Thursday, January 22, 2015

Module 18 - THE MESSIAH - Jesus the Man; Jesus' Public Ministry




Objectives; By the end of this Module you should;
  • Know about the call of Jesus as Messiah
  • Understand the importance of the Jewish roots of Jesus
  • Know what Jesus' life work was
  • Have knowledge about how Jesus fulfilled the ancient prophecies
  • Be able to give a sermon on Jesus as Messiah
  • Know what Talmidim are
  • Understand Jesus' chosen role as Rabbi

1.  The Messiah
2.  The Jewishness of Jesus
3.  Jesus' Life Work
4.  Jesus - the Fulfilment of the Prophecies
5.  Talmidim
6.  Jesus the Rabbi
7.  Jesus chose witnesses

During His years of infancy until adulthood, Jesus had much time to ponder His Call as Messiah. 
  Jesus knew the Passover story, how God had delivered the Israelites from slavery. 
  He had attended the Temple as a twelve year old, with high hopes of assistance from the Temple Sanhedrin with His Call as Messiah. 
   Jesus attended the Temple as pilgrim, and was thoughtful at the culture of slaughter and discussions of points of the law He witnessed there. The Sanhedrin, the supreme court of the Jewish people, numbered seventy members, under the guidance of the High Priest. During the Passover time, the Sanhedrin met in public, and all could listen to their discussion.
   Jesus listened to the Teachers in the Courts, and asked questions of these men of learning and distinction. Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers (Luke 2;41-52).
   Already it was in the mind of Jesus to become a rabbi. He became immersed in local religious life, regularly attending the synagogue and performing the office of Appointed Reader (Luke 4; 16 to 18). 

  The New Testament affirms that Jesus was brought up as a Jew in the traditions and faith of His ancestors.
He was given a common Jewish name which reflected His Mission, Yeshua (Matt 1;21). This name was the third most commonly used boy's name in the late Second Temple period of Judaism, and connected with prophetic utterance. Isaiah 62;11 reads literally, 'Your Yeshua is coming . . .' 

   Joseph and Mary, parents of Jesus, came to the Temple with the newborn Yeshua for his b'rit milah (circumcision), and for the redemption of the firstborn son (pidyon haben). This was according to the religious custom of the time. Mary had also come for the ritual purification (Luke 22; 21-24).
   The little family came annually to Jerusalem in order to observe the traditional Festivals (Luke 2;41). 
  This faithful pilgrimage attests to the family's particularly devout observance; not all families at that time either could, or did, make annual pilgrimage. 
  When the young Yeshua was twelve years of age, He interacted with the rabbinic teachers as a pre-bar mitzvah student (Lk 2;42).

   Jesus respected the Temple and the Temple worship, expecting His followers to offer the sacrifices (Matt 5;23,24). He ensured that the Temple tax was paid (Matt 17; 24-27).  
  Jesus' attendance at the synagogue was regular (Luke 4;16).
  He was taught at the Synagogue as a child, and later carried out the teaching Himself. 
  Jesus devoutly observed the Jewish Festivals and Holidays, and made use of them to illustrate and highlight His Mission (Jn. 2:13; 5:1; 7:2, 10, 37-39; 8:12; 10:22-23; 13:1-2). 

  Jesus wore the Jewish garb of the time; with tzitzit (Tsiytsiyt) 1 or fringes. 
  The woman who was haemmorhaging grabbed on to the hem of his clothes, the fringes (Greek kraspedon, Hebrew tzitzit) (Mk. 6:56; Mat. 9:20; Lk 8:44). These fringes were - and are - worn by observant Jews.
   Jesus knew the Eighteen Benedictions 2  
  The Lord's Prayer has much in common with various parts of the Benedictions, which were an integral part of Jewish spirituality. When Jesus began His prayer with 'Our Father Who Art in Heaven', He was following the pattern of Pharisee prayers which still form part of the Jewish Daily Prayer Book. 
  When He spoke in parables and used phrases such as 'the beam in your eye' or 'swallow a camel', Jesus was using methods of expression familiar to any student of the Talmudic writings.

