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Fellowship over meals

After God made a covenant with the People of Israel at Mount Sinai, Moses and the 70 leaders of Israel

“saw God, and they ate and drank.” (Exodus 24:11)

the did not literally saw God but felt His nearness. Every year Gods People also came together for a special meal, remembering how the Most High was willing to come to the help of those that worshipped Him. It was the most significant meal in the Tanakh (Old Testament) that God required the People to eat and as such Jesus (the Nazarene Jeshua, being a devout Jew) also took every year, as required by Scriptures, the occasion to have a Passover meal with those he loved.

And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.

(Exodus 12:14-17 KJB:PCE)

Jesus had more than once had meals with common people, sinners and publicans as well intimate meals with his beloved ones. We may not forget it was not generally accepted to have friendship with publican, because they were detested by the Jews at that time, because they were the tax collectors and had a reputation of adding their own greedy motives to the amount they collected. Just like the fishermen, when the master teachers asked the tax-collector Matthew to follow him, he went with Jesus, who wanted those who wanted to be his disciples to follow him in his word and not to be slaves of sin. When Jesus knew his time was coming to an end the master wanted to have the yearly memorial meal with his beloved in an upper-room in Jerusalem.

This coming week, on the first night of Passover (Passover Seder: Friday, April 19), believers who participate in the traditional Jewish Passover meal (known as a Seder) will have the opportunity to celebrate and enter into fellowship with Jeshua (Jesus Christ) as he instructed his disciples to do, the night he was betrayed and arrested.

Over the centuries, this Passover meal evolved into a lengthy ritual, and we don’t know for certain which parts of the custom existed at the time of Jeshua. We do know that Messiah’s last meal with his disciples included the breaking of bread and drinking of wine, as do Jewish meals to this day, and that is the part Jeshua or Jesus wants us to remember the most.

As Jeshua’s disciples gathered together for their final meal with him, Jesus blessed the bread, broke it, and said,

“This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19).

In Christendom we can find lots of people who first of all think Jesus is God, Who would have come to earth and Who would through a mysterious process come into the bread itself. This is called transubstantiation and is practised by Catholics, Anglicans, and Orthodox Christians, such as Greek, Ukrainian, Ethiopian, etc. as well as other denominations.

However, in the ancient Jewish practice of sacrificial offerings that God instituted, nothing ever transformed from one substance into another substance.  Rather, most of the animal offerings were killed and eaten.

When Jesus said

“This is my body”

he did not have the intention to have those around him to believe the bread would have become part of his body.

Jesus often spoke about himself in metaphors, especially in terms of bread and life.

He said,

“I am the bread of life”

and

 “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.”  (John 6:35, 51)

Throughout history we can see how God provide the food (literal and spiritual) for His people. The manna was bread for man. The spiritual manna now was this sent one from God, the Nazarene master teacher Jeshua, Jesus Christ.

Jesus his teaching about eating his body and drinking his blood should be taken as a figure of speech, having the spiritual manna provided and represented by those symbols.

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
(John 6:53-58 KJB:PCE)

Symbolically consuming the Word of God is not a foreign concept in Judaism and Jesus is seen as that Word of God having come into the flesh.

When we shall come together this Friday night we shall have a gathering where we remember those last hours of our master teacher. Assembled we shall feel united with brothers and sisters all over the world, gathering in private houses or in prayer halls (Kingdom halls or churches).

When we at the meeting come to eat the bread and drink the wine at the Passover meal this coming Friday night (April 19), we shall remember how we have been delivered from an eternal spiritual death that God provided through the sacrifice of His only begotten beloved son Jesus (Jeshua) him being
“the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).
With our sins paid for, his sacrifice heals any broken fellowship we had with God so we can freely commune with Him.
Coming together several times a year, we remember that moment of the Last Supper and once a year we remember it especially for two reasons, the liberation of Israel from Egypt, standing for the liberation of slavery from man, and secondly the liberation from the curse of death, by Jesus giving himself as a ransom for the sins of all.
All those meals we share in the year are just a reflection of that exceptional meal Jesus had in Jerusalem. The one night of fellowship on 14 Nisan is especially to remember those liberation acts provided by the Most High. By our gathering we show our thankfulness, but also our unity with all those who remember that Pesach Seder, all over the world. With all of them we have a united fellowship as brothers and sisters, being part of One Great Family, as children of God.
Christ has made know the path of freedom by his word to those who believe him and live in the truth. When calling ourselves “Christian”, “Jeshuaist” or “children of God” we should show others our unity and our “family”, showing them we are really following the real Christ and not the false dogmatic person who is part of a so called “holy Trinity”. Jesus worshipped not himself, but his heavenly Father, the Only One true God, the God of Abraham Who is an eternal Spirit (having no beginning or no birth and no end or no death). At the Memorial Meal Jesus had with his apostles he honoured that Singular God and expects from all his followers also to praise that One Supreme Being Who gave light and salvation to the world.
So, let us come together Friday night to remember how the Most High provided for the liberation of Israel and provided also for a lamb that brought salvation for Jews and non-Jews, to be liberated from the chains of death, being thankful that those who live in Christ’s word are free.
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Additional reading

