Messiah in Yom HaBikkurim Chapter 42

Parable #23. The Master and His Servant:

  1. Today is Day #23
  2. The Twenty-third Mashal of Messiah
  3. Five Observations
  4. Interpretation of what is required for our faith to be increased

Today is Day #23:

1. Today is “Day #23” in the forty-nine day Countdown to Shavuot.

2. Today is twenty-three days which are three weeks and two days of the Omer.

 .היום שלושה ועשרים יום, שהם שלושה שבועות ושני ימים בעומר

Haiyom shloshah v’esrim yom, shehaym shloshah shavuot ushnay yamim ba’omer.

“You shall count for yourselves — from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving — seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days.” (Leviticus). “You shall count for yourselves seven weeks, from when the sickle is first put to the standing crop shall you begin counting seven weeks. Then you will observe the Festival of Shavu’ot for Adonai Eloheinu.” (Deuteronomy).

“Blessed are You, Adonai Eloheinu, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the counting of the Omer.”

ברוך אתה, אדוני אלוהינו, מלך העולם, אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וצוונו על ספירת העומר.פ

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sefirat ha’omer.

The Twenty-third Mashal of Messiah:

מִי בָכֶם אֲשֶׁר לוֹ עֶבֶד חֹרֵשׁ אוֹ רֹעֶה אֲשֶׁר יָבֹא מִן־הַשָׂדֶה וְאָמַר אֵלָיו מַהֵר גְּשָׁה־הֵנָּה וְהָסֵב׃ הֲלֹא יֹאמַר אֵלָיו הָכֵן לִי אֲרוּחַת הָעֶרֶב וַחֲגֹר מָתְנֶיךָ וְשָׁרֲתֵנִי עַד אִם־כִּלִּיתִי לֶאֱכֹל וְלִשְׁתּוֹת וְאָכַלְתָּ וְשָׁתִיתָ גַּם־אָתָּה׃ הֲגַם יוֹדֶה לָעֶבֶד עַל־אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה מִצְוָתוֹ אָמַרְתִּי לֹא׃

Which of you has a servant that plows or shepherds, when he comes from the field, would say to him, ‘Quickly, come over here and recline’? Would he not say to him, ‘Prepare my supper and put on your belt and serve me until I have finished eating and drinking. Then you may eat and drink as well’? Would he also thank the servant for performing his mitzvah? I say no!”

כֵּן גַּם־אַתֶּם אַחֲרֵי עֲשׂוֹתְכֶם אֶת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר צֻוֵּיתֶם אִמְרוּ אֲנַחְנוּ עֲבָדִים אֵין־מוֹעִיל בָּם כִּי רַק אֶת־הַמֻּטָּל עָלֵינוּ עָשִׂינוּ׃

Likewise, you also, after you have done all that you are commanded, say, ‘We are servants with no benefit because we have done what was imposed on us.'”

Five Observations:

Observation #1.  In the Twenty-second Mashal, The Sheep, Gate & Shepherd, we spoke about the Master’s responsibilities to serve the flock of Adonai. Today we now look to ourselves and our responsibility to serve our Master, Teacher, and Rabbi (אדוננו מורנו ורבינו-Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabeinu). This is a difficult task.

When we talk about the Master and His works we experience a sense of awe, wonder, and reverence for when we behold Him and His works we behold perfection. However, when we are made aware of our own capacity to do good works, in contrast to the Messiah, we are awakened to a sense of our own great inadequacy. Being so inadequate and yet being compelled to serve the Lord is a most difficult challenge to embrace. Therefore, we cry out to the Lord help us, “Increase (add to) our faith!” (“הוֹסֵף לָנוּ אֱמוּנָה“)

Observation #2.  We cry out to the Lord that He might add to our faith so that we might dutifully do whatever good works that He requires of us. The Twenty-third mashal gives us needed direction as to what is required of us before our faith may be increased.

Observation #3.  Before our faith can increase our attitude must change. Messiah instructs His talmidim (disciples) that when they consider acts of service they must do so with a sense of sincere humility because the very best that we (Adonai’s servants) can do is nothing more than our duty.

