaching the goal, go and sell your possessions, give to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me!” 23 Then Yeshua said to his talmidim, “Yes. I tell you that it will be very hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 Furthermore, I tell you that it is easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.”
- INVITATION TO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
Mathew 20: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who went out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the workers on a wage of one denarius, [the standard daily wage,] he sent them off to his vineyard. 3 Then, on going out at about nine in the morning, he saw more men standing around in the market-square doing nothing, 4 and said to them, ‘You go to the vineyard too — I’ll pay you a fair wage.’ So they went. 5 At noon, and again around three in the afternoon, he did the same thing. 6 About an hour before sundown, he went out, found still others standing around, and asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day, doing nothing?” 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ ‘You too,’ he told them, ‘go to the vineyard.’
8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last ones hired and ending with the first.’ 9 The workers who came an hour before sunset each received a denarius, 10 so the workers who came first expected they would get more, but each of them also received just a denarius. 11 On receiving their wages, they began grumbling to the farmer, 12 ‘These latecomers have worked only one hour, while we have borne the brunt of the day’s work in the hot sun, yet you have put them on an equal footing with us!’ 13 But he answered one of them, ‘Look, friend, I’m not being unfair with you. Didn’t you agree to work today for a denarius? 14 Now take your pay and go! I choose to give the last worker as much as I’m giving you. 15 Haven’t I the right to do what I want with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 Thus the last ones will be first and the first last.”
- INVITATION TO SUFFERING
Mathew 20:22 But Yeshua answered, “You people don’t know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We can.” 23 He said to them, “Yes, you will drink my cup.”
- INVITATION TO SERVANTHOOD
Mathew 20:26 But Yeshua called them and said, “You know that among the Goyim, those who are supposed to rule them become tyrants, and their superiors become dictators. 26 Among you, it must not be like that. On the contrary, whoever among you wants to be a leader must become your servant,27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave! 28 For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve — and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- INVITATION TO BE USED BY YESHUA
Mathew 21:3 If anyone says anything to you, tell him, ‘The Lord needs them’; and he will let them go at once.”
- INVITATION TO THE HOUSE OF PRAYER
Mathew 21:13 He said to them, “It has been written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer.’[e] But you are making it into a den of robbers!”
Mathew 26:38 And he said to them, “My heart is so filled with sadness that I could die! Remain here and stay awake with me.” 39 Going on a little farther, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if possible, let this cup pass from me! Yet — not what I want, but what you want!” 40 He returned to the talmidim and found them sleeping. He said to Kefa, “Were you so weak that you couldn’t stay awake with me for even an hour? 41 Stay awake, and pray that you will not be put to the test — the spirit indeed is eager, but human nature is weak.”
43. INVITATION TO THE SILENCE OF THE MYSTERY
Mathew 21: 27 So they answered Yeshua, “We don’t know.” And he replied, “Then I won’t tell you by what s’mikhah I do these things.
- INVITATION TO PARTAKE OF REJECTION
Mathew 21:42 Yeshua said to them, “Haven’t you ever read in the Tanakh,
‘The very rock which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone!
This has come from ADONAI,
and in our eyes it is amazing’?
- INVITATION TO THE TWO GREAT COMMANDMENTS
Mathew 22:37 He told him, “‘You are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’[c] 38 This is the greatest and most important mitzvah. 39 And a second is similar to it, ‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot.”
- INVITATION TO BE HIDDEN
Mathew 23: 5 Everything they do is done to be seen by others; for they make their t’fillin broad and their tzitziyot long, 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, 7 and they love being greeted deferentially in the marketplaces and being called ‘Rabbi.’
8 “But you are not to let yourselves be called ‘Rabbi’; because you have one Rabbi, and you are all each other’s brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘Father.’ because you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to let yourselves be called ‘leaders,’ because you have one Leader, and he is the Messiah! 11 The greatest among you must be your servant, 12 for whoever promotes himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be promoted.