  1. Egypt, Moshe and Those who never felt they belonged there
  2. At the Shabbat HaChodesh: readings about blood, liberation and purification
  3. Commentary on Parashat Tazria
  4. Why Fuss over a Little Leaven (Yeast)?
  5. Purification and perfection
  6. Shabbat HaGadol in preparation for Pesach

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  5. Bible verses on Children of God.
  6. “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” — Galatians 3:26
  7. A Gift from God
  8. How Do We Make a Difference as a Christian? (Part 3)
  9. Prayer: Our Home is in You (Genesis 17)
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  11. Prepping For Pesach
  12. 4 Ways Of Personal Preparation For Easter
  13. I Need Your Help: Invite Someone Extra to Your Seder – Shabbat HaChodesh 5779
  14. Pesach: Jumping for Passover (Part 1/2) ~ Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein
  15. Day 11: Go and Do Likewise
  16. Daily Scripture, 4-10-19
  17. “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.” ~Apostle Paul
  18. Let My People Go!
  19. Torah Portion – Pesach A
  20. Torah Portion – Pesach B
  21. Torah Portion Bo
  22. God’s name on Seder Night
  23. Faith and courage at Pesach time
  24. The Order of the Passover Seder
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Matthew 20 It is never too late

In the twentieth chapter of Matthew we can once more come to hear about the position of Jesus and our position concerning the Kingdom of God.

Jesus compares that Kingdom or the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. he wants us to to understand the secrets about that kingdom of heaven and how it shall be for those able to enter into the Kingdom of God.

Each person has a different path in life. For some it may take a long time before they come to God or before they come to realise who Christ is and what he really has done. We must understand that it may happen that a person comes later in the Biblical Truth than us, but shall receive the same promised salvation as us.

In our lifetime we also came to a point where we had to decide which way we wanted to follow. We too like every individual had to make the right choice. By choosing to follow Jeshua or Christ Jesus we had to know we had to become workers for him. When coming under Christ we have to follow up his teachings but also have to fulfil the tasks he has given his disciples to do. They and all those who say to be followers of Christ have to become labourers in ‘God’s garden’. Having become a Jesus follower (or a Jeshuaist if you want) we can all share in the fruit of our labours together, with all the saints who participate, we should not wait before taking action. As soon as you have chosen to follow Christ you should get at work for him.

Many people think that just because they have been a Christian longer than another, they are entitled to have a higher ranking place or to receive more rewards in heaven than a ‘newly born Christian’. People also should be aware that just because somebody may have believed in Jesus longer, it does not mean that they were actively seeking him or doing his will or where really giving their life to him. God is the Only One Who can see in the heart of a person. But He is also a righteous Father Who wants all to come to Him and all having the same rights in His Kingdom. He is not going to favour one above an other because that one has become first to Him or has been longer a follower of Christ.

To each person, God simply asks that we work in His vineyard. These are those that are part of the kingdom of heaven and are saved. All others that stand idly by, doing nothing, have nothing to show for themselves and therefore, have no rewards in heaven.This is one of the parables Jesus tells us to make sure we shall come to recognise we have to do works and should not sit on our ass to do nothing or should not worry any more about good and wrong, with the idea that we are saved and as such can do wrong without loosing the grace of salvation.

We should know that Jesus is the householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. He might find in this world many who own things, while God continually calls unto them, but are so taken by the materialistic goods of this world they have not much interest in the heavenly goods. At the other hand Jesus also may find people who own less in this world, but who are with their heart by his heavenly Father . At a certain time in their life they may respond and by doing so shall be blessed by God.

We should know that everyone that loves and serves God is equal in the amount of blessings they receive. Therefore, it is better to work together in this world, going in union for God’s kingdom. For pride may bring you to a point where you no longer serve the Lord and shall come to see that his reward shall not be for you.

To those that are new to the faith, we should be pleased that they at last found the way and should welcome them in with our whole heart. They may not be treated differently. We also may never forget that many are called but few are chosen, this means that not everyone excepts the invitation to work in God’s garden or kingdom. The harvest is ripe but there are only few labours that listen to God’s calling and enter it, in order to do God’s will.

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Preceding

Matthew 20:1-7 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Vineyard Workers

Matthew 20:8-16 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Last, First; First, Last

Matthew 20:17-19 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Onward to Jerusalem!

Matthew 20:20-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Selfish Request Rejected

Matthew 20:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Authority Not the Way – Serve Others

Matthew 20:29-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Two Blind Men Pitied and Healed

Hardships for choosing to follow the real Christ

In this world where most people want to keep to traditions and want to prefer to follow human doctrines instead of Biblical doctrines, the one wanting to believe what God says about Jesus often feels how difficult it is to follow in line with God’s Words.

