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Yeshua in Context » Applying the Gospels, Discipleship - Formation, General, Identity of Yeshua, Judaism Today & Yeshua, Teaching of Yeshua » The Son Who Has Spoken

The Son Who Has Spoken

Last week in “Why Yeshua? A Jewish Question #1″ and in the Podcast “Mosaic Revealer,” I began to explain nine benefits of knowing Yeshua for those who already know God through Judaism. I’m still mining the very first benefit of the nine, which goes like this:

Yeshua is the Moses-like Prophet-to-Come, the New Moses, whose agency as the Voice of the Father reveals depths of God unknown or ambiguous in previous revelation.

As you can see from the wording, I am using language from the gospels themselves to describe the benefits of knowing Yeshua. But this is not just theory or theology. Each one of these nine benefits concerns practical matters, things that weigh upon us and are of consequence to everyone on a daily basis. They concern the normal and universal questions and existential longings that require satisfaction.

This week, I will discuss, “What practical difference does it make that Yeshua reveals previously unknown depths of God’s nature and being?”

Universal Questions Addressed in Yeshua’s Teaching

(1) Does God see my pain? (2) Does God see my selfless deeds? (3) Is this present reign of death and meaninglessness the way God will leave things? (4) Do my interpersonal relationships matter to God? (5) Does God ever reward things done for him and for others out of pure love? (6) Does God care about the things I am lacking and desperately need? (7) Is God a stern judge or a hopeful parent? (8) Does God want me to know him? (9) Does God prefer the smart, the strong, the rich, the powerful, and/or the beautiful people? (10) Does God feel emotion or is that beneath him?

The Difference Between Yeshua’s Answers and Other Teachers’ Answers

Yeshua addresses the kind of questions I listed above and does s specifically in his teaching. Other teachers in Judaism and Christianity as well as a myriad of religious perspectives have addressed these and similar questions.

Why should Yeshua’s answers matter?

That is a question about Yeshua’s identity. It is a good question. It deserves more than a short answer. I have written a bit about reasons a Jewish person (or anyone else) might believe that Yeshua is more than a man, that his perspective is worthy of leaving behind other teachers and following him toward the world to come.

I am not primarily addressing the “why believe” question here, but one part of the “what does Yeshua add” to life and faith question. However the simple answer to the “why believe” question is what my book Yeshua in Context is all about. And here is the simple answer: if you encounter the story of Yeshua, which is in the four gospels, you will be able to confront reasons to doubt or believe based on things like internal and external consistency.

In Yeshua in Context, I explain for modern readers what Yeshua was all about, give guidance in understanding and encountering the stories, and suggest ways they give us evidence to believe that Yeshua is the Mystery revealed in human form.

Yeshua on the Existential God-Questions

(1) Does God see my pain?
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

(2) Does God see my selfless deeds?
Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. . . . your Father who sees in secret will reward you. . . . love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great.

(3) Is this present reign of death and meaninglessness the way God will leave things?
Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. . . . Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. . . . men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God. . . . from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. . . . The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field . . . And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last. . . . You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. . . . in my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. . . . Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.

(4) Do my interpersonal relationships matter to God?
Every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment . . . So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. . . . If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies. . . . So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

(5) Does God ever reward things done for him and for others out of pure love?
Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. . . . your Father who sees in secret will reward you. . . . He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. . . . I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. . . . Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

(6) Does God care about the things I am lacking and desperately need?
And why are you anxious about clothing? . . . But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

(7) Is God a stern judge or a hopeful parent?
Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. . . . Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. . . . there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. . . . But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’

(8) Does God want me to know him?
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. . . . I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us. . . . All that the Father gives me will come to me . . . No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. . . . It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.

(9) Does God prefer the smart, the strong, the rich, the powerful, and/or the beautiful people?
Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame. . . . Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me. . . . unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. . . . I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that jyou have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children. . . . If any one would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all. . . . Blessed are the meek.

(10) Does God feel emotion or is that beneath him?
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. . . . he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. . . . Father, I thank you that it pleased you to do this. . . . the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry.’

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Filed under: Applying the Gospels, Discipleship - Formation, General, Identity of Yeshua, Judaism Today & Yeshua, Teaching of Yeshua

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