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: When you hear the term Messiah, what enters into your mind? What word? For example, most people they hear Messiah and they think of savior, or Lord, or justifier, redeemer, ruler. All those things are correct and excellent. But when we look at the scripture, one of the ways, in fact, one of the primary ways that the Torah relates Messiah to us, is prophet. And prophets were not popular in their day. More often than not, they were rejected. Why? Because the people did not want to be brought to repentance. And I think the same thing can be said today. When we listen to most teachers of the Bible, they don’t speak, they do not emphasize what the scripture does, and that is living a repentant life. It’s not just a onetime thing for repentance as John the Baptist tells us. Repentance bears fruit.
Take out your Bible and look with me to the book of Mark in chapter 6, the book of Mark in chapter 6. Now, in the previous chapter, we saw that there is an inherent relationship between Messiah Yeshua and what he’s going to do in bringing about a restoration to Israel. We talked about the importance of Israel in the program of Messiah to establish his kingdom. And what we’re going to see in chapter 6 is that that program, that work that Messiah wants to accomplish in the hearts of Israel and all people, unfortunately, for the most part, it’s going to be rejected. Why? Well, people don’t like the message of the prophets. Why? Because foundational to their message is that of repentance. And we simply want God to bless us in our pursuits rather than repenting and embracing His will.
Look with me to the book of Mark in chapter 6, in verse 1. We read here. And he came out there, that is on the other side of the sea of Galilee. He came out of that place and he came into his own country. Now that expression may be more precise to me, not only one’s country or region, but one’s own city. And we read in the last half of verse 1. And his disciples were following him. Now, remember how his disciples are related to us in verse 1. Simply by the phrase, his disciples, we’re going to see the next time that their message, mentioned in this passage, we’re going to see that there’s a different term that is used to describe them. He comes back to his own city, and most scholars rightly see that he has returned to the city of Nazareth.
Now, once again, we learn this, the term Nazareth comes from a Hebrew word that is related to Messiah, that twig, that sprout, that is going to issue forth from the stump of Jesse. He came back to the place where he grew up, the place where people knew him best.
Look at verse 2. Now, one of the things we see that Messiah tended to do, or at least recorded to us is when he went back to Nazareth, there is an inherent connection to him being in the synagogue. Now Nazareth, in the time of Yeshua, 2,000 years ago, the archeologists tell us there was only about 40 family members or 40 people living in Nazareth, 40 families, about 200 people, a rather small community, a mountain top community in the lower Galilee, which was not too significant. And these people, they were kind of alone. Not a lot of people would make their way up to Nazareth. There was no need to, there was nothing there. They weren’t real acquainted with the rest of Israel. They’d have to leave to have contact.
And what happened? Well, this one that they had been hearing about had come back for a visit. Look at verse 2. And it came about on the Sabbath. Now we learn that biblically speaking, and especially in the rabbinical writings, the ancient writings, and even the writings of the rabbis today, there is a connection between the Sabbath and the kingdom of God. Many of the things that the Sabbath teach, the Sabbath manifests, is also what’s going to be manifested in the kingdom of God. We learned how one of the ways that the kingdom is spoken of by the rabbis is the great Sabbath. Look again, verse 2. And it came about on the Sabbath that he began to teach in the synagogue, and many people were… literally it says, are listening in the present. They’re hearing, they’re paying close attention to what he’s saying. And they were what? Amazed.
Now, why were they amazed? They would have people each week, remember there’s the Torah reading, and after that, the prophetic reading. After that one who reads the prophetic reading, he gives a drash. He gives a teaching on those two passages relating to the people, the connection between them. That happened each Sabbath. But when Yeshua got up and spoke, this text tells us they were amazed. That means they weren’t hearing weekly what he was sharing with them. And if you look at what’s said concerning his teaching, look again at verse 2. They were amazed in from where does this one have these things? And what is the matter of wisdom that was given to this one, and the miracles such as this that are done through his hands? They’re hearing not only information as far as knowledge, but they’re also hearing wisdom.