Many of us have had to endure hardships because we chose to follow Jesus. For many who came to the Truth it took several years before they dared to take the steps in the right direction. Some do know the Biblical Truth and do follow the real Jesus, Jeshua the Nazarene teacher who is also called the son of man and son of God, but do not want to tell it to others. As such, for example, we had a friend who did not believe in the Trinity but kept working as a pastor in a trinitarian preaching company. He told us he could not say openly he did not believe any more in the Trinity because than he would loose his job as minister and would have no income any-more. That is often a very difficult factor, certainly for priests and ministers.

But also lay people have it difficult to make the right choice. Some of them have had to lose friends and family relationships, and on many occasions even had to endure verbal attacks. There are people all over the world who are being put in prison and literally risking their life to follow Jesus.

So the big question for most people is,

“Why?”

Yes

Why do we choose to risk it all to follow this person who we believe rose from the dead? What do we get out of it?

When they were fishermen Jesus had asked those simple men to follow him, what they did.  At that time they gave up their profession and their income. The thought of sacrifice very naturally suggests as its correlative that of compensation; so it is not at all to be wondered at that, before this conversation ended, Peter, the impulsive disciple, so much given to think aloud, should blurt out the honest question:

“Behold, we have forsaken all and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore?”

Peter asked Jesus what they would get, and that is perhaps the question which would be on most lips when wondering to follow Jesus or any other person. Certainly (for today) when it is all about a person who lived so many centuries ago and who seemed to have caused so many problems. Peter could not but remember that while the Master had insisted on his disciples denying self to follow him, he had spoken no less clearly of their finding life through losing it, and of their being rewarded according to their deeds. {see Matthew 16:24-27 } A more cautious man would have hesitated before he spoke; but it was no worse to speak it than to think it: and then, it was an honest and fair question; accordingly our Lord gives it a frank and generous answer, taking care, however, before leaving the subject, to add a supplementary caution, fitted to correct what was doubtful or wrong in the spirit it showed.

People should know that everybody is free to choose what or whom to follow. God has given man the free choice. His sent ones, the many prophets often asked people to follow their sayings. Every time they left the choice to the people themselves, never forcing them into doing something what they would not want to do of free choice. The same for the Nazarene master teacher. He never pushed people to come to listen to what he had to say. He never pushed people to come to see what he did. When he walked around in the area people came from their own to see and hear this special man. Not everybody could make up his mind about that special figure and many doubted his position or wondered who he really was and what he came to do.

The word recalls what is said in the book of Genesis as to

“the generation of the heaven and of the earth.”

Nobody can escape to this system and shall have to make the choice to be part of this world or to be part of God’s World. That is what it makes so difficult, man can not live in both worlds. Man can not keep to the human traditions with the many heathen festivals and at the same time claim he worships God. The Divine Creator demands complete submission to the Divine values and norms. One cannot eat from the two walls. God requires an honest surrender to Him. He also has given His son to bring salvation to the world and expects that the world shall come to recognise His only begotten son.

Coming closer to the end-times more adversaries of Gdo shall try to get people away from the Only One True God. They shall do their utmost best to confuse people and to make them to worship an other god than the God of Israel, Who is an Unseen Spirit.

People who come to see Who God is and who His son is and want to follow that son, with the knowledge that this son of God the way to god is, may find it difficult to persevere because the majority is against such an idea that a man would be able to do God’s Will and to offer himself for the sins of others. When you believe that you should be not ashamed and should not go hiding, but should dare to tell about your faith, that you believe that son of man is the son of God who gave his life as a ransom for the sins of many. The belief in the son of God should make you stronger than those who do not believe in that man of flesh and blood who gave his life, was killed, put in a grave but was also taken out of the dead by his heavenly Father. That resurrection of a man is for us the ultimate proof that a human being can stand up from the death. In case Jesus would be God, we naturally would not have any proof at all for the resurrection of man.

That resurrection may give us something to fight for. People may bully us, hurt us and even could kill us, but we do know there is much more behind the ‘curtain of this life’.

No matter what you have had to endure or give up to follow Jesus, the reward in the end is so much greater than what you ever would be able to gather here on earth. We should not be afraid to face those who are against us because we do not want to go for that false teaching of a three-headed god. We should believe in what the Bible tells us and should not be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies and by those who want to push us in the world of human doctrines. You should know such people may harm you in this life but there shall be nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Therefore are not afraid for such human beings who ignore the Words of God and Who, as a God Who tells no lies, declared Jesus to be His only begotten son. Save your fear for that God of Israel Who is a Spirit and not a man of flesh and blood who could be killed. That God of Abraham is an eternal Spirit Being, Who holds your entire life — body and soul — in His hands.

