Archives For Isaiah 2

One of the greatest flaws of the written word is that we miss the emotion. Even in the Bible. It is a shame that Peter didn’t have a GoPro or selfie stick to record the great moments of the New Testament. Even in most movies that seek to illustrate the New Testament, there is a lack joy in the one who is playing the role of Yeshua.

When I read the Bible, particularly the words of Yeshua, I am seeking His temperament—his emotions. It is not just what He says, but how He says it. While reading John 14 last week, the joy of Yeshua jumped out at me. There was one thing that was most important to him and I think it is going to blow you away!

Hours before His death

Let’s set the stage. In a few hours, Yeshua is going to be arrested and crucified. His disciples, as evidenced in Luke 22, have no clue what is about to happen. Though He has explained it to them many times, they are still convinced He is about to birth a kingdom and that they will be princes. The idea of their possible status as royals is consuming them:

A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. (Luke 22:24)

Mind you, this was moments after Yeshua instituted the Lord’s supper with the matzah and the wine. This was one of the most amazing moments in world history, and they missed it. They were clueless as to what was about to happen. And this was troubling for Yeshua. Three times, in John 14, He expresses this concern:

  • “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” v. 1
  • “I will not leave you as orphans.” v. 18
  • “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” v. 27

The Deep Concern of Yeshua

Can you see His love and compassion for His “friends” (John 15:15)? In a few hours, He is going to disappear. He will be killed in the most gruesome fashion. The same Peter who boldly proclaimed just hours before, “I will lay down my life for you” (John 13:37), will deny any connection to Him. The others will scatter, dazed and confused. They will feel abandoned and lost.

But Yeshua seeks to explain to them that it is good that He goes. For if He goes to His father, something amazing is going to happen. In addition, He is hoping that they will remember these words after He is gone:

“If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.” (John 14:28-29)

Yeshua’s Most Prized Privilege

However, the crescendo comes in verses 19 and 20. The most valuable thing to Yeshua is His relationship with the Father:

“No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” (John 1:18)

“…believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:38)

(Just click here to see how much this is emphasized in the book of John.)

What Yeshua values more than anything else, He wants to share with his friends—and this is His relationship with His Father. Hear the joy and emotion in Yeshua’s voice when he says,

“Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” (John 14:19-20)

This is Yeshua’s joy. This is His ultimate goal: That we would be one with Him, the Spirit and the Father. This is why He must go. He will lay down His life, but then He will send the Spirit.

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:16)

And through the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son will dwell in us. That is the great mystery of the New Covenant. It is what Jeremiah referred to when he said, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts” (Jer. 31:33) and what Ezekiel spoke of when he said:

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ez. 36:25-27)

Paul proclaims, to the Colossians, this great mystery revealed:

“…the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Messiah in you, the hope of glory.”

The mystery of which He speaks is that through Yeshua, we can commune with God. If you are a believer, then you have been afforded the greatest of all privileges, once only obtained by the Son Himself; but through the Spirit, God lives powerfully inside of you. And that is why Yeshua was so excited in John 14.

Hebrews says, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross.” (Heb. 12:2) What was that joy? Communion and intimacy with His bride, with us—restored relationship. Everything else, He already had. There was only one thing lacking: restoration with us, His creation. To see that one thing completed, He went to the cross.

Yes, Yeshua really, really loves you!

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I firmly believe that God is restoring the apostolic and prophetic giftings to the body of believers. But He does so for His own glory and purposes, not so we can get new business cards! As far as I can tell, Paul never presented himself as the “Apostle Paul,” but as “Paul, an apostle.” Some fake, or even real, apostles can become obsessed with titles. How often people have introduced themselves to me as “Apostle Such and Such,” and I don’t even know them.

This was one of Yeshua’s deepest concerns for His would-be apostles during His three years of leadership training. How would He break them of the need for position and power?

Ambitious Mothers can Cause Trouble

Shlomit, the mother of James and John, felt the need to fight for her sons’ positions in Yeshua’s kingdom.

“Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” (Matt. 20:21)

Yeshua’s answer brings a dose of reality to them:

 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,’ they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” (v. 22-23)

In other words, “You have no clue what you are requesting…you are looking for a crown, and I am calling you to embrace the cross!?”

When the other guys heard about this, they were incensed. How dare those sons of Zebedee! But they were just the same. They were not so concerned about James’ and John’s lack of humility, but rather that they tried to jump to the front of the line behind their backs.

Yeshua decided it was time for a teaching moment. He sat them down and said:

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (v. 25-28)

You see a true apostle, one whose character has been tested, would not need to let you know that he is an apostle. He wouldn’t care and the fruit of his ministry would speak for itself.

Foot Washing Brings Humilty

And this took place just days before the crucifixion! In John 13, Yeshua is about to eat the Passover meal with His boys, when He feels the need to address this issue again:

Yeshua knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:3-15)

He knew He was leaving and He had little time to teach them this lesson.

“Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (v. 12-17)

The Second Foot Washing

As I read this the other day, I noticed something I had not seen in the past. The meal had already started. It was customary for a servant to wash your feet immediately when you entered the home. The sandal-wearing community would have dirty feet, and that would not be pleasant as they reclined for the meal. You would not clean feet in the middle of the meal—which means Yeshua was washing their feet a second time!

So, why do it again? Because, apparently, the same issue of pride and position came up. During the meal, according to Luke (in fact just after Yeshua institutes the New Covenant!), “A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.” (Luke 22:24) Now this is only days after the episode with James and John, and just hours before the crucifixion. After rebuking them for their pride (Luke 22:25-27), He gets up from the table and sets an example for them.

The issue was urgent. He was about to die in just a few hours and these guys still didn’t understand that their positions in the kingdom would not be as sovereigns, but as servants. Yes, they would have real authority—but their authority would be to serve, support and strengthen the young body of believers, not to act like princes.

A Humbling Story

This is really embarrassing for me to write—but when I first became a paid youth pastor at the age of 28 years, I explained to our youth that it was their responsibility to serve me. Hopefully, I didn’t say it quite like that. I had a wife with three kids, a lawn that needed to be cut, babysitters would be needed, etc. I would give myself spiritually, but they needed to serve me.

Two parents gently confronted me and gave me a lesson on ministry, much like Yeshua did the disciples in Matthew 20 and Luke 22.

They Still Didn’t Get It

After Yeshua’s powerful example, and some more final words, Peter blurts out:

“Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” (John 13:37-38)

They still didn’t get it. Peter would have to suffer through his denial of Yeshua, before he and the others will finally have the character needed to serve as leaders. It is not about titles or being served—ministry is about sacrifice and laying down our lives for others. We need apostles today—leaders of leaders, overseers of ministers, those who birth ministries–but we don’t need people who want to be an apostle just for the title. Sadly, there are a bunch!

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God is Faithful

Ron Cantor —  June 13, 2018 — Leave a comment

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