Yeshua was a “Master Teacher of the Torah” and his followers knew it. In Yeshua’s world, the word “Torah” was used in two ways -- specifically to refer to the “Instructions of Moses” (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) and generally to refer to all of the Jewish Scriptures (the Tanakh for Jews and the Old Testament for Christians today).
Yeshua was not only recognized as a teacher of the Torah by his followers, but by community leaders and others who were not members of his group.
And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Shabbat he entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Mark 1:21-22)
And Yeshua returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of him went out through all the surrounding region. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. (Luke 4:14-15)
And it happened on another Shabbat, also, that Yeshua entered the synagogue and taught. (Luke 6:6)
Synagogues functioned as a local community centers throughout the week, but on the Shabbat (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) they were centers of study where the Torah was read and taught. The person in charge of the synagogue was called a nasi (president) and he was the one that selected the people to read the Torah and the recognized scholar or rabbi that would teach it at the service.
The three references from the Synoptic Gospels reveal key points about Yeshua’s position in the Jewish communities he visited that most people miss.
1. Yeshua kept the Shabbat – “Remember the Shabbat day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). “Keep the Shabbat day holy” means “set apart Friday sundown to Saturday Sunday from the other six days of the week by doing no work” and “hearing the instructions of God” read and taught to the community.
2. Yeshua was very familiar with the scrolls at the synagogue (see Yeshua Read and Spoke Hebrew at the Synagogue).
3. Yeshua was a “recognized scholar/rabbi” by the presidents of synagogues throughout the region, otherwise he would not have been allowed to teach in their synagogues.
Understanding that Yeshua was a “Master Teacher of the Torah and Scholar” changes the way we way we must view his words. He was always “hinting at” passages in the Hebrew Scriptures when he taught. Yeshua was using a very popular method of teaching called remez or hinting. A teacher would make his point by alluding to passage from the Hebrew Scriptures.
1. The teacher “hinted” at a passage by mentioning a key word or phrase in the passage.
2. Having heard those verses read in the synagogue, the audience recognized the passage and knew the context in which it was found.
3. Often the point the teacher was making is found just before or after that passage.
4. The moment the audience connected the point to the passage, the light would come on in their minds and they saw something they hadn’t seen before.
Most American Christian readers today do not know the words of the “Old Testament” – Yeshua’s Scriptures – well enough to recognize the hints he used. Therefore, the “light” is not coming on and they are completely unaware of the most important points he taught – i.e., “only those that do acts of tezdaqah (righteousness) enter into eternal life.” Now that’s a big one to miss.
American churches teach all kinds of “salvation messages,” but I do not know of any church that teaches Yeshua’s salvation message. If you haven’t read Yeshua and the Afterlife check it out. Do you know of any church that teaches it ““only those that do acts of tezdaqah (righteousness) enter into eternal life.”? Send me an email if you do – email@example.com.
An important service we provide as you follow this series on the Real Yeshua is making sure you are aware of the verses and passages that Yeshua “hinted at” in his teachings. You are going to be amazed at the “lights” that are going to explode like a fireworks display in your mind as you connect Yeshua’s points to those passages. You will discover a message that is just as relevant to American lives today as it was for Jewish lives almost 2,000 years ago. BHC
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