Shalom, and welcome to Ve’ahavta Israel, 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: It doesn’t take one very long in looking into the gospels, to see the power of Messiah, and one of the things we learned in our last study is his power to bring about a restoration. It was not by accident that we see the miracles in the Book of Mark taking place on the Shabbat, that, is on the Sabbath day, because that day is synonymous with a creation context. Remember he worked six days and on the seventh day, he rested from all the creation that he had done. Shabbat and creation go hand in hand, and what we see in the work of Messiah, is to restore those things that sin had corrupted.
Take out your Bible, and look with me, if you would, to the Book of Mark, in chapter one. The Book of Mark and chapter one. Now, we saw in our last study, these miracles that took place on Shabbat, and immediately after the Sabbath in that evening, and we need to understand that Messiah, he reveals truth to us because he is the author of truth. He is God incarnate, God with us, Emmanuel, but also we see that he is fully man. Now, to understand how fully God and fully man comes together in him is beyond our capabilities, but it is a reality, it is what the scripture reveals.
And what we’re going to see in the first verse that we’re going to look at today, is the foundation for how a man serves God. We need to see that in one aspect, Messiah did these things because of his divinity. He is God. But likewise, we need to stand aside and look from another vantage point, and to see that he is functioning as God created man to function. And what is the basis for us functioning in a proper way? Well, look, if you would, to verse 35. Mark’s Gospel, chapter one, and verse 35. We read here, “And it was early in the morning.” Now, that’s how most Bibles translate it, but if you look carefully, there’s a word there that literally means night, and the word that comes after that is night, what we might say, really dark.
So Messiah, in this passage of scripture, what’s been emphasized is that he gets up when it’s still nighttime. Now, we’re not speaking about five in the morning, four in the morning, but in the middle, the wee hours of the night, he gets up, for what purpose? Well, we already know that he had quite some Sabbath day. We recall how people brought after the Sabbath numerous people, people who were possessed by demons, who had unclean spirits, and those who were sick from a variety of diseases, and he healed them all. And what are we to glean from that? What is the basis for that? Well, on one hand, his identity as God with us, but on the other hand, when we look at him as fully man, we see the reason in a few moments.
Look again at verse 35, “And early, very early in the morning, he got up and he left, and he came into a deserted place.” Now, that deserted place is the same word that we studied earlier in chapter one, which was translated, wilderness. And you remember what that word wilderness conveys to us? It conveys a dependence, a total reliance upon God. So we need to ask ourselves, are we going to follow his example? Are we good to understand that one of the purposes that he came in the flesh was to show us how a godly man lives? And the foundation of living godly is what we see at the end of verse 35, and that is, “He went out to this deserted place in the wilderness, and he demonstrated his dependence, his trust, his reliance upon God,” through what? What does it say at the end of that verse? “He prayed.”
Now, I’m sure that all of us have heard study after study about prayer, but when was the last time that we actually put into practice what we see here? Getting up in the wee hours of the morning, and demonstrating your dependence upon God by praying to him? In order that you might be led to do the various things that God would have you to do? To further on in your walk and your call as a believer in Messiah Yeshua verse 36.
We read here “And followed him Simon, that is Simon Peter and those who were with him.” Now something’s good about that verse. That is these individuals were paying attention to Messiah. He got up and went out early into a deserted place and they followed after him. And that’s what that verse is trying to encourage us to do as well, to follow after him. They were sensitive to where Messiah was moving. Likewise, we read in verse 37 “And they found him and they sit him that all were seeking you now.” Now don’t miss the significance of that last word in verse 37 that they were seeking you. There’s a change grammatically in the text. Throughout this passage messiah is referred to as him or in the third person always. But when we’re talking about him in the midst of prayer and the people following and seeking him, it doesn’t say they saw him, but there’s a change. They sought you meaning intimacy.