What is that? Well, there’s a difference biblically speaking here between these two concepts. One is these great things that he’s sharing, knowledge. But wisdom is also mentioned. Why? To tell us that they were able to grasp them. He was able to teach the finer points of the law and the prophets in a way that the people could understand that they could grasp it, that they knew how to apply it to their life. And the next thing that it said those great deeds, those miracles, those wonders, those signs he had done, that they had heard that were done through him. Now here’s the point I want you to see, we’ve talked about over and over how miracles confirm truth. It just wasn’t that he was intelligent. It just wasn’t that he was wise, but he was praying about the outcome of this wisdom and knowledge.
And they were amazed by this. And notice what it says in verse 3. Instead of responding in praise to God, what did they do? Look at verse 3. Is this not the carpenter? Meaning a very, very simple job. If this one was sent by God, if this one was someone who was being used by God, would he have been a carpenter for all those many years previously? And don’t we know him, is he not the son of Mary? And don’t we know his brother, James and Joseph and Judah and Simon? And aren’t his sisters with us as well? Meaning don’t we know everything about him. He can’t be one who is sent from God.
Now the point I want you to see here is this, this idea of God visiting His people in a personal way, God dwelling among men, it is so foreign. But the problem is this. When we look at the scriptures, we see over and over, when talking about God’s program, His plan, what does He want to do? He wants to dwell with us. He wants to come and become one of us for that fellowship, that intimacy, but the people they weren’t responding to that idea. And it tells us, at the end of verse 3, that they were… literally in the Greek language, it says that they were scandalized by that. What does that mean? Well, it means that they were offended.
I mean, how can it be someone from this little town of Nazareth, someone that we’ve known all of these years, we know his family? How could this one be truly one sent by God? And I want you to see the response of Messiah to all of this. Look on to verse 4. And Yeshua said to them, “Is not a prophet without honor, except in his own city, and among his own family, and in his own house.” That is, a prophet is going to be honored everywhere, except in his own place, by his own people, in his own home.
Now, why is that there? Well, think for a moment. It’s very significant that Messiah, what he did was to bring into this conversation, this account in the scripture, the concept of prophet. And as we talked about, prophets, historically, were rejected. They were rejected by their own. They were persecuted. They were sometimes killed. But in the next generations, they decorated their tombs, enlarged their tombs, and they studied their writings.
Now there’s another reason why he’s picked that term prophet. If you were to ask, who was the first prophet in the scripture one of the best answers would be Moses. And we know that Moses, what does the scripture say? Well, in the book of Deuteronomy, one of the first passages that speak concerning the Messianic promise is that God is going to raise up from your brethren one like Moses.
That’s very interesting how the rabbis interpret this. When they hear that one like Moses, there’s no dispute that this is a Messianic prophecy. But what they say is, and there’s nothing wrong with this, Moses, what did he do? He was the first redeemer. He brought the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt, into the promised land. And therefore Messiah is going to be like Moses, he’s going to bring us out of the oppression of this world, oppression that Israel’s receiving through the nations. And we are going to be brought into the kingdom of God. And that’s true. But there’s another, I would argue, a primary interpretation of that. And that is this. In the same way that Moses was rejected by the people… when we look, especially in the book of Deuteronomy, we see over and over that they wanted to have a new leader and go back to Egypt.
But we don’t here today among the rabbis. We don’t see in the ancient writings either that verse from the book of Deuteronomy, when it says one will be raised up like Moses from your brethren, hear him. We don’t hear, “Well, this one is going to be rejected. This one is going to be persecuted. This one who is the Messianic hope, he’s going to be rejected. He is going to be a rock of offense for the people.” We don’t hear that. What we hear in Judaism today is that when Messiah comes, all of Israel’s readied and prepared. And we’re going to see that is not at all what the scripture reveals.
Messiah reveals in this passage that a prophet is not without honor, except in his own home, in his own family, and in his own city. Verse 5. Now because of their unwillingness to respond to him in a biblical manner, according to the will of God, what happens? Look at verse 5. And he was not able to do there… and that word is emphatic. He was not able to do there any of these, these mighty works, except to heal a few sick. That is to place his hand on a few sick ones.