- INVITATION TO ESCAPE THE 7 WOES
Mathew 23: 13-32
- INVITATION TO ESCAPE COMING DESTRUCTION
Mathew 24:21 For there will be trouble then worse than there has ever been from the beginning of the world until now, and there will be nothing like it again! 22 Indeed, if the length of this time had not been limited, no one would survive; but for the sake of those who have been chosen, its length will be limited.23 “At that time, if someone says to you, ‘Look! Here’s the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ don’t believe him. 24 For there will appear false Messiahs and false prophets performing great miracles — amazing things! — so as to fool even the chosen, if possible. 25 There! I have told you in advance! 26 So if people say to you, ‘Listen! He’s out in the desert!’ don’t go; or, ‘Look! He’s hidden away in a secret room!’ don’t believe it. 27 For when the Son of Man does come, it will be like lightning that flashes out of the east and fills the sky to the western horizon.
- INVITATION TO BE A WISE VIRGIN
- INVITATION TO THE FINAL AND TRUE PASSOVER
Mathew 26:26 While they were eating, Yeshua took a piece of matzah, made the b’rakhah, broke it, gave it to the talmidim and said, “Take! Eat! This is my body!” 27 Also he took a cup of wine, made the b’rakhah, and gave it to them, saying, “All of you, drink from it! 28 For this is my blood, which ratifies the New Covenant, my blood shed on behalf of many, so that they may have their sins forgiven. 29 I tell you, I will not drink this ‘fruit of the vine’ again until the day I drink new wine with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”
- INVITATION TO SHALOM
Mathew 26: 52 Yeshua said to him, “Put your sword back where it belongs, for everyone who uses the sword will die by the sword.”
Mathew 28:8 Suddenly Yeshua met them and said, “Shalom!” They came up and took hold of his feet as they fell down in front of him.
- INVITATION TO YIELD YOUR SPIRIT TO G-D
Mathew 27: 50 But Yeshua, again crying out in a loud voice, yielded up his spirit.
- INVITATION TO GIVE OUT INVITATIONS
Mathew 28: 18 Yeshua came and talked with them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore, go and make people from all nations into talmidim, immersing them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Ruach HaKodesh, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember! I will be with you always, yes, even until the end of the age.”
LENTEN MEDITATION 7
RETURN TO THE GOOD SHEPHERD.
In India, the wolves are at the door of the Church, the Body of Christ. These wolves are hungry and optimistic. And so they ought to be because they can see with their piercing eyes that within the house of G-d, the shepherds are at war with each other over their silly doctrines, privileges and power and desire for prosperity and fame.
The shepherds guard themselves and their flocks by pointing fingers at each other and at the sheep. Outside this confused melee of the shepherds and their captive sheep who follow the example of their overseers, the wolves wait panting knowing their meal is being readied.
Their only question is: How long before we can get beyond these shepherds or slip in among them and get our fangs into the sheep? The sheep smell the wolves and are afraid too but the shepherds use those fears to build their own ‘kingdoms’, rule their turf. As for the wolves, they think thus: First the sheep and then the shepherds!
But from without this confusion in the churches, denominations, sects, cults – I am told they number something like 40,000 – all jostling with each other to be greater than one another, each one claiming to be exclusive and special, the Voice of G-d comes as a zephyr of hope. Those who listen to this Voice and return to the Good Shepherd will not be disappointed.
EZEKIEL 34:1 The word of Adonai came to me: 2 “Human being, prophesy against the shepherds of Isra’el. Prophesy! Tell them, the shepherds, that Adonai Elohim says this: ‘Woe to the shepherds of Isra’el who feed themselves! Shouldn’t the shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the choice meat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, and you slaughter the best of the herd; but you don’t feed the sheep! 4 You don’t strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bandage the broken, bring back the outcasts or seek the lost; on the contrary, you tyrannize them with crushing force. 5 So they were scattered, without a shepherd, and became food for every wild animal — they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered around aimlessly on every mountain and hill; yes, my sheep were scattered all over the land, with no one to search for them or look after them.