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mt 10:28 NIV)

Our reward for following Jesus is that we shall be able to find the way to God. Jesus is the right way to go. By listening to his words and by doing what he requires from us we shall be able to grow in his teachings and shall find enough strength to continue on the right path.

We may be sure there shall come a moment that the Son of man shall come to sit on the throne of his glory and at the end of times no one shall be able to escape his judgement. therefore let us not worry but look for Jehovah and do what God wants and not so much what the people want from us.

“Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD’s anger.” (Zep 2:3 NIV)

When doing what God wants and step in the footsteps of His only begotten son, then we shall be able to go on the right path to the small gate leading to immortal, perfect life where there shall be no more sickness or sorrow any more. Following Jesus worshipping his God we shall come to see the heavenly gates and shall come to see that those who do not believe the Biblical Truth like us may also find death, but shall not be able like us to see their loved ones again who have died.

“”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, {Or his only begotten Son } that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

“3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”” (Re 21:3-4 NIV)

“13  Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever.” (1Th 4:13-17 NIV)

What more could we possibly ask for?

Jesus has promised us everything we can dream of if we choose to suffer now, just like he did. So be encouraged today that you have a tremendous, indescribable reward waiting for you when our king returns!

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Preceding

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

Matthew 19:10-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Celibacy

Matthew 19:13-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Kingdom Belongs to Child-lik

Matthew 19:16-24 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

Matthew 19:25-26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Can be Saved

Matthew 19:27-29 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: We Have Left Everything for You!

Matthew 19:30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: First Last – Last First

Matthew 19 Concerning the saved ones and those able to enter the Kingdom

Matthew 19:16-24 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

Matthew 19:16-24 – Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

|| Mark 10:17-25; Luke 18:18-25

MT19:16 And, look! a [young] person[1] approached Jesus, asking, “Teacher, what good shall I do[2] so that I might have everlasting life?”[3] MT19:17 Jesus told him, “Why do you ask me about some ‘good’?[4] [Only] One is ‘good’.[5] But if you wish to enter Life,[6] observe the commandments.”[7] MT19:18 This person answered, “Which [commandments]?” Jesus responded: “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false testimony,’ MT19:19 ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” [Exodus 20:13-16] MT19:20 The young man told Jesus, “I have guarded myself regarding all of these.[8] What more am I lacking?”[9] MT19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish perfection[10] leave and sell your belongings[11] and give to the poor[12] – then you will have treasure in heaven – and [then] come be my follower.”[13] MT19:22 But having heard this statement the young man departed very depressed,[14] for he had many possessions.[15] MT19:23 Now Jesus told his disciples, “I tell you this truth: Rich people will only enter the Realm of Heaven with great difficulty.[16] MT19:24 In addition I tell you this: It is easier for a camel to enter through a needle’s eye[17] than for rich people to enter the Realm of Heaven.”

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[1] A [young] person: Revealed in verse 20.

[2] Teacher, what good shall I do: Mark 10:17 adds, “… a certain man ran up and fell upon his knees before him and put the question to him: ‘Good Teacher, what must I do…’” He addresses Jesus as “Good Teacher.” Luke 18:18 adds, “… a certain (religious) ruler.” Therefore, a young rabbi. The Received Text (KJV) has, “Good Teacher.”

[3] Everlasting life: The Greek is ZOEN AIONION. Or, KJV: eternal life; RHM: life age-abiding; TCNT: immortal life; BECK: everlasting life. See word studies else where by researching AION or everlasting life.

[4] Why do you ask me about some ‘good’: This response has resulted in much commentary. If Jesus were “God” one wonders why he would resist a title with the word “good” in it. The Lesson of Eden is that only Yehowah can determine what is ‘good’ and this is not the responsibility of Messiah. Research the word good or AGATHOS (from which the name Agatha comes). Note that the Nazarene’s response is to point to the Ten Commandments and the Law. He does not originate his own philosophy.

[5] [Only] One is ‘good’: Or, KJV: none is good but one, that is, God; ASV: One there is who is good; KNX: God is good, and he only; WMS: there is only one who is perfectly good; ABUV: One is the Good. The subject is absolute or ultimate Good. No one would argue that Jesus was no a “good man.” Note John 7:12. Compare also how others are described as “good.” (2 Samuel 18:27; Proverbs 14:14) Jesus recognizes there are good people (Matthew 12:35; Luke 6:45; Romans 5:7). Surely Jesus refers to his Father, Yehowah.

[6] To enter Life: It may be argued that “Life” here is something like John 5:24 and 1 John 3:14. Thus “Life” means the new Life within the Realm of Heaven – the Church. Others will limit it to that future Life though both may be include.

[7] Observe the commandments: It is possible Jesus speaks to a young Jewish rabbi. Note the commandments Jesus lists. It will startle some what he has omitted in a list of his own choosing: the Name and the Sabbath. Jesus goes on to quote Exodus 20:13-16 then skipping back to Exodus 20:12. He also quotes what he calls late the Second Greatest Commandment: Leviticus 19:18.