And that’s what prayer brings about when we want to follow after him, when we rely upon him and we demonstrate that by taking seriously prayer, we’re going to find our intimacy, we’re going to find that he becomes much, much closer to us. So the change from third person to second person. Verse 38 “And He responded, he said to them, I am going into the other places that have villages or small cities.” The word here is unique. It’s kind of a combination of two Greek words for a village in city, so he’s going into the places where people dwell. Why? “In order that there also I show preach or proclaim.” Now that’s significant because we see in our last study that there was an emphasis on teaching and the outcome of that teaching, which is restoration. God, restoring things back to how he wanted them to be.
We see a spiritual victory over the enemies of God. Those unclean spirits, those demons and those things that infringe upon God’s will for our life, but the emphasis is on the truth. The emphasis is on his proclamation. He says, “I want to go to these places and order that I might preach there for this is why I have come out.” That is why I have been revealed, why I’ve left heaven and come here to give us truth. The truth that brings about change.
Now before we go on, we need to ask ourselves, are we experiencing that truth that changes us, that makes us more and more like him? Do we value the things that he values? Are we doing the things that he would do? Verse 39 “And he went and he proclaimed in their synagogues, in all the region of Galilee.”
Now we’ve talked about the importance of Galilee as a place according to Isaiah’s prophecy, that Messiah would begin to reveal himself and he went into their synagogues. That is those villages where people were gathered. We need to understand that synagogues were not just a place of reading the Torah and prayer, but throughout the rest of the week, they were like the gathering place, the city hall, the town center, and he went were people were gathering and he gave them the truth. And what was the outcome? Well, these people who were there, they thought everything was fine with them. They didn’t realize, look at what it says “And the demons he cast out.” How through the power of his word. And that’s why we emphasize the word of God. That’s why we take it verse by verse and allow the word of God to unfold in its natural form. In the scripture.
“He spoke there and demons were cast out.” Verse 40. Now verse 40 we see a very important piece of information we’ve seen thus far that Messiah’s truth, his power, his anointed, his authority brings about deliverance. Deliverance from, from demons and evil spirits, healing over a variety of diseases. But in verse 40 a very important piece of information is included. And even though we can say that this is a fulfillment, biblically speaking, prophetically speaking, I would emphasize it’s more of a fulfillment of what the religious leaders were teaching back then. Look again at verse 40 “And came to him a leper, a man that had leprosy.” Now that’s significant because we know in scripture, in the prophecy of Isaiah, Messiah is going to do great works. Blind shall see, death will hear, lame will walk and the lepers will be cleansed.
But in the rabbinical literature we see that there’s an emphasis upon lepers being cleansed. Why is that? Well understand how leprosy is understood in the scripture. Now, most people, we read that and we think about this disease of the skin, and people today can have that same very disease, correct? Well, not according to the rabbinical world. Because biblically, when we look at those who had leprosy in the scripture, we see something that more often than not, we don’t pay attention to. And that is when we look at everyone that had leprosy in the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, we see that they all had something in common, and that was pride. Let me give you an example.
We read about Naaman. He was this, this military leader for Syria, and he was a prideful man. And when he had the opportunity to be healed by the prophet, the prophet didn’t come out to see him. Just sent a word on how he could be healed, and instead of rejoicing and giving thanks to God and immediately putting that word into action, he complained, he was downcast because a prophet didn’t come out and make a big commotion and honor him.
Secondly, we see King Uzziah. King Uzziah, for example, he was from the Royal family. That is the divinity lineage, the tribe of Judah. He was not a Levi. He was not from the family of Aaron. Therefore, it was forbidden for him to enter in to the temple area, into the places that was reserved for the priests. But because of his pride, what happened, he said, “I’m going to go and anyway.” And what took place? He became a leper. Likewise, we see, for example, Miria when she spoke evil and anytime that we put someone down, it’s rooted in pride. The rabbis teach that one of the punishment [foreign language 00:14:20], which is speaking ill towards someone in an evil matter speaking something, even if it’s true, that would cause another person if he heard that, to think less of that person who was being spoken about that’s [foreign language 00:14:35]. And one of the punishments for that was leprosy.