7 “‘Therefore, shepherds, hear the word of Adonai: 8 “As I live,” Adonai Elohim swears, “because my sheep have become prey, my sheep have become food for every wild animal, since there was no shepherd, since my shepherds didn’t look for my sheep, and instead my shepherds fed themselves but not my sheep,” 9 therefore, shepherds, hear the word of Adonai! 10 Adonai Elohim says, “I am against the shepherds. I demand that they hand my sheep back to me. I will not allow them to feed the sheep, and they won’t feed themselves either. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths; they will be food for them no longer.”
11 “‘For here is what Adonai Elohim says: “I am taking over! I will search for my sheep and look after them, myself. 12 Just as a shepherd looks after his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so I will look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark. 13 I will bring them back from those peoples, gather them from those countries and return them to their own land. Then I will let them feed on the mountains of Isra’el, by the streams and in all the livable places of the land. 14 I will have them feed in good pastures; their grazing ground will be on the high mountains of Isra’el. They will rest in good grazing grounds and feed in rich pastures on Isra’el’s mountains. 15 Yes, I will pasture my sheep; and I will let them rest” says Adonai Elohim. 16 “I will seek the lost, bring back the outcasts, bandage the broken, and strengthen the sick. But the fat and the strong I will destroy — I will feed them with judgment.”
17 “‘As for you, my flock,’ Adonai Elohim says this: ‘I will judge between sheep and other sheep, between rams and billy-goats. 18 Wasn’t it enough for you to feed on the best pasture and drink from the clearest water? Did you have to trample the rest of the pasture and foul the remaining water with your feet? 19 So now my sheep eat what you have trampled with your feet and drink water fouled by your feet.’ 20 Therefore here is what Adonai Elohim says to them: ‘I will judge between the fat sheep and the thin sheep. 21 Because you push them with your flanks and shoulders and butt all the weak ones with your horns, till you scatter them in every direction; 22 therefore I will save my flock; they will no longer be prey; and I will judge between sheep and other sheep.
23 “‘I will raise up one shepherd to be in charge of them, and he will let them feed — my servant David. He will pasture them and be their shepherd. 24 I, Adonai, will be their God; and my servant David will be prince among them. I, Adonai, have spoken. 25 I will make a covenant of peace with them; I will rid the land of wild animals; and they will live securely in the desert and sleep in the forests. 26 I will make them and the places around my hill a blessing, and I will cause the rain to fall when it should — there will be showers of blessing.
JOHN 10: 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand, since he isn’t a shepherd and the sheep aren’t his own, sees the wolf coming, abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf drags them off and scatters them. 13 The hired worker behaves like this because that’s all he is, a hired worker; so it doesn’t matter to him what happens to the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own, and my own know me — 15 just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father — and I lay down my life on behalf of the sheep. 16 Also I have other sheep which are not from this pen; I need to bring them, and they will hear my voice; and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
17 “This is why the Father loves me: because I lay down my life — in order to take it up again! 18 No one takes it away from me; on the contrary, I lay it down of my own free will. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again. This is what my Father commanded me to do.”
Return to the Good Shepherd. Escape the in-between shepherds! It’s the best thing to do.
LENTEN MEDITATION 5
TRIED BY FIRE
It is not easy to understand why so-called disciples (talmidim) of Yeshua complain and make a hullabaloo when they are despised or persecuted. The Way, the Truth and the Life ought to be extremely clear to the talimidim. There is no need to despair imagining that some terrible thing has befallen the talmidim. Whatever recourse is possible through legal means can be attempted, but when the persecution comes, it might just be in line with Yeshua’s prophecies for His talmidim. The sheep are free to bleat but His Will be done!
Matthew 5: 10 “How blessed are those who are persecuted because they pursue righteousness! for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. 11 “How blessed you are when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of vicious lies about you because you follow me! 12 Rejoice, be glad, because your reward in heaven is great — they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way.
Mathew 10: 24 “A talmid is not greater than his rabbi, a slave is not greater than his master. 25 It is enough for a talmid that he become like his rabbi, and a slave like his master. Now if people have called the head of the house Ba‘al-Zibbul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! 26 So do not fear them… 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are powerless to kill the soul.