[8] I have guarded myself regarding all of these: The KJV version adds: “… from my youth up.” Or, ASV: all these things have I observed; WEY: carefully obeyed.

[9] What more am I lacking: Or, NEB: where do I still fall short; BER: how do I still fall behind; WEY: what more is required. One wonders if there is some self-righteous hypocrisy here. However, Paul himself claims such rigorous righteousness or obedience to the law (Philippians 3:6).

[10] If you wish perfection: Or, KNX: if thou hast a mind to be perfect; NEB: if you wish to go the whole way; NASB: to be complete. To the Nazarene spiritual perfection will involve charity. See notes on Matthew 5:48. – Perfect: This is the Greek word TELEIOI from TELOS (= “end”) and may be rendered “complete, mature, fulfilled.”

[11] Leave and sell your belongings: Or, RHM: withdraw! sell thy substance; go and sell your possessions. Note how in Luke 12:32, 33 Jesus tells his “little flock” the same thing. Note their response in Acts 2:44, 45; Acts 4:34-37.

[12] Give to the poor: The man could divest himself of his possessions in any manner of ways: giving it to his family, hiding investments. Jesus gives no hint that he expects the man to contribute to him though never was there a poorer man on earth (2 Corinthians 8:9). The young rabbi must say goodbye to all his belongings – strip himself from material attachment and desire.

[13] And [then] come be my follower: Note he must do this before becoming a follower or disciple of Jesus. It is possible “follower” means a member of the Nazarene’s private entourage of apostles.

[14] The young man departed very depressed: Or, KJV: he went away sorrowful; NASB: he went away grieved; KNX: sad of heart; RIEU: in gloom; WMS: in deep distress; PME: crestfallen. We watch our Lord’s eyes as he follows the young man as he leaves and we note a slight expression of pity. We would like to know the future of this young rabbi. Did he follow later, become an angry opposer screaming for crucifixion, or merely indifferent. We wonder at his death what thoughts he must have had.

[15] Many possessions: Or, NASB: owned much property; NEB: a man of great wealth; BECK: very rich.

[16] Rich people will only enter the Realm of Heaven with great difficulty: Perhaps of all the teachings of the Nazarene this is the one most disliked by western capitalist society. While the world struggles to be rich Jesus warns of the great difficulty in such conflicting lifestyles and ideals. Compare the notes on Matthew 5:42 and Matthew 6:25. Or, KJV: a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven; ASV: it is hard for a rich man; MON: a rich man will find it difficult. Though the celestial realm of God is the final goal, Jesus makes it clear that it will be very hard for a rich person to become a Christian and gain membership in the Realm of Profession. Note Paul’s counsel to the rich at 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Throughout the Gospel Age there have been wealthy Christians who gave all to help others, while others used their riches to forward the Gospel message. Research the words rich and riches. In Bible terms “rich” means having a surplus (Mark 12:44; 2 Corinthians 8:14).

[17] Camel to enter through a needle’s eye: The Lamsa translation of the Aramaic has this ‘a rope through the needle’s eye.’ Some understand it is the difficulty a camel has in crawling through a very narrow gate to enter a city. It must get on its knees and move forward with difficulty. The Nazarene does not say it is impossible nor does he rule it out altogether. He just says it will be difficult for a rich person to give attention to discipleship while torn over riches. The conflict between love and greed is the struggle between self and others.

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Preceding

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

Matthew 19:10-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Celibacy

Matthew 19:13-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Kingdom Belongs to Child-like

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – Grounds for Divorce

|| Mark 10:1-12

MT19:3 And now Pharisees approached Jesus to tempt him,[1] asking, “Is it permissible to divorce[2] a woman for any cause?”[3] MT19:4 Jesus responded to their question by saying, “Did you never read[4] that the One who created male and female[5] [Genesis 1:26, 27] from the Beginning[6] made them MT19:5 and He said:[7] ‘On account of this a man will leave behind his father and mother and he will stick[8] to his woman; and the two will become one flesh’? [Genesis 2:24] MT19:6 So, they are no longer two but one[9] flesh. Therefore, whatever The God[10] has yoked together,[11] let no person divide them.”[12] MT19:7 Now the Pharisees asked him, “So why does Moses command a paper of dismissal and divorce?”[13] [Deuteronomy 24:1-4] MT19:8 Jesus answered them, “Moses conceded the divorcing of your women because of your hardheartedness.[14] But it was not so in the Beginning. MT19:9 I tell you this: that whoever divorces his woman[15] not for the reason of sexual immorality[16] and marries another,[17] commits adultery.”

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[1] To tempt him: See Matthew 16:1 where they first test him.