   Jesus followed the Jewish custom of rabbis of not only preaching in the synagogue, but also in the open air. The Sacrament of Baptism has recognizable roots in Jewish tradition. The Amora'im who produced the Talmud set out three requirements for a conversion to Judaism. One of the requirements is immersion (tevilah) in a ritual bath (mikveh) for both men and women 3
   Jesus affirmed the permanence of the Torah (Matt 5;17 - 19) and accepted Pharisaic extensions (Matt 23;2-3). He came from the tradition of tithing of herbs (Matt 23;23). 
  When Jesus drank wine and broke bread at the Last Supper, He was doing what a Jew does every time he performs the Kiddush ceremony before a Festival or Sabbath meal.
  Kiddush is the sanctification of the Sabbath and holidays; with special blessings over the wine. On Friday night, when the Sabbath begins, the Kiddush ceremony is carried out before sitting down to the Sabbath meal. A cup of wine is filled and held in the hand of the person presiding, usually but not necessarily, the father of the house, and the benediction over  wine recited. 
  Then the Kiddush proper is recited; 
  'Blessed art Thou, O LORD our GOD, King of the Universe, Who hath hallowed us by Thy Commandments and hast taken pleasure in us, and in love and favour hast given us Thy holy Sabbath as an inheritance, a memorial of the creation - that day being also the first day of the holy convocations, in remembrance of the departure from Egypt. For Thou hast chosen us and hallowed us above all nations, and in love and favour hast given us Thy holy Sabbath as an inheritance. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, Who hallowest the Sabbath.'
  As a prelude to the Kiddush, the verses of the Creation Narrative which speak of the Sabbath (Genesis 2;1-3) are recited. After the drinking of the wine, the Benedication over Bread is recited and the family partakes of the Sabbath meal.

   Use of the cry 'Hosanna' at Jesus' entry into Jerusalem by the crowd had its roots in the rites of Tabernacles.The words 'hosha-na' (Hebrew) meaning 'save, please' was a cry used in the liturgy. The Feast of Tabernacles was a Royal Festival. Jesus' cleansing of the Temple had great significance at the time; Jesus, as rightful King, was carrying out reform of the Temple. 

   In His reflections, Jesus mused that the reality of the religion as lived out at the time appeared to instil fear of sin rather than encouragement to holiness. The Voice of God His Father at His Baptism inspired Him to do the unthinkable; not only to change a nation, but to redesign an ancient religion.

In a nutshell, Jesus' life word was to bring humanity to God and to bring God to humanity, in a way the set social and religious more of the time were not designed to encompass. So Jesus set about instituting a new design, a new theology, a new form of church.

   Jesus got to work; first, it was clear that He was the promised Messiah.  God sealed Jesus with public approval at Jesus' Baptism; this personal revelation by God was one sign.
  Other signs were drawn from the Torah, which Jesus read and studied.
  Prophet Isaiah had foretold a Virgin would conceive and give birth to a son who would be called 'Immanuel' - which means 'God with us'. (Is 7;14)
  Jesus knew the story of His miraculous Birth from His Mother and Guardian Father Joseph.
  His very name 'Yeshua' - in Greek, the name 'Jesus' - means 'The Lord saves.'
  The name the Prophet thus foretold was 'Saviour'.
  This was the Name the Angel Gabriel had apprised Mary the Son of God was to be named at the behest of God (Luke 1;31).
An Angel affirmed the same information to Joseph (Matthew 1;19-21).   