Observation #4.  The term “unworthy servants” does not mean the servants had acted irresponsibly for the Master goes on to indicate that the disciples are expected to say “we have done what we ought to have done.” Rather, the use of the phrase “we are unworthy servants” is our way of practicing a proper attitude when we pray to Adonai for our faith to be increased:

We are simply asking Him to enable us to do what our Master has a right to expect.

We can never make a claim on the Holy One or the Messiah because of some good work we have done since at best we will have only done what we are compelled to do and that is whatever pleases Him; for that is what the Holy One has a right to expect.

This means that we can never put Adonai or the Messiah in our debt.

Observation #5.  This teaching puts an end to any boasting on our part. If we wish to progress in our faith and service to Adonai then we may only boast of Him and ‘never’ of ourselves. Humility, loyalty, and gratitude are required to be present in our lives before we may expect our faith to be increased.

Interpretation of what is required for our faith to be increased:

Regarding this humble practice of referring to ourselves as unworthy servants, I recall that there was one event in the recorded annals of Messiah’s life where several Jewish elders implored the Master to assist (of all people) a Roman Centurion. This Gentile was likely a Triar II. This is the highest rank of any centurion, therefore, this soldier would have commanded a force of around six thousand personnel throughout Galilee. This Roman soldier was a man of great faith and great compassion. He is presented as a humane man, who is wealthy, powerful, devoted, and unusual to say:

A man possessed of great humility.

This man cared more about his slaves than a lot of people today care about their own immediate family. He had asked the Jewish elders to petition Rabbi Yeshua to save the life of his slave. He was the leading military man and representative of Rome in Messiah’s adopted city of Capernaum (כְּפַר נַחוּם-Kefar Nachum). So he no doubt was at all times aware of when the Master was in the city since He had become such a central figure in the religious life of the Galilean region and all Israel. We learn from the Jewish elders that this remarkable high ranking military professional was possessed of a love for the Jewish people and an exceedingly great respect, reverence, and devotion to Adonai. For this reason the elders personally approached the Messiah (the Rabbi of rabbis) and said:

He is worthy for You to grant this request to save the life of His slave; for he loves our nation (and our people), and it was he who built us our synagogue.”

In the Roman Centurion’s own personal appeal to Messiah he gives the reason why he did not, at the first, approach Him but had sent the elders in his place:

For this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I, too, am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, Go! and he goes; and to another, Come! and he comes; and to my slave, Do this! and he does it.”

This G-d fearing Gentile is demonstrating to all of us who are Yehudim (Jews) what Adonai is looking for when one is petitioning for increased faith:

Adonai is looking for recognition of Who He and the Messiah really are.

The Holy One is looking to see what is our real motivation for our requesting that He further empower us to do acts of service on His behalf. Therefore, when Messiah heard the Centurion’s explanation He literally “marveled” at him and turned to the multitude that was following Him and said:

“I (the Mashiach) say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith. And when those who had been sent returned to the household (of the Centurion), they found the slave in good health.”

The great faith of this converted high-ranking Gentile officer was born out of the demand for selflessness that is such an important part of a high ranking military professional’s training and advancement. No doubt this military leader knew all about what integrity, loyalty, and complete devotion to duty are all about. We have no doubt whatsoever that is what the Messiah saw and admired so much about the character of this remarkable man.

He understood chain of command and assigned responsibility. He was an unworthy servant of the Messiah.

According to the directives of the Mashiach it was the duty of the Master to do everything he could to save the life of his servant. For the Master taught:

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It  is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as Ben Ha’adam (the Son of Man) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

This is what is required of a great military leader and this is what is expected of the greatest of servants.

We will only be a great resource in the Hand of the Almighty (in the works of His Holy Spirit) when our only ambition and thought in life is to do our duty and only what is our duty. We are not to do one ounce more than we are asked or one ounce less. Our selfish pride and vanity causes us to do too much or not enough. Obedience is redeemed humanity’s love language to Abba Avinu. Therefore, it is only right for us to maintain an attitude that is humble, loyal, respectful, and grateful as we do whatever small or great assigned task the Master has given us!

NEXT, PARABLE #24, THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT…

Messiah in Yom HaBikkurim Chapter 43 >>