[2] Is it permissible to divorce: One wonders why the Pharisees ask this question as a test of Jesus. It is possible that because there was considerable disagreement on this subject among the Jews, they had found a perplexing question very difficult to answer without offending someone (Shammai versus Hillel schools of thought). We are very interested in how Jesus will handle this. Will he compromise? Will he rationalize an answer favorable to all? The question may also be rendered: RSV: Is it lawful.

“Divorce” in Hebrew carries several meanings: Deuteronomy 22:19, “send away”; Leviticus 22:13, “drive out”; Deuteronomy 24:1, 3 “a bill of divorcement” means literally in Hebrew, “a book of cutting off.” Regarding Jewish divorce see Josephus (Jewish Antiquities, XV, 259 [vii, 10]; 4. 8. 23). Note that in Malachi 2:16 Yehowah says, “I hate divorce.”

[3] For any cause: The problem resulted from the Jewish interpretation of Deuteronomy 24:1-4. Jewish men could divorce for almost any reason. This could include, according to at least one rabbi, that if a man found a more desirable and lovely woman. Note, however, that the Law did not provide for a woman divorcing her husband. On this compare the notes on Matthew 19:9.

[4] Did you never read: This introduction has a degree of cutting sarcasm to it: these are pompous and arrogant teachers of the Law who have studied the Torah completely. Jesus is not unaware of their hidden agenda.

[5] The One who created male and female: Jesus means Yehowah in the designation “the One.” He alludes to Genesis 1:26, 27.

[6] Beginning: Jesus uses the word in relation to the creation of humankind. It is the Greek ARCHES.

[7] He said: Jesus nowhere hints that he believed this One to be himself as Jehovah. We also may draw the conclusion that Jesus believed the account of Genesis. Jesus here quotes Genesis 2:24.

[8] Stick: Or, KJV: cleave; RSV: joined. The Greek is KOLLETHESETAI. It is drawn from the root KOLLA which means to “glue.”

[9] No longer two but one: Or, NEB: it follows that they are no longer two individuals; PME: no longer two separate people, but one. We must make a note that this word “one” is taken by Trinitarians in some mystical form as if it proves their doctrine. On this issue research the text Genesis 2:24 in Nazarene Commentary as well as the Hebrew echad.

[10] The God: The Greek is HO THEOS as it is in most cases of designating the Father of Jesus, Yehowah. Research the Greek HO THEOS.

[11] Yoked together: Or, KJV: joined together. Marriage is the “yoking” of two different people. The word conveys the idea of two equal beasts of burden under the same yoke (Numbers 19:2; Deuteronomy 21:3; 1 Samuel 6:7). The Law forbade yoking animals of different strength. The Greek word-group, ZYGOS, ZEUGOS has the thought of a yoke and are rooted in ZEUGNYMI meaning “yoke; couple; join; bind; unite together.” The Greek ZEUGOS may include “a pair” or “yoke” as in Luke 2:24; 14:19, a “pair of turtledoves.” Birds such as these mate for life.

[12] Let no person divide them: Or, KJV: put asunder; TCNT: must not separate. The main “person” or “man” here would be the husband.

[13] A paper of dismissal and divorce: A reference to Deuteronomy 24:1-4. Or, KJV: a writing of divorcement; KNX: a writ of separation; TCNT: serve his wife with a notice of separation.

[14] Because of your hardheartedness: The Nazarene gives the reason for divorce: the hard hearts of males. Or, KJV: the hardness of your hearts; NEB: because you were so unteachable; WMS: because of your moral perversity; PME: because you knew so little of the meaning of love.

[15] Whoever divorces his woman: This verse has come in for considerable debate and discussion because Matthew, Mark and Luke read each differently. Only Mark 10:12 adds, “…and if ever a woman, after divorcing her husband, marries another, she commits adultery.” This liberated women to seek their own divorce. However, the grounds for divorce remain the same in both cases.

[16] The reason of sexual immorality: Jesus gives only one reason. The Greek here is PORNEIA and is worthy of considerable research. The word is also rendered: RHM: unfaithfulness; RSV: unchastity; GDSP: her unfaithfulness. The root of PORNEIA is from “to buy” as in the purchase price of a prostitute and so “fornication” first became synonymous with “prostitution.” (Genesis 38:24; Exodus 34:16; Hosea 1:2; Leviticus 19:29) The word occurs about 65 times in the Bible. Most often in Hosea (17) and secondly in 1 Corinthians (11). In the Christian Bible fornication is incest (1 Corinthians 5:1), adultery (1 Thessalonians 4:3), a sin against one’s own body (1 Corinthians 6:18), “unnatural” sex (Jude 7). Paul alludes to Numbers 25:1+ and the fornication of Israelite men with Moabite women, possibly temple harlots as religious worship is associated.