2 Timothy 2: 3 Accept your share in suffering disgrace as a good soldier of the Messiah Yeshua.
2 Timothy 3: 12 And indeed, all who want to live a godly life united with the Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted.
1 Peter 2: 12 But live such good lives among the pagans that even though they now speak against you as evil-doers, they will, as a result of seeing your good actions, give glory to God on the Day of his coming. 19 For it is a grace when someone, because he is mindful of God, bears up under the pain of undeserved punishment. 20 For what credit is there in bearing up under a beating you deserve for doing something wrong? But if you bear up under punishment, even though you have done what is right, God looks on it with favor. 21 Indeed, this is what you were called to; because the Messiah too suffered, on your behalf, leaving an example so that you should follow in his steps.
THIS IS WHAT YOU WERE CALLED TO – YOU SHOULD FOLLOW IN HIS STEPS.
Mathew 27: 12 But when he was accused by the head cohanim and elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate said to him, “Don’t you hear all these charges they are making against you?” 14 But to the governor’s great amazement, he did not say a single word in reply to the accusations.
Mathew 10: 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as a testimony to them and to the Goyim. 19 But when they bring you to trial, do not worry about what to say or how to say it; when the time comes, you will be given what you should say. 20 For it will not be just you speaking, but the Spirit of your heavenly Father speaking through you.
Wait patiently in the midst of all suffering and tribulations, rejoicing in the Ruach HaKodesh.
Revelation 6: 9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been put to death for proclaiming the Word of God, that is, for bearing witness. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, “Sovereign Ruler, HaKadosh, the True One, how long will it be before you judge the people living on earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Each of them was given a white robe; and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow-servants should be reached, of their brothers who would be killed, just as they had been.
Revelation 21: 1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer there. 2 Also I saw the holy city, New Yerushalayim, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “See! God’s Sh’khinah is with mankind, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and he himself, God-with-them, will be their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will no longer be any death; and there will no longer be any mourning, crying or pain; because the old order has passed away.”
5 Then the One sitting on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new!” Also he said, “Write, ‘These words are true and trustworthy!’” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z,’ the Beginning and the End. To anyone who is thirsty I myself will give water free of charge from the Fountain of Life.
LENTEN MEDITATION 4
TRUSTING YESHUA IS TRUSTING G-D
Luke 18:18 One of the leaders asked him, “Good rabbi, what should I do to obtain eternal life?” 19 Yeshua said to him, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good but G-d!
The Lenten procession begins with this perception. That ‘no one is good but G-d’. Yeshua went about doing good and we understand that good fruit can come only from a good tree, that is, the Tree of Life.
Acts 10: 36 “Here is the message that he sent to the sons of Isra’el announcing shalom through Yeshua the Messiah, who is Lord of everything. 37 You know what has been going on throughout Y’hudah, starting from the Galil after the immersion that Yochanan proclaimed; 38 how G-d anointed Yeshua from Natzeret with the Ruach HaKodesh and with power; how Yeshua went about doing good and healing all the people oppressed by the Adversary, because G-d was with him.
Indeed, the Mashiach was good because G-d was with Him and in Him reconciling the world G-dwards.
John 14: 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it will be enough for us.” 9 Yeshua replied to him, “Have I been with you so long without your knowing me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am united with the Father, and the Father united with me? What I am telling you, I am not saying on my own initiative; the Father living in me is doing his own works. 11 Trust me, that I am united with the Father, and the Father united with me.”
Here we understand something more than that the Mashiach was good because G-d was with Him. We also understand that the Mashiach is united with the Father and the Father is united with Him, that is, there is no distinction between the Father’s goodness and the Mashiach’s goodness, other than that the Mashiach voluntarily does not take any credit for ‘good’ Himself but ascribes it to the Father alone.
John 10:30 I and the Father are One.
That is, we discover with awe and believe Yeshua Mashiach as the Son of G-d, as being one with the Father, as having Deity. The Jews did not trust Him or they too would have reached this understanding, or if they had closely beheld His works, then too they would have found the Mashiach through His works!