And we see how Miriam said something against Moses and what happened. She became full of leprosy. Even Moses when he was kind of doubting God and not wanting to serve God and questioning, “Well, God, how’s this all going to work out?” One of the signs that was given to him was to put his hand inside his garment and it came out leprosy. An issue of doubt. And every time we doubt, doubt is rooted in pride, our self interest, us wanting to know, us wanting to be sure us wanting to be clear on all the points rather than simply trusting and believing God. So what I want you to see is that strongly within the rabbinical literature, leprosy was a spiritual disease, a punishment if you would, from the hand of God.
And because of that sense, the punishment came from God the view was only God could take it away. So we see in several places in the rabbinical literature that Messiah, one of the signs, one of the proof that Messiah was here, is that he would heal and cleanse lepers. Now with that said, look again, to verse 40 and came to him a leper who beseached him and don’t miss this next part, two Greek words put together their first one [foreign language 00:16:16], which is knee, the second one [foreign language 00:16:21] which means to fall down. So it literally means to fall down upon your knees. Now this individual, it was in the synagogues, it says their synagogues, meaning the Jewish people’s. So this man was a Jewish individual and what did he do? He came and he besieged and that word is like beseeching in prayer.
Beseeching God and he fell down upon his knees, a posture of prayer. In other words what the scripture is trying to convey to us is that this one understands that [foreign language 00:17:00] is not just Messiah, but is God with us. And what did he say middle of verse 40? “And he said to him that if you will, that is if you desire, you are able to make me clean.” That is to heal me. Now understand the faith of this one. First of all, he was one of the first individuals to understand the identity of Messiah. Secondly, his faith was not dependent upon what he received. I think about the three young men in Babylon who would not bow down to this image that Nebuchadnezzar set up, and they said to him, “Our God is able to deliver us and he will deliver us. But even if he should,” not meaning this.
God doesn’t have to do anything to be God. God doesn’t have to do anything for me to worship him because he’s God. That’s enough. And that’s how this leper came before Messiah Yeshua. Look again, middle of verse 40 “And he said to him that if you want, if you will, you are able to cleanse me.” Now because of of that way that that he besieged Messiah, how he demonstrated his faith, how he was willing to accept whatever the outcome might be. You see, sometimes it’s not God’s will at that moment for us to be healed. Sometimes there is a purpose, a purpose in suffering, a purpose in disease, a purpose in hardship. And sometimes we may not know it until the other side of this life. Great example of that is [foreign language 00:18:52] Job. He suffered for a purpose and when the time was ended, he was restored.
So in that same way we see that this man came with that type of faith and notice Messiah’s response. Verse 41 “And he was, was moved with compassion and he stretched forth his hand and he…” Don’t miss this. “He touched.” Now the first thing he did was to touch him before he healed him. Before he said anything, he just touched him. Why is that important? Well, leprosy is highly contagious. So it was forbidden to touch one who had leprosy. Because the fear was that you would become contaminated. But just the opposite happened. It was because of that touch that the power went out, the authority one out. And what do we read? Messiah says, “I am willing…” And he ordered and that’s important. He says, “Be cleansed and immediately…” Look at verse 42 And immediately went out from him, the leprosy, and he was cleansed.”
Now you can imagine how this individual felt. And I want you to see the importance of how Messiah then spoke to him. Initially he spoke with compassion. He spoke in a way that brought about simple healing to him. But in verse 43 he spoke in a very stern manner. What did he say? Two words “He commanded him with strictness.” Sometimes it’s translated to be commanded with power or authority and immediately he cast him out. Now why would he do this? Well, he told us meant to go forth because he didn’t want this man who was probably rejoicing, probably thanking him, probably worshiping. He didn’t want all the people to see what he had just done, why they knew the rabbinical teachings. A leper is cleansed. He’s healed. God only does that and this man spoke. He must be who? God with us. He must be the Messiah.
