What did He just say? A "hint" at understanding Jesus

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, March 1, 2014 1 comments

Did you ever read a passage of the Bible and wonder what in the world was being said? I mean, have you read a passage where Jesus says something, and it doesn't seem to fit the reaction he gets from the crowd?

A few years ago, I learned from Ray VanderLaan that Rabbi's often taught by helping students discover the answer in God's Word instead of simply giving them the answer. If Jesus quotes scripture, or says, "go learn what this means..." He is probably using this method. When teaching this way a Rabbi would "hint" at the answer to someone's question, by referring to another passage of scripture. This style of teaching today is called "Remez" which means, "hint." Usually the passage the Rabbi quotes is just a connecting point. The verses before or the verses right after the one he quotes would contain a clear response to the person who asked the question.

Look at Matthew 9:9-13. When Jesus is asked why he selected Matthew (a tax collector) as a disciple, he says, "...go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Our initial reaction to the statement we see recorded in Matthew, may be rather calm. I mean, it sounds good. He is reaching out to hurt and broken people. How could the Pharisees object to that?

Jesus is quoting Hosea 6:6. Go and read the whole passage around that verse, and see if you can determine what Jesus was really saying to the Pharisees. They questioned him about hanging out with sinners and tax collectors. What does he say their legalistic pursuit of religious purity, really accomplished? And what is God going to do about it?

Is it any wonder why they sometimes wanted to kill Him?

We should take caution when our legalistic view of being a Christian, trumps our sensitivity to mercy and justice according to God's Holy Spirit. And we should know the Word of God so well that we can confidently walk in obedience to God without neglecting compassion.

Did reading this help you learn a new tool in understanding your Bible?
Does this help you see that there was often a broader conversation happening when Jesus or the disciples were quoting other passages?

I hope this helps you enjoy a new adventure in your Bible reading.


Andrew Snyder said...

Great post Nate. Hosea 6:6 and the surrounding passage has helped me to realize how God is not interested in our obedience to many small rules or religious practices. God is not concerned whether or not our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds, or that we can be righteous on our own. He is interested in our surrender and dependence on Him, so that He can make us into a new creation by the power of His Holy Spirit. As demonstrated time and again through the old and new testaments, God wants His people to turn away from following the world and depending on themselves, to following the Lord and depending completely on Him and on the blood of Jesus. That means a life without worrying about what will happen tomorrow, because we know that through all things, whether good or bad, that our Father in heaven is always with us. What an awesome transformation that dependence can bring to one's life!