Things are heating up and Yeshua/Jesus tries to teach the disciples an important lesson—but they miss it entirely because they have their mind on temporal concerns. What exactly is the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of the Herodians and what does it mean in our own lives?
In a miraculous and frustrating turn of events, the Pharisees from the district of Dalmanutha demand a sign from Heaven shortly after Yeshua/Jesus feeds a mixed multitude, leaving four thousand satisfied. But can the Pharisees be satisfied?
There is so much more to this short little blurb than meets the eye. We’ll be talking about Psalm 135, my book Image-bearing, Idolatry and the New Creation, and two of my all-time favorite books—G K Beale’s We Become What We Worship and Richard Lints’ Identity and Idolatry. This event is enormously symbolic for the future ministry of the disciples but it is easy to miss it.
I don’t think anyone really enjoys reading this account. No matter who you want Yeshua/Jesus to be and what you want Him to conform to—you can’t read this without wincing and realizing that He is what He is and we can’t always predict Him. We’re going to explore history and the pseudepigraphic book of Jubilees in order to explore what I think was really going on here. If only our Savior would stay in a more comfortable box…
It is so unfortunate that so many people on both sides have boiled this brilliant teaching down to a debate about foods being clean, and what counts as food, or even as being about food at all. It isn’t about food! This teaching begins a new phase in the ministry of the Messiah, as He is about to venture out into Gentile lands and must confront the over the top purity standards that would make it impossible for the Gospel to go forth out of Zion to the ends of the world.
Although popular in some circles, the Book of Jubilees is both a mathematical nightmare and what would amount to a comedy of errors if it was funny. That being said, it opens a vitally important window into the ways that Jews in the early years of Hasmonean rule were looking at the Gentiles and allows us a glimpse of what mindsets led to the later development of the differing sects within Judaism. Without this understanding, it is easy to make Mark 7:1-13 to be entirely about food instead of what it was really about--the ability of the Jewish believers in Yeshua/Jesus to take the Gospel into the Gentile world in fulfillment of the words of the Psalmists and the Prophets.
Last year for Hannukah, we talked about the oppressive “traditions of men” vs ordinary traditions that Yeshua/Jesus spoke of in light of the Feast of Dedication mentioned in John 10. This year I am delving deep into the scholarly materials to explore the Zadokite controversy—which purports that the Hasmoneans were illegitimate priests and which has been used to discredit Hannukah. I will also go into the works of Josephus and Megillat Ta'anit to try and figure out where the legend of the “miracle of the oil” came from.
People often claim that Yeshua/Jesus never claimed to be Messiah, or Divine. People are wrong. What can’t be had from a casual reading of some of Scripture is evident from an in-depth knowledge of the whole of Scripture and the claims that Yahweh makes about Himself through His prophets. Last week and this week especially, we cover blatant claims and proof that Yeshua is the one unique Son of God with authority that is not explicable in any other way.
How appropriate is it that this is airing during the week of Thanksgiving in America?
This week's Scripture passage on the feeding of the five thousand is just HUGE for Exodus references and is very heavy on the eschatological wording that we see throughout the Prophets. This is the only miracle account shared in all four Gospel accounts and so we know it must be central to the identity of Yeshua/Jesus being revealed by each of the four authors. So much is happening this week--we will be discussing the importance of the wilderness, of green grass, of shepherds and sheep, of hundreds and fifties. We will go back and talk about Exodus and Numbers and the prophets Isaiah, Zechariah, Ezekiel, Elijah, and Elisha. This account is set in stark contrast with last week's Scripture passage and thus compares the banquet of Herod with the banquet of the Messiah.