John 10: 24 So the Judeans surrounded him and said to him, “How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us publicly!” 25 Yeshua answered them, “I have already told you, and you don’t trust me. The works I do in my Father’s name testify on my behalf, 26 but the reason you don’t trust is that you are not included among my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, 28 and I give them eternal life. They will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands. 29 My Father, who
gave them to me, is greater than all; and no one can snatch them from the Father’s hands. 30 I and the Father are one.” 31 Once again the Judeans picked up rocks in order to stone him.
The Mashiach, united with the Father and one with the Father, had come to manifest the Father in word and deed, that those who received Him might have eternal life.
Hebrews 1: 3 This Son is the radiance of the Sh’khinah, the very expression of God’s essence, upholding all that exists by his powerful word; and after he had, through himself, made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of HaG’dulah BaM’romim.
The Mashiach is the exact image or representation of G-d. He is “the sole expression of the glory of G-d [the Light-being, the [out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [G-d’s] nature”.
John 1: 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].(Amplified Bible)
John 1: 18 No one has ever seen God; but the only and unique Son, who is identical with God and is at the Father’s side — he has made him known.(Complete Jewish Bible)
In this Lenten season, who is it who seeks to find, perceive, understand and ‘see’ G-d? Search no more. You will find G-d in the face and being of Yeshua, the exact representation of the Father.
John 1: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with G-d, and the Word was G-d. 2 He was with G-d in the beginning.
Yes, but then we had no access to either G-d or the Word (Yeshua Adonai).
And even otherwise, do we really want such access to the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit. Thus, it is written:
John 1: 10 He was in the world — the world came to be through him — yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own homeland, yet his own people did not receive him.
Isaiah 53:2 For [the Servant of God] grew up before Him like a tender plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He has no form or comeliness [royal, kingly pomp], that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. 3 He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him. 4 Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
Yes,”He was not well-formed or especially handsome; we saw him, but his appearance did not attract us. People despised and avoided him, a man of pains, well acquainted with illness. Like someone from whom people turn their faces, he was despised; WE DID NOT VALUE HIM.”
Yet, this possibility of being able to ‘see’ Him exists, at all times, especially when one feels far far away from G-d or Yeshua Adonai. And the possibility exists because:
John 1: 14 And the Dvar Hashem took on gufaniyut (corporeality) and made his sukkah, his Mishkan (Tabernacle) among us, and we gazed upon his Kavod , the Shechinah of the Ben Yachid from Elohim HaAv, full of Hashem’s Chesed v’Emes. (Orthodox Jewish Bible)
John 1: 14 And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth. (Amplified Bible)
So, may this Lenten procession lead us to receiving Him instead of despising Him and avoiding Him. May we value Him, who and what He is, and His grace and goodness towards us. May we be taught of Him.
John 1: 12 But to as many as did receive him, to those who put their trust in his person and power, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 not because of bloodline, physical impulse or human intention, but because of God.
14 The Word became a human being and lived with us, and we saw his Sh’khinah, the Sh’khinah of the Father’s only Son,full of grace and truth.
Lent is the season when we can all be healed of our blindness. Lent is the season when we can all receive Him and esteem Him. Then, thus, we can partake of His Shekinah (glory).
Too simple? Yes, it is that simple.
LENTEN MEDITATION 3
01 MARCH 2015
THE WITNESS AND THE MESSAGE
Acts 10: 36 “Here is the message that he sent to the sons of Isra’el announcing shalom through Yeshua the Messiah, who is Lord of everything. 37 You know what has been going on throughout Y’hudah, starting from the Galil after the immersion that Yochanan proclaimed; 38 how G-d anointed Yeshua from Natzeret with the Ruach HaKodesh and with power; how Yeshua went about doing good and healing all the people oppressed by the Adversary, because G-d was with him.
