Shalom, and welcome to V’ahavtah Yisroel, a Hebrew phrase which means, “You shall love Israel.” We hope you’ll stay with us for the next 30 minutes as our teacher, Dr. Baruch, shares his expository teaching from the Bible. Dr. Baruch is the senior lecturer at the Zera Avraham Institute based in Israel. Although all courses are taught in Hebrew at the institute, Dr. Baruch is pleased to share this weekly address in English. To find out more about our work in Israel, please visit us on the web at LoveIsrael.org. That’s one word, LoveIsrael.org. Now, here’s Baruch with today’s lesson.
Dr. Baruch: Last week, we learned that marriage is very important to the living God, and we talked about how marriage should not be ended for just any reason. In fact, biblically speaking, we find there’s only one reason. If that should happen, I’m speaking, of course, concerning adultery, it doesn’t mean that marriage has to end. There’s always a way for a solution. There’s always healing. There’s always a miracle. Why? Well, what we’re going to learn today is this, that with God, all things are possible.
Take out your Bible and look with me to the book of Mark in chapter 10, the book of Mark in chapter 10. Now, one of the things that usually is produced from a marriage is children, and one of the things that parents need to ask themselves is this, “Do I truly love my children?” If the answer is, “Yes, and I want the best for my children. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to provide for them a godly home,” then you’re going to be willing to submit to the laws of the marriage covenant. Even if it’s difficult, even if it’s uncomfortable, even if you think that first and foremost, you deserve something better, my advice to you is not to think about what you deserve, but what you need to be doing, and leave the results to God.
Now, in the passage that we’re going to look at, so take out your Bible and look there, Matthew… or excuse me, the book of Mark in chapter 10. We see that immediately after talking about marriage and divorce, there is a teaching about children. Notice what he says. I’m reading now from Mark chapter 10, in verse 13. He speaks about those who were bringing to him, that is bringing to Messiah children in order that he might touch them, and that touching is for a blessing.
Now, people brought the children, but we’re going to see evidence in a few minutes that it was the children who wanted to get to Messiah. They wanted to come before Yeshua, and we’ll prove that in a moment. But we’re going to see that there were those who are hindering the children from coming to him. I believe the message here is this, that if we’re not living a godly life, if we’re not growing our marriage in a way that’s pleasing to God, that marriage which falls short of God’s expectations can be a hindrance from children coming to Messiah, and understanding his truth, and having him bless them in their lives.
So once again, look at verse 13, “And they were bringing to him children in order that he might touch them, but the disciples, they rebuke them.” Now, it’s interesting. There were children who wanted to get to Messiah, and the disciples of all people were rebuking them not to do so. But what’s really significant is the response of Messiah Yeshua. We see in verse 14, “But seeing,” and this is Yeshua, “But Yeshua seeing this,” something happens. It says literally, and I want to emphasize this word, it literally says he became angry, and it’s a very intense form of that word “anger.” Now, I realized that some Bible says that it displeased him, and that’s way, way too soft. It made him angry. Now, why is that word there? To emphasize for us how important children are to God.
In another scripture, in the book of Matthew, it talks about children in another context. It says that the children’s angels… Now, what’s important to see is that angels are in the portal. So they’re talking about one child, and they say a child’s angels always find the face of God. What does that expression mean, to find the face? It’s an idiom, a Hebrew idiom for blessing. So what it says is that the angels of a child, so each child, every individual has at least two angels.
It says the angels of a child always find the face of God. God is always there to work, to serve, to bless those angels in their tasks of being guarding angels over a child. So we see over and over the children are indeed important to God. Well, let’s move on. The scripture says in verse 14, “And Yeshua, seeing this, became angry and said to them,” here’s the key, “Let the children come unto me.” That tells us it’s emphatic that the children wanted to come unto him, but something was hindering them, and it was the disciples.
Now, you may think of yourself as a disciple. But if you’re not living right, you may be hindering children from coming, experiencing, and being blessed by the living God. So we need to ask ourselves over and over, “Is my speech, my behavior, my marriage, are these things enhancing a child’s understanding and appreciation for God and their faith in Messiah Yeshua, or are my words, my behaviors, my action, and the condition of my marriage, are those things a hindrance from children understanding spiritual truth, making the right decisions, drawing closer to the living God?” Well, notice what he says. He says, “Let the children come unto me,” and then he says something very important, “Do not,” and it’s a commandment. It’s also emphatic, “Do not forbid them for of such is the kingdom of God.”
