Reflections on Matthew 8:1-4

 
One part of this story is that a leper came to Yeshua while He was surrounded by a large group of people. Verse one says that a large crowd followed Yeshua. The Sermon on the Mount was offered. The crowds must have agreed with Yeshua’s interpretation of the Law of Moses and they wanted to learn more. Amid the crowd a leper approaches Yeshua. Lepers were banished from the community and had to live with other lepers trying to survive. They did not encounter people who were not lepers. This leper took a big risk coming to Yeshua. He could have been killed by the crowd because of their superstition about the skin diseases of the day. The man could have had a simple infection that needed an antibiotic topical medication to cure. That would not have mattered to the crowd. Therefore, the leper showed his courage to approach Yeshua. In Yeshua’s day and for many years after His life a person wanting to follow Yeshua and become a part of the community of believers had to take a huge risk. To become a member of the faith community had and has today so many benefits. In the first three centuries of Christianity is took tremendous courage to become a member What about today? In the United States there is no courage requirement to become a member of the Christian community. Perhaps that is why so many people say they are Christians but do not value it the way the early believers did. There is no sacrifice or danger to life and limb to join the community today in North America. Christianity is growing in places of the world were there is a danger, where one needs courage to become a Christian. The faith of the people in this danger appear stronger. Perhaps it is because of the sacrifice and danger of joining a Christian community in places where it is illegal, or one could be killed. This component is missing in North American. Perhaps this is a reason the church is dying…
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Thoughts Matthew 8:1-4

 

Yeshua demonstrates in this healing passage that He still obeyed the law. The Law of Moses says that a leper had to present him/herself to a priest and be declared cured before reentering the community. If Yeshua thought of Himself as the Messiah or God, then He would have the power and authority to bypass the law. But he did not. He may have wanted to change the Law, but He never disobeyed it. A lot of church law today is obsolete and overbearing. Instead of working within the church law to make changes there are so many people who violate church law. Each church denomination must determine whether it is going to uphold its cannon laws while protestors break the law or are they going to cave. Change is inevitable and should be done within the boundaries of cannon law. When the church law is not changed those, who do not like the result, because they wanted change, have to decide to accept the outcome or to leave the denomination. The 21st century fight over the sexuality issue is the prime example. A church denomination that has laws in place and allows violators of the law not to be expelled from the denomination might as well eliminate the law. It is disheartening to read about the denomination punishing some members for violating a cannon law while it lets other people violate the same cannon law without punishment. A commitment to a denomination’s cannon law is a commitment to follow it. If the cannon law is not acceptable then work within the system to change it.

Thoughts on Matthew 7:24-29

 
The conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount has Yeshua telling us that those who hear His words and live by them will be living a life that will be fruitful. The best way to serve the LORD is to follow all Yeshua’s words and commandments. The reader must be careful and must analyze the words that we have because of the translation of Yeshua’s Words which were in Aramaic and Hebrew to Greek then to English. Along the way of translation some of the words probably changed and that could change the possible meaning of the message in the new language. In addition, it is well documented that people like Jerome changed parts of the Scriptures when he translated the Bible from Greek to Latin. When we consider this the question of how much of the Sermon on the Mount is Yeshua’s words? It is difficult to know. However, by studying the verses using Ancient Bible Study methods the student of the Bible will get a lot closer to what is the truth. Asking questions about the Scripture is imperative to fully understand it. The interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount has been sent to us by non-Semitic people. Western/Greek people did not know how to properly read and understand Semitic story telling. The western/Greek person did not take the culture of Yeshua’s day into account when reading these words. A literal reading of the Sermon on the Mount will not give the reader the proper meaning. Therefore, learn to read the Scriptures and understand them in the same way the people in Yeshua’s day did.