  Prophet Micah was granted vision and prophecy by God that the coming of Jesus as Saviour was being planned. Micah foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem in the land of Judah.
  He would be a ruler (king), and the Shepherd of God's people Israel (their Supreme High Priest).
 (Micah 5;2) 
  Jesus knew the unusual circumstances which had led to His Birth in Bethlehem when the census 
(or enrollment) brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem in answer to a decree from Caesar Augustus.
  The Prophet Micah alludes to Jesus' Divinity, 'But you, O Bethlehem Ephratha, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, whose origins are from old, from ancient times."

  During His Infancy, Jesus had been survivor of an attempt on His Life by King Herod. Many young to the age of two had been massacred in the attempt to stamp out the Infant God-King's Life and perceived threat to the Kingly Throne. Prophet Jeremiah had been warned of this event by God, and had documented the warning (Jer 31;15).

  Jesus had lived in Egypt as a refugee child, until the death of Herod. This, too, had been prophesied by the great Prophet Hosea 11;1. "Out of Egypt I called my son."

  Now Jesus, firm and steadfast, planned His strategy; He needed messengers to spread His Good News to the ends of the world. Who would He choose for this great task? Jesus began His search.
  He needed people who loved God with all their hearts, all their souls and with their full might (Deut 6;5).
  Jesus needed to present His message of Malchut Shemayim "The Kingdom of Heaven", which His followers would understand and forthwith join the new movement, the culmination of the prophecies.
  Jesus required people of great faith and courage who would leave Galilee and bring the Good News to the whole world. 
  Jesus thus needed people of exceptional faith and devotion to God's cause.

  In Jesus' time, outstanding Beth Midrash students sought permission to study with a famous rabbi; often leaving home to travel with the rabbi.
  The word Talmidim ('students' in Hebrew) translates as disciples.
  The talmid not only wants to study what the teacher knows, the talmid wants to be like the teacher - that is, to become what the teacher is. And this is the blueprint Jesus chose - to call talmidim and steep them in His Life and Teachings until they became what He is.

  Jesus became known as a first century rabbi, sought out by talmidim (Mark 10;17). Mary referred to Jesus as Rabboni, which means 'Teacher'. (John 20;16)
  Jesus' disciples (Luke 7;40), ordinary people (Luke 12;13), the rich (Matt 19;16), 
lawyers (Matt 22;35-36), Pharisees (Luke 19;39) and Sadducees (Luke 20;27-28) also referred to Jesus as Rabbi. 

  Jesus travelled from place to place with His disciples, depending on others' hospitality (Luke 8;1-3). He often met in private homes (Luke 10;38-42). As Rabbis did, Jesus visited local synagogues, where Scripture was discussed in these community centers (Matt 4;23).
  Jesus, the divine Messiah, chose the rabbi-talmid system. Jesus taught as Rabbi in real life situations, drawing parallels all could understand.
  Jesus interpreted God's Work and completed it. Jesus was obedient to God's Word in the Torah, even unto death (Isaiah 53/ Leviticus 16;10/ Psalm 69;26/ Zechariah 13;7).
  The obedience of Jesus was affirmed in the later writings of Matthew 8;17, and that of the missionary Paul in Romans 4;25, Peter in 1 Peter 2;24/ Galatians 3;13/ Hebrews 9;28/ 1 Peter 3;18/ 1 John 2;2).

  Jesus set out now to choose disciples. Once chosen, He set out to empower them to become like Him.
  They lived alongside Him, ate and drank with Him, and were led by Him until they began to imitate Him.
  Jesus planned to send the Holy Spirit upon them, giving them the power of God coursing through them to undertake this most courageous and demanding of tasks - to spread the Gospel.
  Once strengthened, purified and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, Jesus meant to send them out to make further disciples - to lead people to model their lives on that of Jesus.
  So now began the campaign to choose witnesses. and so Jesus went to Galilee; and there He called the first disciples to follow Him.
  Do you feel that Jesus is calling you to follow Him as disciple?
  If so, see 
  Good Shepherd Church Online Theological School 
  Good Shepherd Church (GSC) Training Modules 

Numbers 15;38-40 

Image by Catherine Nicolette

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