Now, what does that tell us? Well, even though the majority of the people rejected him and they did not see his mighty deeds among them, there was that remnant. There were a few that responded, a few that believed, a few that were blessed by him. And that remnant is always an important theme in the scripture.
Let’s move on to verse 6. Now, earlier on when he was teaching, they were amazed, not just for what he was saying, but the fact that it was he who was saying that, Yeshua from Nazareth. But now there’s another statement of amazement. Look at verse 6. And this time it was Yeshua who was amazed. And he was amazed because of their lack of faith. Now, I hope that if I amazed God in anything, it’s not going to be for my rebelliousness, for my lack of faith, for my disobedience, for failure. And if we don’t want that to be our situation when we go and stand before him, what’s the key, well, faith. Not acting in faithlessness. And what I want you to see here is no sooner does he say that, that he begins to do something.
Look at verse 7. And he called the 12. Now stop for a moment. He’s speaking, obviously, about his disciples. Back in verse 1, the only other time in this passage that the disciples are referred to, they’re just called who? His disciples. But now in verse 7, there’s a change in language. Instead of speaking about his disciples, first and foremost, he simply says the 12. Why? Well, we’ve learned the number 12 is uniquely related to the children of Israel.
Now, what we’re seeing in this passage is two things. We’ve already talked about how Messiah in the previous chapter manifested himself as what? As the restorer, as the redeemer, in other words as King Messiah. Now we’re seeing in chapter 6 that his prophetic call is going to be rejected by the vast majority of people. He was amazed because of the lack of their faith. Listen to this. And now we’re going to see what one who has faith should do, what Israel should be practicing. And that’s the purpose for the second half of this passage.
Look again at verse 7. And he called the 12 and he began to send them two by two. Now, what we see here is two or three, whenever those numbers appear, oftentimes the purpose behind it is testimony. And what we want here is for Israel to have a proper testimony. He’s speaking to the 12, meaning his disciples. And what we’re seeing is two things. How Israel should behave, what was Israel’s call? And secondly, how should one who is a disciple of Messiah respond? And we ought to have a testimony. We ought to have a witness in our life.
Look at verse 7. And he called the 12. And he began to send them out two by two. And he gave them… and we haven’t seen this word for a while, but it’s the word authority and power. We’ve mentioned, in the Hebrew language there’s just one word that conveys both of these. But here in the Greek language, this word exousia, it can phase these two things in a very strong manner. He gave them authority and he gave them power over unclean spirits.
Now, what we’re seeing is a transformation. He sent them out with a purpose, a purpose to restore things back to a kingdom purpose. Remember, all of the context for this is the Sabbath day. The Sabbath is related to the kingdom. We’re seeing here a description of kingdom work, what the establishment of the kingdom of God is going to bring about. And it needs to be seen through our lives, through our actions. Earlier this week, I was speaking to a group of people and we were studying the Torah portion called Chayei Sarah. It has to do with the passage that Sarah dies and Abraham is looking for a place to bury his wife. And when he spoke to the children of Heth, what happened? Notice how they responded. They said to him in Genesis 23:6, they spoke to Abraham as the precedent of God. That is, the person that God chose to be his leader in this world.
Now, why is that important? Because it tells us that those Gentiles around Abraham looked at him and saw his call in his life. They saw the connection, the relationship, that he had with God. And this is exactly what Messiah is telling the disciples to go out, to have a witness. And when we live in that way, under his authority, with his power, we’re going to have victory of the kingdom. We’re going to bring about the work of the kingdom, the restoration of the kingdom.
Look on to verse 8. And he charged them that they do something. Now they’re called to go out and do kingdom work, to battle unclean spirits. And what are they called to take with them? Virtually nothing. Look at verse 8. He called them and challenged them to take nothing with them. Only what? A rod. Only a rod, why? It speaks about authority. It was a shepherd’s rod. And who else was known for that rod? Well, all throughout the Torah, we speak about the rod of Moses. This shows his authority, the authority that was given to him by God. Only take a rod. No bread, meaning no food, no bag and no what? And it says, and no money back either, but rather…
Look at verse 9. The only thing that he is told, or they are told to do is to close up their sandals, to fasten their sandals. Why? Now that bothered me. When I was looking at this passage, I’m thinking to myself, why don’t do this, don’t take this, don’t do that? The only thing he says to do is to fasten tight your sandals.