Now, why would he say that? Why would he say in speaking concerning children, “For of such is the kingdom of God?” Well, what’s the difference between a child and an adult? The answer is how a child hears. When someone a child looks up to, someone that a child respects say something to them, that child believes them, and it can be something… I mean, it’s really easy. Sometimes people will say children are gullible, but it’s that ability to trust. Children are much more willing to trust and believe individuals, especially, as I said, if they have respect and they look up to these individuals. But people, not so. People, sometimes we have a very, very hard time trusting and believing others. We’re very skeptical, but children are not.
Here’s the issue. Many of the things that the Bible claims, adults, we struggle with it. We scratch our head and say, “Did that really happen? Maybe it’s an allegory. Maybe it’s poetic. Maybe it’s simply a story. Maybe it’s an illustration, or is it real?” We struggle with that. Children, they hear these stories, and they believe them as historical events. Therefore, that ability to believe that is to act in faith. Well, it says, “For of such is the kingdom of God,” and notice what he says. He says in verse 15, “Truly, it’s a promise. Truly, I say to you whosoever does not receive…” It doesn’t make any difference who you are, this is a principle for one and all. He says, “For whomsoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a child.”
Now, in this passage, we’ll see in a few minutes. Although it’s translated the same way in most English Bibles, there are two different words used in this passage for a child. One refers to a very, very young child. Perhaps the age of two, three, four, five, around that age. The other word refers to a child who is up to an adolescent age. So two different words. Here, we’re speaking about the young version of a child. So notice what he states, “Whomsoever,” and he’s saying, “I tell you the truth. It’s a promise. Whomsoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a child will by no means,” and literally we have two different Greek words for the word “no.” We translate it by no means, but it’s emphasized, “will by no means enter in to it.”
Then, what do we have? Well, we have a very unique verse. After making this statement, we read verse 16, and he, that is Yeshua, he takes up the children into his arms, and he what? He blesses them. Now, location is important. This verse of scripture, he has just finished in two separate sentences talking about what? The kingdom of God, and then he speaks about how he picks up children, and hugs them, and blesses them. Now, what’s the relationship between these two things? Well, he’s giving us an example what the kingdom of God is about. The kingdom of God is God picking up his children and bringing them to him in his arms, hugging them, and what? Blessing them.
Now, the question is this. Do you believe that? Do you really believe the kingdom of God is where you’re going to personally experience the love of God? If you believe that, then your life is going to be radically different. Many people are unsure about the kingdom of God. Many people that say, “Yes, I believe in Messiah Yeshua. Yes, I’m his disciple. Yes, I go to worship services once, twice, whatever a week,” many of those people still are unsure about the reality of the kingdom, and they simply… If there is a kingdom, well, they, of course, want to be there, but they’re not all that committed to that kingdom. Let me tell you. When you doubt the reality of the kingdom, it is going to cause you to be less committed to the things of God, your responsibilities to them.
Now, let’s pause of a moment and remember something. This 10th chapter began talking and warning us against divorce. In other words, it emphasized the significance of marriage. Marriage is a covenant, and the purposes of… and we talked about this last week. The purpose of every covenant in the Bible is to be an instrument that manifests God’s glory. If you believe in the reality of the kingdom, if you believe that you’re going to stand before God in his kingdom, it is going to radically impact how you live and behave in this age, especially, especially in your covenantal responsibilities that is in regard to marriage.
Now, what happens? Well, let’s move on to a second section today, and this is the same issue. What we see here is an event that took place, a historical event that illustrates and teaches us the same truth that he mentioned and taught with this example of the children. Move on to verse 17. As he went forth on the road, one came running, and kneeled down to him, and asked him a question.” Now, it’s very significant what we’re going to read in a few minutes. This one who comes, he does what? The scripture says he kneels down.
Now, that is like a posture of prayer. So this one who comes, and he runs after Messiah Yeshua, and he kneels before him. Notice what he says. He asked a question. This question is, “Good teacher, what must I do in order to inherit eternal life?” Now, what’s emphatic here? Well, two things. One is what I must do. The emphasis is on I, what I must do. The second thing, and this is what Yeshua picks up on first. Notice how he addresses Yeshua. He says, “Good teacher.”
Now, biblically speaking, words are very important, and what we say God, he hears everything. So this individual, he simply says, and this was a common idiom, a way that someone would respond to a rabbi in that age., “Good teacher,” but the problem is this. Notice what Messiah says to him in verse 18. Yeshua answers and responds to him. “Why do you call me good for there is no one who is good but God?” It’s very important that we understand Messiah’s intent.
Now, some people would have you to believe that what’s going on here is Messiah is pushing back. He uses a term, this young individual. He uses a term that has to do with the good, and Messiah says, “Only God is good. I mean, only he is good. So why are you calling me good?” Messiah is not pushing back and says, “Don’t call me good.” Quite the contrary. He’s challenging him. See, we use that very flippantly, and he wants to say, “Do you really believe that I’m good because God, he’s the only good one? Do you believe that I am God incarnate?”
