Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, September 16, 2023
Shabbat Shalom,

On Revelation and Temptation
By David Harwood

We’re looking into the Temptation at Caesarea.

Matthew’s account begins with Peter passing a test and how Yeshua responded. From my perspective, the Messiah was thrilled and we can know what thrilled Him.

Think about this: Yeshua received revelation about His identity from Father at His immersion. Revelation is often followed by a trial of faith. In this case, the Lord had to trust the Source and content of this revelation. Since He was faithful to the Revealer, believing the identity of His Father, throughout His life He received more and more revelation. Such a process continues from faith to faith (Romans 1:17).

Our Messiah received revelation about Himself from His Father. That’s what happened to Peter. Through communication from Father Peter embraced the same revelation about Yeshua that Yeshua had of Himself. Peter’s perspective was not formed by connecting the dots. It was not the result of a doctrine taught by men or of merely natural logic. He had received high level revelation, just like Yeshua did.

Up until then Yeshua had carried the reality of His divinely revealed identity by Himself. But now, He was no longer alone. The impartation of divine wisdom and knowledge Peter received broke an aspect of the Messiah’s social isolation.

At last, there was someone who understood.

At last, there was someone with whom Yeshua might fellowship!

This was big, but what was next? Look at this pattern regarding illumination and temptation.

Directly after Father revealed the Messiah’s identity to His Son at the Jordan, Yeshua was tempted in the wilderness. And now, directly after Peter received and reported the same revelation of Yeshua’s identity, the Messiah was tempted in Caesarea Philippi.

This is what happened…

After blessing Peter the Lord gave His cadre strict orders to keep His identity to themselves. Then He began to build on what they understood. He started to divulge Father’s plan. Yeshua prophesied His rejection, suffering, demise, and resurrection.

Then He ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah. From that time on, Yeshua began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and ruling kohanim and Torah scholars, and be killed, and be raised on the third day. (Matthew 16:20–21) 

Between you and me, this command to keep shtum would be akin to a relational trial by fire. How could they keep this quiet? Could they? Did they have the capacity to refrain from relating this revelation as a proclamation? The natural inclination would be something like this: “Yeshua is the Messiah! All Israel should know.”

But their King called them to keep this confidential. What a test of their trustworthiness!

How deep was their discipleship? What was the level of their loyalty to Him? Others had been commanded to keep quiet, yet they couldn’t contain their enthusiasm and immediately spread the news about miracles they received. Would these men contain their excitement?

Another question… If they were to spread the news, would they spread all the news? It’s one thing to say, “Hey, everyone, get excited! The Messiah’s here!” It’s another to say, “He’s here and He’s going to be rejected and die…” (Not a message that would elicit enthusiasm.)

Immediately after commanding them to keep quiet, “from that time on” the Messiah began to make clear that He must go to Jerusalem, suffer at the hands of Israel’s enfranchised authorities, be handed over to the Gentiles, be killed, and then be raised from the dead. Reflect upon, “From that time on…”. This phrase indicates that this became an ongoing focus of His conversation.

Speaking of trials by fire, not only the prohibition against proclamation, but also what Yeshua said about His future had to be the type of information that these disciples’ hearts would reflexively reject. And so, the tables turned. Peter took Him aside and the Messiah was tested.

Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Never, Master! This must never happen to You!” 

But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, satan! You are a stumbling block to Me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:22–23) 

I’d like to examine this a little.

To begin, isn’t it amazing that the Messiah’s relationship with Peter was such that Peter could exercise some influence over Yeshua? He “took Him aside.” Yeshua cooperated with Peter who then started in on Him, rebuking Him.

What was Peter’s motive? What exactly did Peter say? Therein is found the nature of Messiah’s temptation. I am really looking forward to sharing some insight about this from the Scripture.

Meanwhile, consider the Messiah’s steadfastness in the face of trial. His faith-filled faithfulness to Father really is amazing.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 16 Sep 2023 1st of Tishrei, 5784
Parashat Vayelech  Shabbat Shuva Rosh Hashana I
Ge 21:28-34, Nu 28:11-15; 29:1-6 1 Sa 1:1-2:10 1 Th 4:13-18