  1. F. Westcott, Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians (1906, p. 76) defines PORNEIA: “This is a general term for all unlawful intercourse, (I) adultery: Hos. 2:2, 4 (LXX); Matt. 5:32; 19:9; (2) unlawful marriage, 1 Cor. 5:1; (3) fornication, the common sense as here [Eph 5:3].” Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (revised by F. W. Gingrich and F. Danker, 1979, p. 693) defines PORNEIA as “prostitution, unchastity, fornication, of every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse.” “Fornication” is generally related to adultery, rape, and prostitution (Genesis 34:1, 2, 6, 7, 31; Genesis 38:24-26; Genesis 39:7-9).

The question may be raised whether sexual intercourse between two consenting persons who intend to marry is “fornication.” Some would state that it is. However, we are unable to find a single case where sex between engaged persons is considered “fornication.” Virtually every occurrence of “fornication” is limited to rape, adultery, incest, or prostitution. Indeed, the word “prostitution” could replace “fornication” in the Prophet Hosea and most of the cases elsewhere. While adulterous persons were stoned under the Law, couples (engaged or not) who had sexual intercourse were not stoned but required to marry, the male giving up divorce rights and required to pay a fine to the father of the woman (Exodus 22:16, 17; Deuteronomy 22:28, 29).

Since “fornication” is strongly prohibited to Christians it is necessary that each disciple research fornication, read and meditate on these verses and their related principles.

[17] Marries another: If one divorces and does not remarry adultery is not committed. Compare Mark 10:11, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.” Luke 16:18, “Everyone that divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he that marries a woman divorced from a husband commits adultery.”

 

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Preceding

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Find extra verses to think about: Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

The Hater of Jesus and Jesus’ followers having become a speaker for him

Concerning the forgiveness of God we have an incredible le example in the Scriptures. We find a figure who really loved God, but did not want to see that Jesus was a favourite of God. He even thought the followers of that Jesus had to be killed and those teachings of that Nazarene silenced.

In the Book of books we can find the Roman man who was monstrous and unmerciful; breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord. He made havoc of the church, entering into every house and hauling away men and women, putting them in prison. Indeed, some he even put to death.

On his way to Damascus, going to do away of those followers of Christ, he got stricken by light and blinded. He came to understand he was blind though he could see and now when he was blind he came to see and understand who that sent one from God was and why that man of flesh and blood was so important.

When Paul of Tarsus was called by Jesus it was because God loved this man and wanted to use that man to proclaim the truth about the Nazarene man of flesh and blood, who gave his life for mankind. For sure God forgave Paul his horrible acts, killing so many in the name of God. Can you imagine the difficulty the followers of Christ had by having to accept this vengeful killer of fellow brothers having chosen by Jesus and by god to become a speaker for Christ?

The talmidim and other followers of Christ may have found Paul his conversion to be a bit of a stretch. But clearly they underestimated the power of the Most High. Once more in history we can see that God forgave a person and was willing to use him for his Plan. By the act of Jesus, giving his life, by doing the Will of his heavenly Father, salvation or liberation of death and whitewashing of sin came unto mankind and as such also on Paul.

“Paul was indeed a new creation in Christ, old things had passed away and all things were becoming new. He came a stayed with me for about two weeks and we talked at great length about many things. And one thing towered above all others in Paul’s mind – it was the Grace of God.”

Peter at first had at first not such a good eye on the choice of Jesus to use Paul for his work. He also had an other idea about the Grace of God.

“His understanding of grace was different than what we had been taught from our childhood. We had viewed grace as God’s favour, given in kindness to the undeserving. But this was not the message Paul brought to me.

“Grace is the power of Christ working in me and through me,”

he said with such passion and conviction, one could hardly resist him.

“I got this directly from the Lord Jesus himself,”

he would add; underscoring his resolve in making sure I understood it.

Paul was not only convincing; he was right.

The apostles remembered how Jesus had told them that there would come to them a Spirit of Truth, who was going to guide them into all the truth. (John 16:12-13) They also remembered that the Most High was going to reveal what was Christ’s. When Jesus said that the Spirit would take the things that are his and will reveal or disclose (transmit) it to them (Joh16:15) they did not understand it. But now they were confronted by some other ideas which they would never have thought of before. Peter confesses

“I myself had indeed experienced the grace of God on many occasions, but did not fully understand it at the time. I just knew that the power of the Lord was surging in me and through me in ways that left me amazed with what happened. Think about it – my shadow healed a man! I guess you could say I took the heat off of him. Yet, it wasn’t me; it was the grace of God in me.

After the conversion of Paul they came to see how his work pulled others to recognise Jesus as the Way to God. They also understood God must have forgiven Paul for what he did against followers of Jesus and even made him in a new

“Fisher of men.”

Peter had experienced the Lord’s power many times; but when he was fifteen days with Paul, it helped him to understand more fully that it was the grace of God in him – and through him. It was the power of Christ helping him to do His will. Paul and Peter became fast friends. He wrote

Our visit together also showed me that, while Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles, and I to the Jews – we both were life-long friends on one mission: Proclaiming to all the Gospel of God’s Grace!

