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The Hebraic Perspective and Gospel, part 11.

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

Being the First Command of our faith, the Shema for the Jew was and is their OUTLINE of working Covenant, that which THEY must do, on a daily basis. Their own end of Covenant, with God. My theological position is…that this does not change in New Covenant, rather…it is fulfilled. We can finally do Shema, IN SPIRIT as God intended all men to do, FROM THE START. The expression of this is again, Deut 30:

6 And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

But this brings up a very heady tension, or looming mystery. It has to do with Jesus’ YOKE, which he alluded to all believers serving under. And…the old promise for some, and warning and wall of unbelief for others in Text now comes to fore:

Mt 11:

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

So…as I remember this verse over the decades, and the years…I can also remember focusing upon the easy-to-hear parts. Easy yoke. Light burden. Rest for a troubled heart. All good, OKAYDOKAY.

To take Jesus’ EASY YOKE then is not so hard to do, righto? However…the verse is the conclusion to chapter eleven, and what sets it up in context is…the rest of the chapter.

What CONSTITUTES the “yoke of Jesus?” What SET UP his final saying, after the other things Jesus said?

Mt 11:

…1) The question by John the Baptist, was he the Messiah? AFTER it was likely HE was the one to see Jesus anointed at his baptism, the “Holy Spirit alighting on him like a dove?” What could have caused John the Baptist then to have a SUCCEEDING doubt? Same author, chapter 3:

14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: Now in chapter 11 it seems John is having second thoughts. Jesus is in turn explaining that John is the FIRST PROPHET to come in a long time, and actually…his ANOINTING EXCEEDED past prophets.

9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. NOW a terrible possibility starts to loom. IF John the Baptist is LEAST in the kingdom, where would a lowly BABE like one of us be? Here a TENSION begins to arise, and all theologies which speak of a “righteousness by automatic propitiation” begin to look…suspect.

I have said several times now that Paul, who really was the one who considered a tension between “Law” and Faith even to the extent that he could take away the law of flesh circumcision especially among Gentiles…did not consider his own destiny in the Kingdom to be a done deal. Philippians 3:

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Actually the word ATTAIN, or ketanteso in the Greek might dominantly mean ARRIVING AT, or COMING TO. Either way, to attain or to come to, Paul did not consider his salvation in the final sense a DONE DEAL.

And too, the young ruler who rejects following after Jesus after Jesus tells him to follow the Commands of Judaism, and he said that yeah, this one NO PROB. Then Jesus gives him the EASY YOKE? Not for ME that is not an EASY YOKE. Give up ALL and follow after someone? Even now, even today, putting oneself in the place of the rich young ruler who is mentioned in all 3 synoptics brings up this tension, of an EASY YOKE versus a HARD YOKE. Same author, chapter 16:

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Mt 19:

16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And…now the YOKE OF JESUS comes into new perspective, as well as the PARADOX of how EASY that Yoke is. HOW CAN the yoke of Jesus be EASY if these other things are accounted for?

Here too is the Lukewarm or Infantile Faith of a new believer highlighted. I remember feeling comforted by the Matthean account of the yoke in Mt 11:29-30 being easy and light. But NOW there seems to be a wrench in the works of THAT IDEA.

Continuing on as to the context of Mt 11:

12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

There is that wily word, harpazo, to seize by force, or grasp ahold of, forcefully. ANOTHER instance of how disrupting potentially following after Jesus might become. In Philippians 2 Paul uses the same word to express what Jesus did NOT do, seize upon his own status for his own advantage. Here instead Jesus is using harpazo to express taking on his yoke for the people who follow after him. Which even JOHN THE BAPTIST is failing at, apparently.

Yeah that would SUM IT. If I was a rich young ruler and had to GIVE UP my riches, God-given…to the poor and literally FOLLOW him. It would be a LITERAL VIOLENT measure of faith, undubitably. And…only SHEMA can express the dynamic here. Only the Love of YHWH in extreme can explain it.

So…how IS IT that the Yoke of Jesus IS EASY or LIGHT after all? THAT is the conundrum and the paradox. THAT is the stumping epitome of a hill hard to get over. And we come full circle back to the promise of Deut 30 once again.

6 And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Here is the Secret of Paul’s Law vs Faith dichotomy also. GOD IS DOING THIS. We are not ATTAINING this. What is the THIS here? The fulfillment in…DOING Shema itself. By SPIRIT we can do all things. This is the MISSING LINK to most denominations today. What could make the HARD so easy after all?

And…Peter’s own example comes to mind once again. IN MATTHEW, chapter 26:

33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

See how the burden of Jesus’ yoke was…TOO HARD for Peter at first? After the Upper Room however, all things for him came to fore, and he fulfills his destiny, as…the Cornerstone or ROCK of the Church. This is why I consider the NEGATION of SPIRIT to be one of the most heinous developments in our various denoms. How FAR advanced was Peter to us today in context? He had NO PROBLEM following Jesus LITERALLY when he saw the fishes in the net. And…we know Peter was married too! But and yet his love for his Lord was limited, and the Yoke of Christ too hard to fulfill. Only by God’s OWN ACTION upon Peter was his own life come into its own. And my own daily CONTENTION with Jesus’ yoke is also solved and concluded the same way. Only by Spirit can the saints overcome all things, and be obedient Slaves to Christ. What he said was easy and light.

For those who think my Gospel is legalistic, I am presenting Text to back myself. Please consider the Text. This will naturally come first, in presenting any reconciliation of Gospel overall. Did I say that the Shema changed all things for me? As the outline of our Covenant, what is the difference compared to the Old Testament?

That the subject, MAN has changed internally. The Outpouring of Spirit came first to the 3000 and then the 5000 and our religion was born. The key here: Shema hath NEVER been modified itself, or internally split into two Beings, or its own “echad” become complex or compound. Jesus instead was ADDED TO Shema as the Protocol or Way unto the Father, who is our Only True God. Thus it was the HARD Command of all Judaism, NOT EASY TO DO for any Jew. And too it is hard for us TOO, without the Grace of Spirit empowering, comforting, and leading us. THAT is the Missing Link, to our own faith.

And I think all of us instinctively KNOW this, to some degree or other. The Isa 40 verses exemplify:

28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

This is the supernatural dimension, that abnormal love…of…God.

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