39 “As for us, we are witnesses of everything he did, both in the Judean countryside and in Yerushalayim. They did away with him by hanging him on a stake; 40 but G-d raised him up on the third day and let him be seen, 41 not by all the people, but by witnesses G-d had previously chosen, that is, by us, who ate and drank with him after he had risen again from the dead.
42 “Then he commanded us to proclaim and attest to the Jewish people that this man has been appointed by G-d to judge the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets bear witness to him, that everyone who puts his trust in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
44 Kefa was still saying these things when the Ruach HaKodesh fell on all who were hearing the message.
Lent is the sacred procession of days that leads to this Witness and its consequence, namely the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on those who receive the Witness and hear the Message.
The Witness and the Message, of course, are understandable to those whose hearts have been prepared by G-d for receiving the revelation of His Only Begotten Son. Lent is the season when one waits quietly upon G-d in the hope that He will prepare the heart for the entrance of the revelation of Yeshua as Mashiach and the Son of G-d.
In other words, we need to encounter the Witness and the Message all over again, since we are so prone to forgetfulness,rebellion or sheer disinterest and indifference to that which is actually of paramount importance in G-d’s scheme of things for the Cosmos.
What exactly am I to remember this Lenten season? The Message often seems to be so out-of-this-world as to resist belief. And this is precisely why it is told us that if one finds oneself believing the Witness/Message, it is because something wonderful has been granted ‘from above’.
Ephesians 2: 8 For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. 9 You were not delivered by your own actions; therefore no one should boast.
[Kehillah in Ephesus 2: 8 For by unmerited Chen v’Chesed Hashem you have been delivered from Hashem’s Mishpat (Judgment) and granted a share in the Geulah (Redemption), through emunah; and this is not [an einfal (intuitive idea)] of yourselves, it is a matnat Hashem (gift of G-d); 9 Not the result [of the zchus (merit)] of doing ma’asim (works), so that before Hashem no man should be a ravrevan (boaster, braggart). Orthodox Jewish Bible]
And once this faith or trust in the Witness/Message has been imparted to the heart, then it is a matter or remembering and deepening one’s understanding and wisdom relating to the Person and Work of Yeshua Adonai, the Mashiach. It is towards this end that the Ruach Ha-Kodesh is poured out on those who listen and have been granted or gifted ‘faith’ by G-d.
John 14: 26 But the Counselor, the Ruach HaKodesh, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything; that is, he will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 “What I am leaving with you is shalom — I am giving you my shalom.
And when He is come, it is easy to see Yeshua as Lord of Everything. It is easy to look to Him to be set free and healed from all oppression from the devil, it is easy to expect good from Him. One also remembers how they did away with Him by hanging Him from the Tree. But G-d raised Him up from the dead and He was seen, not by everyone, but by Witnesses whom G-d had chosen, those who ate and drank with Him AFTER HE WAS RISEN.
This is the Witness we remember and we believe. And we receive the Message that the One who died for our sins is also the One who is there to judge us and grant us forgiveness of sins. In other words, deep within the judgement of the Maschiach lies His mercy – the forgiveness of our sins and the imparting of His peace, Shalom!
James 2: 13 For judgment will be without mercy toward one who doesn’t show mercy; but mercy wins out over judgment.
This Witness and Message is the pearl of great wisdom, the treasure hidden in Yeshua Mashiach which He reveals to us during the Lenten procession towards the celebration of His Crucifixtion, Death, Burial, Descent to Hades, Resurrection and Ascension.
Therefore, rejoice that G-d has revealed this to you and I from above, remember it constantly and rest in His goodness and mercy.
LENTEN MEDITATION II
February 26, 2011
LOSE THE MARROW-LIFE
Mattityahu 16: 24 Then Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach said to his talmidim, If anyone wishes to come after me, let him turn in hinnazrut (self-denial), and take up his etz shel hakarav atzmo (tree of self-sacrifice), and follow me.
25 For whoever wishes to save his nefesh shall lose it; but whoever loses his nefesh on account of me [Moshiach] shall find it.
26 For what will a man be benefited if he acquires the whole world and forfeits his neshamah, or what will a man give in exchange for his neshamah?
