Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Matthew 9-10
We begin chapter 9 with Messiah forgiving a man. Matthew 9:1-2
Notice that the first priority to Messiah is forgiveness of sins. Not healing of physical ailments or making life more comfortable, but a forgiveness of sins.
This is rather the opposite of priorities in our culture where sin, in essence, doesn’t exist because sin is transgression of the law (1 John 3:4) and our culture teaches that the law of YHWH is not applicable to us.
However, this was also a bold move because a mere man does not have the authority to forgive sins, only YHWH can do that and here was a man forgiving sins. This was considered blasphemous and we see that very objection brought up by a scribe (many texts say teacher of religious law or pharisee). Some translations say that they said this to themselves, others say “within themselves”. Either way, Matthew 9:4 lets us know that these were thoughts, not spoken words. We see now that the Messianic investigation has begun because they are following Him around. We also see it is in the first phase of the investigation because they are speaking silently to themselves, as they are not allowed to question Messiah at this point.
I love how our Messiah was having none of that – even if they were thoughts only. He immediately turns to them and calls them out in Matthew 9:4. Can you imagine what those scribes were thinking when he called them out for their thoughts? Wow
This was a lesson so that all would know that the Messiah had the authority on earth to forgive sins. Stop for a second and think about that. What we just read here is a world changing event. Up to this point, Yeshua (Jesus) had not shared this detail. However, those who knew of the prophecy of the Messiah should have been familiar with this. (Isaiah 44:22).
In Matthew 9:9 Yeshua calls Matthew to follow him. He was a tax collector which was a hated profession. In this time tax collectors were looked upon as the lowest of the low in society. In the gospels of Mark and Luke, this same account is given, only the name they used was Levi. Some commentaries indicate that this was a second name for Matthew or a “more honorable” name. We see similar circumstances where Peter is also called Simon. Either way, having studied the foundational texts, we can certainly see why the name “Levi” would carry so much honor.
Matthew 9:36-38 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.””
Few passages in the Bible speak more clearly to the heart of our Father and the Messiah He sent to us. The “sheep without a shepherd” reference reminds us of King David who was a shepherd and of course has lineage traced to Messiah. (More patterns the Father lays before us.)
In Matthew 9:10-13 we see Messiah reclining in a house with sinners and tax collectors. The Pharisees asked the disciples how their teacher could eat with such people. Yeshua replied when he heard this:
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13
(Notice that they are still not engaging the Messiah one on one, first stage of the investigation)
Matthew 9:20 makes my heart smile as it brings to mind all those “What Would Jesus Do” bracelets. We all wore them truly wanting to remind ourselves to walk in His footsteps. Do you remember them? Here in this passage we see what appears to be a slight detail but it actually tells us a lot. Most Bibles call the part of Messiah’s garment that the woman touched “fringes” or “corners”. If we go deeper through Bible hub we may see “Tassels”. Deeper still, we see that these were actually tzitzit. Check it out on Biblehub using the method we talked about on our first day of Genesis. Make sure you go back and read Numbers 15:38 as well. Do you recall the purpose of the tassels? YHWH gave it to us in that Numbers verse. My husband calls tzitzit the original “WWJD” accessory, as they are both intended for the same purpose but one follows in the actual footsteps of Messiah – and that makes my heart smile.
Matthew 10:5-15 speak of an amazing event that can often get overlooked when studying the Bible. Messiah gave the power to heal to the 12 apostles but with strict instructions. Firstly they were not to go to lands of the gentiles or Samaritans, but to the “lost sheep of Israel”. (Callback to Matthew 9:36). It was important at this time that his message reach YHWH’s chosen people. (The call to the Gentiles would come later.)
Notice that he specifically instructs them not to receive any money for their services and that could “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.” It is a precursor to the power the Apostles would receive when the Holy Spirit came after Messiah’s ascension.
