In the world we are living in today, here in America, we need to know the Constitution. If we don’t follow the guidelines and boundaries put in place by our founding fathers, we can get into trouble. We also need to know the rights and authority we have as citizens.
Jesus came to earth for many reasons and one of them was to glorify His Father. He came to bear the truth of the Kingdom of God and sacrifice His own life so that we could be part of that Kingdom.
Today we are beginning a new series about God’s Kingdom. Jesus came to preach and teach the gospel – good news — of the Kingdom. In Matthew 5, 6, and 7, we find “The Sermon on the Mount,” where He in essence declares the constitution of the kingdom. This is how the kingdom works.
Before we start, let’s take a look at Jesus’ growing up how He as a flesh and blood human learned the word of God. Since Jesus grew up in Nazareth, He likely attended Yeshiva. A yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution. It focuses on the study of traditional religious texts. Study of the Talmud and the Torah, and the halacha is standard. The Talmud is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism. It is the primary source of Jewish religious law and Jewish theology. The word Torah means to teach. Torah is usually considered to be the first five books of the Bible written by Moses. In it is the covenant and instruction of God for the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. The halacha is the collective Jewish religious law derived from the written and Oral Torah. Its base is biblical commandments, Talmudic and rabbinic law, and customs and traditions. (Definitions found in Wikipedia)
You may wonder why it is important to know Jesus studied the Torah, the Talmud, and the halacha. It’s important because much of His teaching and the things He did and how He did them came from the written records He’d learned as a child.
Remember the story of His disappearance at the Feast of Tabernacles when His parents went in search of Him? They found Him (at 13 years old) … in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. Luke 2:46-47
One of the first names given to Jesus when He started His public ministry was Master. Master also means teacher or rabbi. Jesus went to Abba for instructions and then taught and demonstrated what God told Him. He did it in line with what He learned as a child from His teachers or rabbis. A rabbi then and now is a teacher or spiritual leader who has disciples or those wanting to be like their rabbi.
I am giving you this information because many of us in the West, do not see God’s word through Hebrew lenses. Our lack of knowledge about Jewish ways keeps us from understanding the word as it was meant when it was written.
For example, rabbis use a form of teaching called ‘Remez.’ Which means to ‘hint back’ at another text without quoting the whole text. They do this because their disciples know the entire text from their studies in Yeshiva. They understand the meaning without hearing it all.
Here is an example of Remez from Ray Vander Laan. “When the children shouted “Hosanna” to him in the temple and the chief priests and teachers of the law became indignant (Matt. 21:15), Jesus responded by quoting Psalm 8:2: “From the lips of children and infants, you have ordained praise.” The religious leaders’ anger at Jesus can be better understood when we realize that the next phrase in the Psalm reveals why children and infants offer praise because the enemies of God would be silenced. The religious leaders realized that Jesus was implying that they were God’s enemies.”
After being tempted in the wilderness Matthew 4:17 says, “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” The Kingdom one of His main messages.
As we start through the Beatitudes, I am will point you back to scripture and other writings Jesus declared as truth. It helps to have a complete picture. We will use scripture to interpret scripture. It is a wonderful way to study and you begin to see the books of the Bible as sixty-six books with one message from Genesis to Revelation. See you later this week.