And what we’re going to pick up on, and we’ve already mentioned it, is how at this time, Messiah wanted to keep his identity as the Messiah of Israel, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, kind of a secret. Why? Because he wanted to teach the people about another aspect of the work of Messiah. You see Messiah, he has two distinct purposes. The problem was that people were only focusing in on his latter purpose. That is to establish the kingdom of God, but it’s not wise to establish the kingdom of God until the people are prepared for that kingdom of God. So he wanted to reveal to them, and that was a great dealing of what his teachings as we’ll discover in the next few weeks and months. His teaching was to set forth the initial work of Messiah. And that was to prepare the people for the forgiveness of sin.
Look again at verse 43 and He warned him sternly or commanded him sternly and immediately cast him out and said to him, ‘Show nothing and say nothing, but go and show yourself to the priests and present the offering concerning your cleansing.’ ” Now another important part that we see about Messiah is that he did not come to change the word of God. He did not come to inaugurate a new religion whatsoever. He came to turn people back to the truth and the authority of scripture. And one of the best places that we understand the character of God, the purposes of God, the call of God upon our lives is in what’s called [foreign language 00:00:23:25], the law of Moses. So he wanted this individual not to announce how he was cleanse, who had cleansed him, but simply as a testimony. That’s exactly what he says in that verse.
“Go and show yourself to the priest,” as what? As is commended in Moses. That is the law of Moses for a witness to them. Now to let them know that something’s going on. That God is moving, he’s moving, and he’s still moving in the same way that he did throughout Israel’s history. According to the word of God. Never expect God to do something outside his word, outside his prophetic truth. Well, let’s wrap up. Look, if you would to the last verse that we’re going to study. The last verse in this first chapter, verse 45 “But he went out and began to proclaim much.” Now who’s the he? Not Messiah. It is this man who’s been cleansed from leprosy. Now on one side we can understand what he did and see that as an example for us. I mean, Messiah had worked in his life, had brought about restoration and instead of focusing on the ceremonial aspect of going to the priest and going through the formality of being proclaimed cleansed by then he was so taken back by the work of God in his life that he couldn’t help but share it with others.
And if you look carefully and you read the, the Greek language properly, he just doesn’t proclaim it, it says, but also he documented it. Literally, he published, what? The word. Now that word word has to do as the truth of God. He published, he wrote it down. Why? Well, you say something and the people that moment hear it. But if you write it down, it can be retained from one generation to another. And we see a very important truth. Those who have experienced the work of Messiah in their life, they’re going to want to impact not just their friends, their neighbors, not just their generation, but the generations to follow. And that’s exactly what this man did. But the problem was exactly what Messiah did not want to happen. Happened. And what was that?
Look if you would to the middle of verse 45 “He spoke it. He wrote it down, he shared it with everyone he could.” And by the way, if we’ve experienced salvation, shouldn’t we be doing the same thing? But the result, because at that time was that he was no longer to be able to show himself and enter into the cities. What did he do? Messiah did this. “He went out,” and this is again mentioned, “He went out into the wilderness and he was there.” Now in order that you would think that someone would want it to proclaim truth. Remember he just said, “I’ve come into this world why? To proclaim truth.” That’s why he was sent. And now because of his popularity as the presumed King of Kings, he can’t go anywhere and tell the people the truth about how to be ready for the kingdom.
So he goes out into the wilderness, but we see that anointing upon him. Why? Look at the end of verse 45 “And they came to him from all the places.” When you have truth and you live according to the truth and that truth rest in you by means of the Holy spirit, God is going to bring those to you, that you might equip them, that you might teach them, that you might empower them with the same thing that you received from Messiah Yeshua. Well, we’re out of time until next week when we press on into Mark chapter two.
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.