Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, August 5, 2023

Shabbat Shalom,

Making the Messiah Marvel

by David Harwood

It was possible to astonish Yeshua. I know that sounds wrong to those who think that God the Son, in His incarnation, experienced knowing everything. However, it is certainly biblical. Here’s one example of when Yeshua was amazed. The scene? Yeshua was teaching in His hometown.

And He was astonished because of their unbelief. (Mark 6:6a TLV)

He was astounded at their unbelief.  We definitely don’t want to amaze Yeshua along these lines.

In Luke 7:9 we read of something altogether different. A centurion sent some Jewish elders to the Messiah to intercede and ask Him to save the life of his slave. As Yeshua began to accompany them the Roman sent word and conveyed his total reliance upon our King’s authority: “Just say the word and my servant shall be healed.” (Luke 7:7b TLV) Here’s the Lord’s response:

Now when Yeshua heard this, He was amazed at him. Turning to the crowd following Him, He said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” (Luke 7:9 TLV)

The Messiah marveled. The slave was healed.

It would be wonderful to have that commendation.

In Mark 6 and Luke 7 the same Greek word (thaumazō) is used to describe Yeshua’s emotions. He marveled, He wondered, He was astonished. However, there were very different reasons for His amazement. In one instance was unbelievable unbelief, in the other astounding faith.

The common denominator in both examples is faith. Those familiar with Him did not have the type of trust that elicited miracles from our God who desired to give them. On the other hand, those on the outskirts, who knew His reputation, had strong (tosoutos) faith.

Here’s something we can glean from both examples:

faith was important to Yeshua.

Apparently, Yeshua spoke to those who struggled with this area of weakness. In Matthew’s Gospel He spoke to people He described as having little faith.

To those anxious about life’s necessities He said, “You of little faith, do not worry.”  (Matthew 6:30b-31a TLV) He exhorted them to believe that God would care for their daily needs.

When the disciples feared losing their lives because of a violent storm, He said, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26b TLV)  I’m certain you remember this: Yeshua said to Peter, when he began to sink, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31 TLV)

The following happened directly after the disciples participated in a remarkable miracle of provision. Yeshua had multiplied seven loves and a few small fish. The result of the miracle was that they distributed enough food to feed “four thousand men, besides women and children.” (Matthew 16:38b)  That is the immediate background to this interaction.

“Watch out,” Yeshua said to them, “and beware of the hametz of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

And they began to discuss among themselves, saying, “We didn’t bring any bread.”

But knowing this, Yeshua said, “O you of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread? You still don’t get it? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets of leftovers you gathered? Or how about the seven loaves for the four thousand and all the baskets of leftovers you gathered? How is it that you don’t understand that I wasn’t talking to you about bread? Now beware of the hametz of the Pharisees and Sadducees!” (Matthew 16:6–11 TLV)

“O you of little faith… You still don’t get it? … How is that you don’t understand?” Those are words of an exasperated teacher.

Shortly after this Father gave the revelation that Yeshua is “the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:17) To receive and believe that took faith.

That was big.

This faith was rewarded with a revelation of Yeshua’s hidden nature on the Mount of Transfiguration.

That was extraordinary.

And then, instead of, “They’re getting it, we’re really getting somewhere!”, at the bottom of that mount we find this:

… a man came to Yeshua, falling on his knees before Him and saying, “Master, have mercy on my son, for he has seizures and suffers badly. For he often falls into the fire and often into the water. I brought him to Your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”

And answering, Yeshua said, “O faithless and twisted generation! How long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.”

Yeshua rebuked the demon and it came out of him, and the boy was healed from that very hour.

Then the disciples came to Yeshua in private and said, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” And He said to them, “Because you trust so little. Amen, I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:14b–20 TLV)

Look at these words, “You faithless and twisted generation! How long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?” I think Yeshua was grieved, exasperated, frustrated, aggravated.

To our Messiah it was inexplicable that the Father He knew would not inspire incredible trust. How big a trust? The type of trust that could move mountains. How much faith is required for that? Only a little sincere faith.

The Lord Yeshua demonstrated a combination of faiths. He had immediate specific faith through which He, through God, healed the diseased, delivered the demonized, and exercised dominion over nature. This faith brought foretastes of God’s kingdom to bear. Chronic afflictions were overthrown, and immediate emergencies came under Father’s dominion, within a cosmos that “lies in the power of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19b TLV)

He also had a “Holy Father knows it all and is working in and through everything” type of faith. That was restful reverent reliance. That’s the foundational form of faith forming the background for the Messiah’s instruction found in the Sermon on the Mount.

That deep trust needs to be recognized, celebrated, and strengthened. It also needs to be encouraged in others.

Let’s develop restful reverent reliance, cultivating our trust in our good Father.

And the victory that has overcome the world is this—our faith. (1 John 5:4b TLV)

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)

Sat 5 Aug 2023 18th of Av, 5783 Parashat Eikev

De 11:22-25 Isa 49:14-51:3 Jas 5:7-11