Now, why would he respond that way? Well, what’s the question? It concerns inheriting eternal life. Who sets those parameters? Does a man? Does some teacher? I mean, I was listening last night to a rabbi. His name is Zamir Cohen, and he was speaking about entering into the kingdom. What he was saying, he was using what I hear so many times people do. It’s very common in Judaism, the Judaism of the rabbis. He was talking about whether we merit it or not, and he was using a balance as an illustration.
He says if we have more good deeds than failures in our life, he says if it balances out, if the merit is more than the disfavor, he says, we’ll get in. So it’s just a balancing act. Is that true? No, it’s not. I mean, the scripture says if there’s one in one way have you stumbled in the law, you’re guilty of them all. So there’s no balancing. You’re guilty of everything. It’s not an issue of doing. It’s not an issue of merit. Now, we’ll come back to that at the end, but the point is this. Is he really relating to Messiah as God among us?
Well, one example is this. He kneeled down before him. Now, notice his response that is Yeshua’s response to this. He asks this question. He says, “Do you believe I’m God?” Let me tell you. The answer is not found in man, it’s found in the word of God, verse 19. He says, “You know the commandments,” and he lists five of them. He says, “Do not kill. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness.” Then, he uses a substituent form of the commandment, “Do not covet.” Most Bibles in English will translate it to do not basically despair someone. That is don’t put yourself above someone else. If they have something good, don’t desire what they have. Don’t say, “Why do they have it and I don’t?” Don’t look down at others.
Now, these commandments, when we understand them, we might say, “Well, I’ve never killed someone. I know it’s written in the Sermon on the Mount that if you have malice for your brother, you’re guilty of murder,” but let’s just take it from a very literal standpoint. I may have never committed murder. I may have never literally committed adultery. But then, we see other things here. We say, “Do not steal.” Well, we’re supposed to work, give to our employer 40 hours a week. Whatever, talk on the phone, do something online, take out break that is not a paid break, that’s all stealing.
Every Friday, my wife and I, we go to buy food, prepared food for Shabbat. Everything is ready. You put it in little containers, and what do I see? All the time, nearly every one, they’re taking a bite of this. They’re taking a piece of this and eating it. They put it in their container. They eat it on the way too to go pay for it. Not much, just a small amount, but all that week in and week out, it adds up. So all of us, we’re guilty of what? Stealing. It says, “Do not bear false witness.” Ever told a lie? Then, it says, “Do not..” What? Look down on someone. I mean, that’s what coveting is all about. So once again, have you ever desired something that belongs to someone else?
So the answer is this. Messiah spoke about the commandments of God. Why? Because when we look at the commandments or even hear them, we should fall under spiritual conviction. So Messiah says, “You know the commandments. How do you measure up?” Now, if you are at all spiritually mature, almost with any commandment, we come up short. There is a need for what? Mercy, forgiveness. But this man, although he’s a man, he is spiritually immature. He’s like a child. What does he say? Well, look at verse 20.
He writes or says, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” Why does he say, “From my youth?” Well, according to Judaism, a child, before a boy turns 13, whatever he does, whatever heirs, whatever sins, whatever, he’s father responsible. But at the age of bar mitzvah, that is 13, he’s responsible for his actions. So what he’s saying is this, “From the time of my youth since bar mitzvah, I’ve kept all these.” Oh, really? I mean, he’s not really looking so in-depth. He just hears these things and thinks that he’s okay. So he says, “From all these things I have kept from my youth,” verse 21.
Now, Yeshua, he looks in that word, looks intently at him, and loves him. Now, this I think is almost like a… I can remember my son when he was very, very young. I was going out to do something, something that a child shouldn’t go along with. It’s dangerous. It was working. It was working in a forest, cutting some trees, and making some wood. It wasn’t a place for a four or five-year-old, and I said, we had these axes, “Can you carry this ax all day?” Well, he couldn’t, but he says, “Sure.” I said, “Can you cut down a tree?” “Sure.”
He thought he could do everything. That’s just how a child behaves, and that’s how this man was thinking. He didn’t understand it spiritually. He was immature, and therefore, he thought he kept all the commandments. Then, what did Yeshua do? Well, it’s not out of despairingly. It’s not out of a lack of love. Quite the contrary. What we’re going to see about Messiah is this. In loving us, he manifests those areas in our life that come up far short.