The love of God giving forgiveness to Paul opened new doors. The forgiveness of the prosecuted followers of Christ, members of the sect The Way, now forgave Paul for what he had done and gave him full credit for doing the work of God and being a righteous preacher in the name of Christ.

Today we too should always be open-minded, even to people who are against us, or who do everything against our movement. We should forgive their attacks against us and should try with friendly words to have them to come to open their eyes. We also should pray for those who do not yet see that Jesus is the way to God, the sent one from God, who is now sitting at the right hand of God, as a mediator between God and man.

Even when they keep attacking us, we should keep forgiving them, even perhaps thinking

“Please God forgive them, because they do not know what they do.”

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Matthew 18:23-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Forgiveness

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Forgiveness a command given for our well-being

A heart full of love is a fundamental requirement

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

When looking at Matthew 18:23-35 we can compare the human way and the godly way of forgiving and reactions about debts and attitudes towards others.

Once again we can find the master teacher using a story or parable to give a lesson. Jesus illustrates his view of unending mercy with a parable demonstrating how real lovers of God should think about the way God treats people. They also could look at the examples Jesus gave them and therefore could find enough reasons to extend unlimited forgiveness to others.

It can well be that the Nazarene rabbi had in mind a corrupt Herodian bureaucrat who has used his position to make himself wealthy, but has instead lost the Herod’s court a massive amount of money. Slaves could be in important roles in the Empires, so that they could accumulate wealth and power, even if they were in a master-slave relationship with the Emperor.

How often do we not encounter situations where we are confronted with matters that trouble us and with people who own something to us or should still have something to arrange for us? How often does it not happen that we are hurt by some one and that we have to arrange something to restore the relationship again?

John Nolland points out the annual income of Herod’s kingdom when he died in 4 B.C.E. was about 900 talents, to be divided between his sons (Nolland, Matthew, 756). This servant’s debt is more than ten times the value of Herod’s kingdom. In fact, the word translated as ten-thousand is often translated, “myriad,” an uncountable number.

When confronted with a person who did us wrong, him asking to have mercy with him, how much mercy do we want to give?

In Jesus’ parable we find a servant who has experienced an audacious act of mercy and has been released from the bondage of his debt. Though his reaction to others who had debts to him is not in comparison. In this story the man goes looking for the debtor to threaten him. He laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying,

‘Pay me what you owe.’ (Matthew 18:28b)

This time we also find the fellow servant asking for forgiveness, using the exact same words as the unmerciful servant. He also asks for more time to raise the cash to pay the debt. This time the unmerciful servant is not willing to extend him additional time to pay. The debt may also been large, but not unmanageable as the debt of the one who asks to be paid back. As a reaction for not being paid back straight away the debtor is being put in the same prison in which the unmerciful servant was going to go if he had not been shown mercy by his master.

Have you thought about it how Jesus came to pay our debts? And can you imagine how his heavenly Father was willing to accept Jesus his ransom offering, so that we could be liberated of our debt to God?

You may perhaps not go around seeking to plot your revenge or wallow in a cesspool of bitter emotions and animosity, but how would you react to those who have debts (in all sorts of ways) to you? For people who did wrong to you would you like to erase them from your memory, as if they never existed, and as such would think you do not have to forgive that person or that all matters would be set?

We should know that it is no healthy situation if we want to save ourselves trouble of seeking to be the mature one by absolving and letting go, not having to carry around the pain of what a person did to hurt you.

The ones who want to call themselves Christian should be followers of Christ and try to have the same attitude as Christ. The way we act against people who did wrong against us is very important in the eyes of the Lord. Vengeance is a word and an act which should not be in our way of life. we should be careful not to let the ego and pride provoke us to create mountains out of mole holes in situations where a simple, it’s okay never mind, would have solved the problem.

Today it seem a fashion to offend people or to point a finger at some one. We should know that nobody is perfect and as such people could do things to us we do not like. It also can well be that people will mess things up, irritate and will disappoint you in ways that will astound you, and indeed worse still you are just as capable yourself of doing the same actions to them, nobody is above being the wrong at any point in time.

This parable should get us thinking about the attitude we want to take to others, who we think have wronged us.
It might not be easy but we we should strive to provide for grace for everybody, and should be humble enough to approach the other with love to forgive.

We live in a fallen world where terrible events happen to us beyond our control, but as justified as it may seem emotionally, holding on to that pain does us more harm than good, it can never make us happy in the long run.

Forgiving may not always be easy, it takes a lot of maturity and spiritual growth for us to come to a place where we can truly let go of hurts, but it is a gift that is worth offering to yourself.

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Preceding posts

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

Matthew 18:21-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Forgive 77 Times!

Matthew 18:23-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Forgiveness

Ableness to forgive those who wronged us

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