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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 8: Matthew 11-12, by Kevin M. Williams

Yeshua may also be referencing, in an offhanded way, back to John. What did Elijah through John proclaim? “Make straight the ways of the Lord.” When a rabbi quotes a segment of Scripture, it is understood that He intends the entire context. What was Yeshua referencing in Jeremiah 6:16? “Ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you shall find rest for your souls.” The two messages are the same, whether from the prophet or from the Messiah—the source of this good news is from the Lord!

The author of Hebrews may have picked up on this concept. “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience (Hebrews 4:11). The source of this “rest” is none other than Yeshua.

___ Once again we find the Pharisees tailing Yeshua and His disciples. You might ask, “didn’t they have anything better to do?” In truth, if they had been listening to Yeshua’s clues, they may very well have perceived what He was saying. He was, not in so many words, saying that He was the Messiah. The Pharisees believed they were living in the days of the Messiah. Even today, in the Soncino Talmud, a footnote states that the Messiah should have come at that time. Expectations were very high in the first century.

So far, Yeshua has only proved that He was worth investigating further.

At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath through the grainfields, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Behold, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.” But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did, when he became hungry, he and his companions; how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath, and are innocent? But I say to you, that something greater than the temple is here” (Matthew 12:1-6).

It might be easy to read these words and think a feud is brewing. Yet Yeshua answers the Pharisees adroitly. Since we do not read that they were put off by His response, it would be unfair to infer that they were offended.

In previous studies, we have pointed out that asking pointed questions are how Jewish people debate theology. By constantly challenging the status quo they dig deeper into the Word and into their own convictions. If this rabbi was the Messiah—and they may well have been entertaining the thought that He was—this was a new thing going on and they desired to understand it.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Winter 2003

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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