Lent is the season when people abstain from, say, meat or wine or facebook, etc to draw closer to G-d through a deliberate gesture of fasting, a metaphor for self-denial. Those who desire G-d thus state that they are willing to do without this or that delicacy in life, they are willing to forego something precious to draw closer to G-d. This is good and well-pleasing in G-d’s sight.
But it is even better if the Ruach Ha-Kodesh shows you something, a delicacy, a habit, a regret, a sorrow, a deep desire, a haunting memory, that has become so embedded in your very bones, akin to marrow, that it actually hinders any scope or prospect of drawing closer to G-d. That marrow-life is exposed in the light of G-d’s searching gaze. That marrow-life is the nefesh (soul).
And sometimes, if and while one observes Lent, and you sense G-d’s piercing gaze upon an aspect of your marrow-life, and if your ears are perked up like those of an alert, listening dog, then mayhap you will hear G-d ask a tough question from above (Gk. anothen): What is this marrow-life you wish to save? Would you be willing to lose that marrow-life on account of the Moshiach?
You can be certain that the Light does not wander about the nefesh, casting its burning spot here and there so that you get confused or despair. No! The Light settles on that one, singular special-to-you aspect of the marrow-life that requires to be put upon the tree of self-sacrifice. Sometimes, or usually, it is one complex, throbbing, living bundle consisting of several wriggling bits and pieces of nerves and muscle, a living matrix that recoils from, resists, revolts at the judgement and inevitable death sentence that the Light brings with It.
Yet, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the Ruach Ha-Kodesh is there with you and within you to enable you to let out a deep breath and say ‘Avi, if it is possible, let this Kos pass from me. But not as I will, but as you will!’
Mattityahu 26:39 And having gone forward a short distance, Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach fell upon his face, davening and saying, Avi, if it is possible, let this Kos pass from me. But not as I will, but as you will!
What do you discover in that moment when you pray that prayer of Yeshua’s, when you decide not to save your nefesh, when the life-breath goes out of you, when you let the power of G-d suck out the marrow-life from you?
There is a terrible moment of feeling abandoned, of utter emptiness, of tasting the Supreme Void, wherein too Adonai Elohim dwells.
(For the one directing. To the Deer of the Dawn. Mizmor Dovid.)
Eli, Eli, lamah azavtani? Why art Thou so far from my yeshuah, and from the words of my groaning?
And then, in the moment of the experience of dry bones, what do you think?
Yechezkel 37: 3 And He said unto me, Ben Adam, can these atzmot live? And I answered, Adonoi Hashem, Thou knowest.
And if you are still listening, perhaps you will hear:
Yechezkel 37: 5 Thus saith Adonoi Hashem unto these atzmot: Hinei, I will cause ruach to enter into you, and ye shall live; 6 And I will lay gidim (sinews, tendons) upon you, and will bring up basar upon you, and cover you with ohr (skin), and put ruach in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall have da’as that I am Hashem.
It is finished. Done. That aspect of one’s marrow-life has been emptied out. The bones that had been blocked by it are now clear passageways through which the Ruach Ha-Kodesh can blow freely. And upon those bones will be laid sinews, tendons, and skin.
And you will be able to live and walk, having put behind something that hindered you from the life of G-d, that yearning, that memory, that habit, that desire, that ambition, that regret, that sorrow, that seeking to find that which ought to have been left behind.
It has finally been flushed out, left behind. That is G-d’s grace!
Kehillah in Philippi 3: 13 Achim b’Moshiach, I do not consider myself to have laid hold; but one zach (thing) I do, forgetting the things behind, and stretching forward to the things ahead, 14 According to the tachlis I pursue the prize of the Shomayim Aliyah ascent of Hashem, the upward k’riah (call) of HaShem b’Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach Yehoshua.
It is finished. So you can go to the other disciples of Yeshua and say to them:
Mattityahu 26: 46 Arise, and let us go.
To Golgotha. To the Cross. Onward, to the Resurrection. To the Ascension. And the Parousia.