Now, I may do this commandment and this commandment, but there’s a whole bunch that I fall short on. What Messiah is able to do if we turn to him in prayer, he will manifest those areas in our life where God is displeased. It’s not that God is mad at us, that he hates us. He loves us. He wants to teach us those things so that we can get it right, that we can be transformed, that we can be changed. So what happens? Well, look again. Verse 21, “And Yeshua looks at him. He loves him, and he says to him, ‘One thing you lack.'”
Now, you can imagine that this young man hear only one thing. “Wow, I can do that. I can solve this. I can settle everything,” and he was probably thinking about how close he was. Just one more thing to take care of. He could check off that list and everything would be fine. He says, “One thing you lack, go, and that which you have, sell it and give it to the poor.” Now, seems easy enough. All he has to do is sell everything he has, give it to the poor, and then he says… Notice the outcome. He says, “And then you will have…” What? Treasure in heaven.
Now, the question is this. When you look at treasures in heaven… Let me ask a question. How long does treasures in heaven last? The answer is for eternity. How long does your most priceless possession last? Well, we have some friends, and about 27 years ago, they bought a car that they loved. It was a very, very nice Mercedes, and they loved that car. It was a great car for them. They had it for… Still have it. I was back visiting my parents. They’ve had it for over 20 years. But now, there’s a lot of things wrong with it. It’s not worth fixing. They’re just going to give it away. It still has a few miles left in it. They’re just willing to give it away. Why? It wore out. It lost its worth, and everything, whether it’s 20 years, or 50 years, or 100 years, whatever, it eventually wears out. It eventually loses its value. Not so with the things of heaven. They endure forever.
So if it’s giving up something now in this age in order to have something for all eternity, I mean, a very, very simple-minded person would gladly accept that. Messiah was offering him a great deal. Look again. He says, “You lack one thing. Go and sell all what you have, and give it to the poor. Then, you’ll have treasures in heaven, and come and follow after me. Be with me.” Now, Messiah, he would provide for this man. He has opportunity to serve the living God, to join with them, to become an intimate disciple of the living Messiah. Wow. But what happens? Well, look at the next verse, verse 22.
He was offered exactly. He was told by the good teacher. Remember that good is God. He was told by the teacher of God what? What to do. He got the answer. It was something he could do, but what happens? Look at verse 22. He was downcast. Literally, his face fell on account of this word, and he went away extremely sad. Why? Because he had a great amount of possessions. Now, these possessions were a hindrance to him following Messiah. That is he was more [inaudible 00:25:48] the here and now than what? The kingdom of heaven.
Now, let’s stop for a moment. Why? Because remember, this comes within the context of marriage, and here’s the problem. Oftentimes, people, and I’ve heard this so often, people come into an office of a rabbi or a pastor, and they say, “Our marriage isn’t so good. We’re heading for divorce.” What they really want is just the… The spiritual leaders, they understand. It’s sad. “I’ll pray for you. I understand if it can’t be solved and such.” Well, here’s the problem. Oftentimes… Not oftentimes. Always, marriage requires sacrifice. If you can see from an eternal perspective what ending that marriage, that divorce is going to do not only to your children, but to your testimony and others, and people say, “Well, I deserve better than this. I’m not happy. He doesn’t meet my needs. I don’t love her anymore.” All this, these things, those are shortsighted.
You may be called to endure hardship through that marriage. That’s life. But when you do so, God will go to work. He can bring a change. But even if not, think about the rewards that you’re going to have. Where? In the kingdom of heaven. But if you emphasize the shortsightedness of this age, “I need to be happy. I want my needs met. I want all of these things,” well, if you emphasize those, you’re going to let go of that marriage. You’re going to separate from that marriage covenant. You’re going to have a divorce, and what’s going to happen?
Well, when you get before God… It’s not that he doesn’t love you. It’s not that that’s going to end your opportunity to be his child. Of course, not. We’re not saved by what we do, but here’s the key. We’re going to live with regret when we see all the things that could have been if we remain faithful to God and remain in that marriage covenant. So what we’re going to do is next week, we’re going to see how this heavenly perspective and not focusing upon this world is so important if we’re going to be found faithful in the side of God, and we’re going to be people who truly represent a kingdom mindedness. Well, we’ll close with that. Until next week.
Speaker 1: Well, we hope you will benefit from today’s message and share it with someone else. Please plan to join us each week at this time and on this station for the radio edition of LoveIsrael.org. Again, to find out more about us, please visit us at our website, LoveIsrael.org. There, you will find articles and several other lectures from our teacher, Dr. Baruch. These teachings are in video form. You may download them or watch them in streaming video. Until next week. May the Lord bless you and our Messiah Yeshua, that is Jesus, as you walk with him. Shalom from Israel.