Next comes the warning of what will come. They will be persecuted. They will face challenges like none they have faced before. The truth of YWHW’s word when manmade and denominational traditions are stripped away will send believers down a very narrow and turbulent path. But with the warning comes assurance that they should have no fear.
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”Matthew 10:28
Many believers have died in the centuries since Messiah blessed us with his first coming. Some of these were the result of being confronted with a choice. Denounce Him or die.
“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32
I marvel at the courage it takes to make that stand.
New wine, old wineskins
By the time Messiah arrived on the scene, manmade doctrine was running rampant. The Pharisees and Sadducees were teaching tradition and additions to the law as being on the same level (and some greater than) the laws of YHWH and they were demanding obedience to these additions. Messiah came to further show us how to walk in YHWH’s ways, but even so much closer to the source in terms of time, the people had already strayed pretty far from the original path YHWH had laid out for them.
Thus says the Lord (YHWH): “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.Jeremiah 6:16
Messiah did not come to bring a new faith or a new set of commandments, as we’ve already discussed, but to uphold, fulfill (we talked about that word earlier this week), and further illuminate (not change) what YHWH had already put into place. He did not come to undermine or contradict the Father, as is commonly but subtly taught.
The old ways were YHWH’s way, the law He had given to Moses, the Word of YHWH. This is what is considered good according to Messiah. The new ways are the traditions of elders, the oral law, the fence laws man had added and were enforcing as if it were a sin to violate them, in many cases and even greater sin in their eyes than violating YHWH’s commandments.
These new ways ended up with people following men instead of the one true God.
“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
Matthew 9:14-17 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” Matthew 9:14-17
The people were expecting Messiah to uphold their traditions as if they were the law of the Father. But Messiah knew the Word of God like no other (John 1:1) and He had no respect for these traditions of men that would usurp YHWH’s authority and give it to men instead.
However, this illustration is often used to “prove” the opposite of what it means, thanks to the influence of Marcion, among others, who sought to not only discredit the “old” testament, but to have it removed entirely from the Biblical canon. Marcion taught that there are two gods in the Bible and the one of the old testament was vengeful and mean while the one of the new testament was loving and kind. Marcionism permeated the church and the ghosts of his teachings have seeped into our doctrine throughout the centuries, with many scholars who study these unbiblical practices and concepts tracing them back to his influence. Many will say that this passage means Messiah is a new faith and you cannot mix the old faith with the new, therefore it must be completely done away with.
In many ways, Luke repeats Matthew so we can go to Luke 5:38-39 for a little more enlightenment on this
“But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.” Luke 5:38-39
We see here that after tasting the new wine and the old, people prefer the old, which is YHWH’s way.
Old wine – YHWH’s laws
New wine – manmade doctrine
Old wineskin – Messiah
New wineskin – man on his own
However, I’ve also read where people feel this is saying the opposite. It’s a good rabbit trail to take and you’ll need to examine it and come to your own conclusions with the help of the Father.
Note: Noted Bible scholars and have struggled with this double parable for centuries and it is possible that even those who heard it struggled with the meaning. So do not expect a simple, bite sized answer. There are many ideas and I’ve shared my current understanding. However, I happened upon a wonderful article that is well thought out, very thorough, and I think best explains the most plausible and Biblically supported understanding I’ve seen to date. It is long and you absolutely must read to the end in order to grasp the full picture and understand the conclusion. Click here to read that. (I have no experience with this website other than this article)
Is the map oriented correctly?
Please be careful and leery of any teaching which implies Messiah is calling the Father’s ways bad. In this case, many use this passage to say that Messiah is doing away with the “old” testament and bringing a new religion. #1 that contradicts the Father. #2 It contradicts Messiah (see yesterday’s notes). #3 That would make Messiah a false prophet (which He is not) according to the Deut 13 test.
Therefore, we know Messiah was doing no such thing according to His own words and actions (Not to mention the Father’s). Whenever we think the Messiah is degrading or contradicting the Father, we must reorient ourselves and look at it from another possible view.
