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Elijah
 
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Was Jesus a rebel?

13 March 2014, 09:00

I hope you did not find the question blasphemous. Or maybe you don’t care. But I care, so that’s why I’m putting here for discussion.

Jesus the son of Joseph (or Yeshua ben Yosef, hereafter referred to as Yeshua) as we know lived in Israel in the 1st century. As mentioned before (no doubt I will do so again) He lived, like His parents, a Torah observant life and even after His baptism (mikvah) He spent most of His time in Jewish environments. Many people continue to wonder why there is so little information about Yeshua’s childhood life in the Bible. My theory is that while growing up, His life was not different from any other Jewish boy His age. So to understand Yeshua’s childhood better is to understand the life of a Jewish boy in the 1st century.

But to understand that requires patience to keep searching. It would not be dissimilar to try and understand what life in the Cape was around 1650. There are sources but one has to put the pieces together carefully to arrive at a balanced answer. You may wonder why I continually bring us back to the fact that Yeshua was Jewish. As you may have guessed I do it quite deliberately. We have to get the context right. Placing Yeshua in His proper context helps us to understand how He did things and why.

Often we are presented with what one could call a European or Gentile Jesus. Following that (manufactured) Jesus invariably leads to disillusionment as we have expectations of Him that He can never fulfil. I will give you one example: Paganism was something that the God of Israel constantly warned His people against through the prophets. Today in our modern time we embrace pagan practices as Christian and somehow expect Jesus to bless these. If we consider that paganism is the worship, yes the worship of fallen beings, then it is perhaps easier to understand. Yeshua cannot bless the worship of fallen beings. Neither does He have a desire to use paganism as a clever platform for His Kingdom. You may not like it, but if you read the Bible for yourself you will see a continuous theme: stay away from paganism.

But let’s talk about the issue of Him being a rebel. There is no doubt that He was perceived like that by the religious establishment of His day. The establishment refers to the authorities, those who made the rules, but did not necessarily play by them. They looked this Galilean with disdain despite the miracles He ‘worked’. They claimed to be students of Torah but missed the words of the prophet Isaiah (chapter 53) detailing how the Anointed One would suffer, how He would take the punishment that was due to us on Himself.

And so Yeshua’s teachings were considered controversial. Back then people understood that the rich was blessed and the poor cursed, but Yeshua challenged this. Even in our day, all too often blessing is measured in American dollars and South African Rands. And this was a humungous problem for the religious establishment. He constantly talked about how difficult it is for someone who has a lot of material possessions to trust and/or follow God. The prophet Isaiah (chapter 8:14) also wrote: ‘He will be a stone of stumbling or rock of offense.’ He was referring to the fact that Yeshua’s public utterances would upset the religious leaders. They claimed to be the scholars of Torah and that only they knew its proper interpretation, but Yeshua effectively exposed them. Some people think that being a follower of Messiah is about being unassertive. Read the Bible for yourself and see how often Yeshua took a stand for the truth despite the fact that it may have offended the majority. It is for precisely this reason that He was regarded a rebel. See it is regarded controversial to take a stand for the truth, even to this day. People would rather follow the traditions of men for hundreds of years.

Let me give you another example. It is a well documented fact that in around 363-364 AD the Council of Laodicea (Roman Catholic Church) met and made a ruling that going forward Sabbath will no longer be from (what we call) Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, but on Sunday. Now we spoke about Sabbath on several occasions. It’s not a legalistic requirement but in principle a day to rest from work and focus on the Lord, connect with loved ones and just good common sense. It is very unwise to work non-stop and not rest. But to claim that Sunday is the Sabbath is to disregard at least two things: (1) what every Jew knows (2) this meeting and ruling more than 300 years after Messiah was on earth. My point is, by stating the truth you may consider it controversial, but they are just neutral facts. So is it wrong then to meet on a Sunday? To me it is actually immaterial as any day is good to meet to worship the Lord. But to claim that Sunday is the Sabbath is incorrect for at least those two reasons.

So no, Yeshua was not a rebel. Yeshua was the perfect Lamb that would make atonement for all mankind, that is, both Jew and Gentile. The children of Israel rehearsed that year after year with the festivals of YHVH.

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