- Words to the Jewish Talmidin
- In reference to the Shema
- The love of Adonai was not in the hearts of the people
- The Bread that we eat is every word that Adonai has spoken to us through the Messiah
- The Cup of Redemption we drink is our daily witness to the sacrificed life of Messiah
- The New Life of another kind…
- Special direct revelation from G-d is required for people to exercise faith in the Messiah
Words to the Jewish Talmidin:
These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” But Yeshua, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Yeshua knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
In reference to the Shema:
אֶת הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אָמַר בְּבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת כַּאֲשֶׁר לִמֵּד בִּכְפַר נַחוּם.רַבִּים מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ זֹאת אָמְרוּ: “קָשֶׁה הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה; מִי יָכוֹל לִשְׁמֹעַ אוֹתוֹ?”פ
“These things He [the Mashiach] said in the synagogue as He taught in Kafer Nachum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, ‘This is a difficult word (קָשֶׁה הַדָּבָר-a grievous, hard, troublesome word-davar); who can hear, understand, and obey it? (lishmo’a–לִשְׁמֺעַ, to listen and obey, from hear intelligently, shama-שָׁמַע).
The verb lishmo’a (לִשְׁמֺעַ) means to hear, understand and respond appropriately (in thought, feeling, will, and behavior; i.e. relationship). Shema is a key word that is found most prominently in the book of Deuteronomy. This word in various forms appears ninety-two times in Deuteronomy. Shema (from shama) is a sensory term that conveys five basic core meanings.
Core Meaning #1. Listen. Focus all of your attention on what is being said. “Be silent, O Israel, and listen (וּשְׁמַע֙-u-shema).”
Core Meaning #2. Hear. Actively listen to what is being communicated verbally and non-verbally. “I heard (שָׁמַ֖עְתִּי-shamati) Your voice in the garden and I was afraid.”
Core Meaning #3. Understand. Comprehend both the cognitive (thinking) and affective (feeling) meaning of what is being said to you. “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand (יִשְׁמְע֔וּ-yishme’u) each other.”
Core Meaning #4. Internalize. Take to heart, give weighty mental and emotional consideration to what is said; what you have heard and understood. “And as for Ishmael I have heard (שְׁמַעְתִּיךָ֒-sh’maati’cha) you.”
Core Meaning #5. Respond Appropriately/Obey. Obedience is a child’s love language to his or her parents. Man’s love language to our Father in heaven is obedience. This kind of love is a reciprocal love. So the ultimate relational response of shema is to respond in reciprocal love. This of course requires a high sense of respect and trust between the two parties. “Abraham did ( וַיִּשְׁמַ֥ע-vayishma) what Sarah said” This last sense of reciprocal love is born out of confidant trust and not fear. Love (chesed, ahavah) is the fulfillment of all that the sacred term shema aspires to be. Therefore, in reference to the Shema and love of Adonai Eloheinu we read:
שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל ה’ אֱלֹהֵינוּ ה’ אֶחָֽד׃ וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת ה’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶֽךָ׃ וְהָיוּ הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיֹּום עַל־לְבָבֶֽךָ׃
“Hear (שְׁמַע-Shema), O Israel! Adonai is our G-d, Adonai is one! (אֶחָֽד-echad, unity) You shall love Adonai Eloheikha with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
How do we hear, understand and obey this very vexing, difficult saying?
The Salvation of Adonai (Yeshua) gave His discourse on the Bread of Life in Capernaum. The meaning of the name of the city suits the purpose of His discourse. Kefar Nachum (כְפַר נַחוּם) means the Village of Consolation and Comfort. Yet how ironic, no one understood the wonderful truths that the Messiah was communicating. Instead of understanding the people were in a state of turmoil and anxiety over what they heard. In their ignorance the people misunderstood and were offended. Even the Messiah’s own disciples did not at the first understand the meaning of the Master’s words. It would not be until after the Messiah’s death, resurrection and ascension that the followers would receive on Shavuot the gift of the Spirit. Then were their minds open and they could finally understand all of the “difficult statements” that they had heard from the Messiah. But Yeshua, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, ‘Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?’” The spiritual meanings and complexities of the Messiah’s words and intents were too much for most of the people to bear. The people wanted immediate freedom from the bondage of Rome and they wanted material prosperity. The Messiah would give His people both but only if they accepted His demand for changed hearts and lives. The people believed material prosperity to be their first priority. Wealth and power must come first, then spiritual prosperity could follow. This was change from the Outside-in. In contrast the Messiah demanded that spiritual prosperity be the first priority. Spiritual prosperity (being rich in Adonai) must come first, then wealth and power could follow. This was change from the Inside-out. As the people began to understand the Messiah they realized that He was not going to bring them the political power and material prosperity they wanted. The Messiah was focusing the center of His attention on spiritual change and this was not something that the people understood or desired.