I liken it to using a map. If you have your map facing the wrong way, you’ll have the roads correct and the landmarks in their proper place on the map, but using that map in the wrong position will never lead you where you want to go. YHWH’s word is truth and His instruction good, if we see the Word saying otherwise we must understand that our map (point of view) is not oriented correctly and we have to line it up with the straight edge of the Father’s truth in order to understand.
- YHWH’s Word is our straight edge to which all else must line up. Never the other way around.
And now for another episode of Why Did He Do That?
In Matthew 9:32 we see another Messianic Miracle by the Pharisee’s standards. The Pharisees had devised a method of casting out demons. I hope you’re paying attention to the details I’m tossing out there because they are important. In this case, that key detail is that the Pharisees devised this method. It isn’t in Scripture. But I digress..
According to the Pharisees thinking, they were to ask the demon for its name and then they would cast it out by using that name. In their way of thinking, if a demon was not able to give its name or if a religious leader was not able to convince it to give its name, then there was no way to cast it out. Therefore, one of their Messianic miracles, something only the Messiah could do, was listed as casting out unnamed or mute demons. In this case when a mute man possessed by demons is brought to him and He immediately casts it out, we see that the Pharisees are right there witnessing it, and again not confronting Him yet but talking among themselves. He just did it again. Another Messianic miracle.
Sidenote: Do you remember what them not talking directly to Messiah about this tells us? Hint: We talked about it in yesterday’s notes.
We see in Matthew 10:5 that Messiah instructed His disciples (all Jews) to avoid the gentiles but go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Again, the first “Christians” (meaning followers of Messiah) were Jews. What we think of as churches in the Bible were actually synagogues. We gotta stop trying to whitewash our spiritual ancestry.
If anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Matthew 10:14
The Bible says when they reject you, move on. It doesn’t say to go find a hammer and beat them over the head repeatedly with your arguments and reasoning until they finally concede that you are right. When we do those things, more often than not, we are seeking for ourselves to be right, not the Father. The fact that we have so many Believers taking part in this behavior is a testament to spending more time learning behavior from social media than from the Father’s word.
Back to the point about arguing:
Y’all, the Father is already right.
He is always right.
He is always truth.
We don’t have to prove it to someone else for it to be so.
Keep your pearls, folks. The pigs don’t need ‘em (Matthew 7:6). And Keep your shalom. Useless quarrels are keeping us from doing the Father’s will.
Matthew 10:34-39 is a wonderful warning to all of us and a call to gird ourselves. Y’all, when you start following Messiah and living according to YHWH’s will, keeping the commandments, and submitting to YHWH’s authority over the pseudo-authority of men, people will turn against you. People will leave you. Friendships will end. Family relationships, even, will fracture. You can be as wise as a serpent and as innocent as a dove (Matthew 10:16) and it will make no difference.
In the face of truth, fiction is offended.
In the face of change, comfort is offended.
In the face of obedience, self is offended.
Prepare yourself. As many have already seen, walking this road brings pain inflicted from what we view as the most unlikely places. If you haven’t seen it already and continue to follow after Him, you will see it soon. And that isn’t a promise from me, but from Messiah.
But beloved, precious siblings, please know and hold fast to this truth: Whatever sacrifice you make in order to take the Father’s hand, He will redeem.
For this reason, I fall on my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth receives its character. I pray that from the treasures of his glory he will empower you with inner strength by his Spirit, so that the Messiah may live in your hearts through your trusting. Also I pray that you will be rooted and founded in love, so that you, with all God’s people, will be given strength to grasp the breadth, length, height and depth of the Messiah’s love, yes, to know it, even though it is beyond all knowing, so that you will be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by his power working in us is able to do far beyond anything we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the assembly and in the Messiah Yeshua from generation to generation forever. Amen. Eph 3:14-21
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
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