Reflections on Matthew 7:24-29

 

So, you want to live by the words of Yeshua?  How do you this? The first place to start is with Yeshua’s words in the Gospels. For the beginner it may be worthwhile to have said person read the Scripture literally. That is the first step of PaRDeS[1]. The second step is to read it again learning about the allegories and metaphors that are contained in the Scripture. The meaning of the passage will change as the literary structures and language barriers are discovered and become understandable. This is a way to learn about the deeper meaning of the Scripture. There are two more steps to continue the path. The next is the midrash path. Midrash writings are rare for the New Testament writings.  Yeshua’s words and commandments are not difficult to follow once you understand what Yeshua wanted us to know. The Scripture was written in a “code” because it was believed to have immense power. The writers did not want Gentle hands to learn the power of the Scriptures, so they wove “encryption” into it. The LORD wants us to discover the code that opens the meaning of the Scripture for us. Therefore, continue searching for meaning. Ask questions about the Scripture and

[1] PaRDES is an acronym for the way Scripture is analyzed by rabbis.

Reflections on Matthew 7:13-23

 

A concern of the modern-day church is expressed in this passage. The thought that there are false prophets in our churches today is a scary thought. The author was naïve about the attitude and behavior of church people. Should people in the church live by the teachings of Yeshua? The Golden Rule, verse 7:12, is an example. The most unforgiving people can be found in our churches as active members. There are numerous members of churches who are there for their self-gratification rather than Yeshua’s glorification. This can be seen when the “volunteer” must be praised in the weekly worship every week for his/her hard work during the week. Pastors have been forced to leave their pastorates because of people like this. They are ego centered personalities to the point that they must be followed and recognized no matter what path they decide to follow. These are the false prophets Yeshua was talking about. The intentions of a member of the church must be examined before the member is given any kind of power or responsibilities. As churches shrink in population it becomes more difficult to find people who are in the church for Yeshua’s glory. The author did a survey of church members in 2004 and discovered, to his dismay, that 70% of the people in the pews had an ego centric personality. The idea that Jesus died for me is a motto of the current church. That translates into what can I get out of the church for my ego. Modernism pushed the idea of individualism and the church soaked it up. So, there are plenty of false prophets in the church who are only interested in their own glory.

 

 

Thoughts on Matthew 7:13-23

 

The path to true discipleship to Yeshua is not an easy path. In Yeshua’s day it meant a very difficult life and possibly no rewards in this life, but rewards in the world to come (Heaven). The disciples of Matthew’s day had to be reminded that their lives might not improve here but it was still vital for them to remain true to the teachings of Yeshua for their spiritual souls’ future. There was also a rash of false prophets that tried to sway Yeshua’s followers. Some of the false prophets were from other forms of Christianity that rose during the first two hundred years after the Ascension. The Matthew community needed to protect itself from its members being pouched by these other movements. Did Yeshua know this was going to happen? It also begs the question as to whether the proto-orthodox church is the true faith of Yeshua or not. What if the Gnostics were correct? The discussion then becomes why did the LORD let the proto-orthodox movement survive and not the Gnostics. The problem with the proto-orthodox movement was that it demanded to maintain control over Yeshua’s disciples who decided to follow the Yeshua movement. This can be seen in Acts when new members were required to sell their possessions and place all monies at the feet of the Apostles. This passage has been used by the church to maintain control over its members. Thus, they put their control into Yeshua’s words. A group that survived through the centuries is Saint Thomas Christianity. This form of Yeshua worship looks more messianic than catholic or orthodox. Perhaps it is the true form Christianity was supposed to take.

Pastoral View of Luke 19:28-40

Christians are shaped by their rituals. Rituals help us to express the love and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ to each other and to outsiders of the faith. For Luke the birth of Jesus was a ritual which spoke of Peace on Earth. As Jesus rode into Jerusalem the people looked into the sky and sang about Peace in Heaven.

They sang the victory psalm of 118 in hopes that this Messiah would truly be God’s Messiah and would make a huge difference in their lives. Jesus would make a difference in their lives but in a more profound way than the people ever could have imagined.

Perhaps Jesus was looking for those who had faith and truly trusted in Him to lead them to God’s love and glory. Are you ready to trust Jesus and follow Him wherever He leads?