And as I was searching for an answer in prayer, the only thing that came into my mind, that doesn’t mean it’s right, but the only thing that came into my mind is Moses. When he was on that Holy mountain, Mount Horeb or Mount Sinai, and God says to him, “Take off your sandals for you’re on Holy ground.” What I believe that that tells us when he says, “Fasten up your sandals good,” what he’s telling the children who are following his disciples, that you’re going into an unholy territory. You’re not going to be walking in the holiness, meaning in Holy surroundings, but in the camp of the enemy. He says, “Fasten tight your sandals,” and what else? He says and do not what? He says, “Do not put on two tunics.”
Now, why not put on two tunics? There’s two primary interpretations. One is this. One was the outer tunic was that tunic of what we would call honor, one of great pop and circumstance. And men of nobility they… or men of means when they went out in society, they would put on the outer tunic. Yeshua for example, he had that tunic that was so nice that the soldiers gambled in order not to destroy it, it was so nice. But he’s sending them out not to do so in a way of nobility, but in a way of what? Well, as brothers. Not as someone who has been given a position to rule over, but as servants. He sends them out and the second interpretation is the outer tunic was also for warmth. And what he’s saying is, “I’m going to supply everything. I’m going to keep you warm. I’m going to keep you fed. I’m going to keep you clothed. I’m going to provide everything. Just go and do.”
And what was their message? Well, move on to verse 11. He says, “And whatever place that you go in…” He says, “Whatever place that you go in and they welcome you and listen to you…” He says what? He says, “Remain in that place. But any of those places that you go in and they do not welcome you, they do not receive you or your teachings.” What happens? He says, “Go off from that place.” And shake the dust from your feet as what? As a testimony unto them. Now, what we see over and over in this passage or scripture is they’re going out to bear witness. And what I want you to see is the message that they shared.
Look at verse 12. And they went out and they proclaimed… what? That they should repent. Now, here again, we don’t hear a great deal about repentance today. More and more, when I listen to the radio, when I listen to some message on the radio or on television through the internet, what I hear among the most popular preachers is basically counseling. They’re talking about how you can what? Find blessing. How God will bless your life.
Well, before God will even get to the blessing, there first needs to be repentance. So often what we hear in counseling, how to be a better father, how to be a better employer, how to be a better spouse, all those things are good and the Bible speaks of them. But the primary message, the one that comes forth over and over from Yeshua is first and foremost, repentance, because you’ll never be a better father, you’ll never be a better spouse, you’ll never be a better anything until you get right with the Lord. And what’s absent today is this message of repentance. Why? Because repentance takes us back to obedience. And we don’t like obedience to the word of God. We want God to bless our purposes, our plans, and that’s simply sin. It is in exact conflict with the message of the kingdom.
What I want you to see in this passage or scripture is that they proclaim repentance. And what happens? Through that word, things happen. Look, if you would, to verse 13. And many demons were cast out. And they anointed with oil, and many of those who were sick were healed. Now, these things are all signs of what? The power, the authority, the anointing of Messiah. And it’s the outcome. These outcomes are what’s going to characterize the kingdom. But the foundational truth in the scripture for being ready for that kingdom is what? Repentance. We’ve learned that the first message that Messiah began to proclaim when he began his ministry was, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And if we just think, “God, can you help me with this problem. God, can you solve that,” without understanding the core of why those problems are plaguing us, well, there won’t be deliverance. There won’t be demons being cast out, but we’ll just go from one defeat to another one, one disappointment to another one, one failure to another, instead, knowing the victory that comes through living a repentant life.
People don’t talk about repentance because why? They struggle with that verse, that those who walk in the spirit, will what, fulfill the righteousness of law. They think repentance is to tied to the law. Well, repentance brings about the fulfillment of the law, which is what, the blessing, the righteousness, the justice that God over and over commands us to live out and to enforce. Well, we’ll stop with that. Until next time, may God bless you richly as you walk and live with him.
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.