The love of Adonai was not in the hearts of the people:
The Messiah knew His audience. He was aware that His fellow Jews did not want the spiritual life of Adonai in their hearts. The people of Israel wanted the wealth and power of Rome. This was especially true of the priests and Prushim businessmen. Money and power was in their hearts. The religious leaders of the Yehudim wanted what the Gentiles wanted, freedom to be a ruler over others and not to be the ones who were ruled over by others (i.e. Rome). The lips of the people were close to Adonai but their ‘hearts‘ were far from Him. The hearts of the leaders and the people were filled with a passionate desire for material wealth, power, and prosperity. The love of Adonai was not in their hearts. The love of the world was in their hearts. Therefore, the Messiah let the Prushim rabbinate and the people continue in their spiritual ignorance. The restoration of Israel would have to be delayed until a new generation of Yehudim would arise who would be rich in Adonai; who would possess the love of Adonai in their hearts. So the Messiah gave the people up to their own ignorance, vain philosophies and empty deceits.
The Bread that we eat is every word that Adonai has spoken to us through the Messiah
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
Here is the simple truth, spoken in plain and simple words, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” Every word that proceeds from the mouth of Adonai is the bread that Messiah is offering. Messiah is the living, personified D’var HaShem. To ingest His words in one’s inner being is what the Messiah was metaphorically referencing when He said, “Eat My flesh.” The flesh of Messiah is the Word of Adonai. He is the Living Word come down from heaven.
The Cup of Redemption we drink is our daily witness to the sacrificed life of Messiah:
The gracious works of the Spirit of the Holy One is the cup of wine that we drink (the cup of our redemption). The spiritual work of redemption and the New Wine of the transforming-perfecting Indwelling Presence of the Kodesh Ruach is what the Messiah in the Hebrew *idiom is metaphorically referring to when He said, “Drink My Blood.” [*An idiom is a term or phrase whose meaning cannot be deduced from the literal definitions and the arrangement of its parts, but refers instead to a figurative meaning that is known only through common use.] Notice the absolutely clear disclaimer, “the flesh profits nothing!” The Messiah no doubt was anticipating all of the pagan influences that would contaminate His teaching in the future. The flesh profits nothing is a clear messianic rejection of any pagan notion that the Messiah is talking about the primacy of His physical being. Messiah’s declaration that the flesh profits nothing is a complete rejection of the notion that there must be a (mystical) transformation of the bread and wine back into the actual mortal physical flesh and body of the Messiah.
The New Life of another kind…
“The words I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
The new life the Messiah came to impart to us is the eternal life of the Spirit. What the Messiah is disclosing to us is that the new substance of our being must be the spiritual life of Adonai. In the ‘life to come’ the eternal nonperishable-spiritual life of the Messiah will become our life. In this new life of another kind our body, soul and spirit will be loomed and weaved out of the indestructible, immortal, invincible and incorruptible life of the Spirit of Adonai. Our new bodies will not be made out of our present physical being that must inevitably decay and die. In this manner of thinking it is literally true to say that the new life the Messiah is endorsing has nothing whatsoever to do with flesh and blood. Therefore, the Messiah is only speaking of the new life of a different kind that is the Life of the Spirit as it applies now to our earthly bodies and later to our heavenly bodies (that are to be given to us in the age to come.” Ten days after after His Ascension into heaven, on the 50th since His resurrection from the dead, the Messiah gave Israel the gift of the Spirit of the Indwelling Presence of the Holy One. The Spirit of the Holy One (through a remnant of Israel) was thereafter poured out throughout the whole world. The Spirit gives us life. Without the Indwelling Presence of the Spirit we are all (Jew and Gentile) utterly unable to understand the Messiah in both His words and His works. What the people mislabeled as “hard” words were, in fact, words of spirit and life.
Special direct revelation from G-d is required for people to exercise faith in the Messiah:
“But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Yeshua knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.” The eternal life of the Spirit of Adonai that the Messiah gives must be received by faith. Confession that is heartfelt is valid. Confession that is insincere is not valid. At all times the Messiah knew which of His followers truly believed in Him and which ones did not believe in Him. This is another evidence of His supernatural knowledge. “And He was saying, ‘For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.’” The Messiah taught that supernatural support from the heavenly Father was needed for the people of Israel to come to real faith in Him. The heavenly Father is the One who by His invisible Spirit [His Hand] secretly (invisibly) guides us to full faith in the Messiah.