Lose the marrow-life, lose your nefesh. Take up the tree of self-sacrifice. Yield the dry bones to Hashem.
Yochanan 20: 21 Therefore He said to them again, Shalom Aleichem! As HaAv has sent Me, so also I send you. 22 And having said this, Moshiach breathed on them and says to them, Receive the Ruach Hakodesh.
Yeshua said: whoever loses his nefesh on account of me [Moshiach] shall find it. Don’t be afraid. Fear not!
Forward. Onward. It’s worth it!
LENTEN MEDITATION 1
February 18, 2015
SET FREE FROM ERROR!
It’s good to begin Lent with clear understanding in the spirit from the Paraclete, the Ruach Ha-Kodesh. This Lent season will cleanse me fully of the residues of the heretical and false teachings about Yeshua Mashiach imparted to me via the Norwegian Cult of the Smith’s Friends based out of Brunstad.
That teaching echoed and built upon the error that Edward Irving and the Irvingites brought into modern Christendom in the early 19th Century. By end-19th Century that spirit of error had lodged itself in Johan O Smith, founder of the Smith’s Friends, and his disciples. Since then, like the Mormons, error and heresy have built yet another kingdom on earth.
The central error in Irving’s and Smith’s teaching is that Yeshua was a sinner like fallen Adam and his progeny, that Yeshua had a flesh like ours in which he experienced sinful tendencies and that He had to cleanse himself, make Himself pure, so that He could be resurrected from the dead. Also, that while on earth, Yeshua was only a man who BECAME G-d because He cleansed Himself of all the sin that dwelt in Him.
However, the Ruach Ha-Kodesh teaches differently.
John 15: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
Lent is a good time to know and understand the True Vine. The True Vine is Yeshua and He is Love. The True Vine is the Word, a Person, not a black text on white paper. The True Vine has spoken or commanded cleansing over us who have trusted in Him and cling to Him. Remain in the True Vine.
Therefore: You are already clean because of the word I (Yeshua) have spoken to you.
The pruning is what G-d does to us or allows to happen to us in order that one can bring forth fruit. It is not so much about bringing about cleansing from sin. The fruit of the pruning is the gushing forth of the fountain of Divine Love towards all Creation and all Creatures and especially all Human Beings. It is the deepening and widening of a Well of Life which one has struck by the grace of G-d in Yeshua Mashiach.
Romans 11: 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
The ‘wild’ shoot has been grafted into the True Vine so that the ‘wild’ shoot, ready to produce evil fruit or to wither away, could experience Divine Love and Divine Cleansing and Divine Pruning and bring forth the Fruit of the Spirit. The Root, the True Vine, supports the in-grafted ‘wild’ shoots. We drink the Nourishing Sap.
The heresy of the Smith’s Friends is built on the idea that the True Vine was corrupt and ‘wild’ in the first place. This is the Spirit of Error. It is we who have been ‘wild’ and have been grafted into the True Vine, not by our own efforts but by His Grace.
Therefore: You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
Lent is the season where I can tell the Master Gardener who grafted the ‘wild’ one into the True Vine: Prune me! Let rivers of Living Water flow from my belly. Let there be fruit that will last. May all that I ask in Yeshua’s Name be granted.
May all who have fallen into the error of the Smith’s Friends and other such cults and sects be set free this Lenten season. Now the ‘wild’ shoots who have been grafted into the True Vine can drink of the Spirit of Grace and Supplications. They can ask G-d to set free the heretics too, and even all nations, to come to their senses and be grafted into the True Vine. And each ‘wild’ shoot can trust in G-d to affix them deeper into the True Vine and let the Nourishing Sap – the Blood of Yeshua – invigorate each one to accept the pruning from the Master Gardener that will allow ‘fruit that remains’ and sustains to come forth.
Isaiah 56: 3 Let no foreigner who is bound to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely exclude me from his people.” And let no eunuch complain, “I am only a dry tree.” 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
May we all be preserved from the spirit of error. May we all drink of the Spirit of Truth in Yeshua Adonai.