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MustardSeed_v1.3

MustardSeed_v1.3

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Mustard Seed Newsletter (Back Issues 2008)Christianity, Religion, Jesus Christ, Christian Living, God, Filipino, News, Gospel, Bible, Free Subscription
Mustard Seed Newsletter (Back Issues 2008)Christianity, Religion, Jesus Christ, Christian Living, God, Filipino, News, Gospel, Bible, Free Subscription

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 1
 
ustard
 
 eed 
 
Vol.1 No. 3 March 2008
 
What was Jesus’ 
"GOOD NEWS"? 
By
Brian Knowles:
n the first century of our era, Jesus the Messiah
Yeshua ha Mashiach
– came, not merely to posture, but to perform certain dutiesfor which he had been anointed by God the Father. In carrying out his divinecommission, Yeshua blessed some and disappointed others.Among those who were at first disappointed, later encouraged, was John theBaptist. John, like most Jews of his day, was looking for the Messiah to come asa conquering King who would deliver Israel from the oppressive boot of theoccupying Romans. Jesus made no attempt to accomplish this prophesied task.Instead, he came with good news for the poor, the sick and the demonized. Thenature of Jesus’ good news is revealed in an incident fully recorded only byLuke.
Next page...
What Is the
TRUEGOSPEL?
What is the true Gospel thatJesus preached? Did Paulpreach a different gospel to thegentiles? Here, at last, is madeplain the truth about theKingdom of God.
WHY SHOULD there be suchperplexity
- such
confusion 
- in everyphase of life today?It should be the function of religion topoint the way. Yet here, too, we findonly confusion of tongues - hundreds ofreligious denominations and sects, in aBabylon of disagreement.Even in the professing Christianreligion of the Western world, we finddifferent sects and denominationspreaching a variety of differentGOSPELS!Some designate their gospel as "TheGospel of Jesus Christ."WHY HAVE THEY LOST THE ONLYTRUE GOSPEL THAT GOD SENT BYJESUS CHRIST? WHY?
How many Gospels are there?
Does it make any difference whichgospel we believe?(Continued on page 5)
 
 2
 
From Page 1: What Was ‘Good News’…Jesus in the synagogue 
Following his 40-day period of testing at the hands of the devil in the wilderness, Jesusreturned to the Galilee "in the power of the Spirit" (Luke4:14). He taught in the local synagogues each
Shabbat,
andperformed many miracles. As Luke’s account tells us,"Everyone praised him" (Luke 4:15). Later we’ll see why.
 
Following this successful tour, Jesus returned to hishometown, Nazareth, where he apparently wished to visithis family. As was his custom, Jesus participated in theweekly synagogue services (Luke 4:16). There, he wasinvited to read from the synagogue’s precious Isaiah scroll(v. 17a).Jesus rolled open the
megillah
(scroll) to a particularpassage and began reading. The words he read were, in theminds of his listeners, the very words they one day expectedto hear from the Davidic Messiah:
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor."
Jesus, in quoting these verses the way he did, was sayingtwo things: 1) That he was the promised Messiah and 2)That he had come at that time to destroy the work of thedevil in people’s lives, to heal the sick, give back to theblind their eyesight, make the lame walk, and so bring goodnews to the "broken" people of his day and time. To manyof the leaders of Judaism, Jesus’ message did not appear tobe good news. It didn’t, sadly, relate to their interests. Butto those who were healed or delivered, it was the best newsthey could hear. In Jesus, they experienced redemption,deliverance and freedom from all of their ills andoppressions. Jesus was, in this very Jewish sense, theirSavior. He performed in their lives a powerful redemptivework. They experienced the benefits of his Messiahship inconcrete, personal ways.This is why the common people praised him wherever hewent (Luke 4:15).
Where is the King?
To other Jews, Jesus failed to fulfillthe messianic promise. They anticipated a conquering King– one who would reestablish the prosperity of Israel as asovereign nation ruled by God. Indeed this was theprophesied role of God’s Anointed One (
 Mashiach
). WhenJesus did not fulfill it, many Jews of his day – especially theleaders who had to deal with the Romans – weredisappointed. The fact that Jesus did not accomplish thismessianic task is still, to this day, one of the major reasonsJews reject Jesus as Messiah. Note for example thisstatement from Trude Weiss-Rosmarin:
"Judaism…maintains that Jesus was not the Messiah for hedid not fulfill the Messianic hopes…not one of the Messianic promises was fulfilled through Jesus. He neither established universal peace and social justice for allmankind nor did he redeem Israel and raise the Lord’smountain as the top of the mountains. As far as the Jews areconcerned, their own exile and homelessness and thecontinuation of war, poverty and injustice are conclusive proof of the fact that Messiah has not yet arrived, for hiscoming, according to the prophetic promises, will usher inthe redemption of Israel from exile and the redemption of all the world from the evils of war, poverty and injustice."
 Ms. Weiss-Rosmarin penned those words in 1943, duringthe Holocaust and before Israel was reconstituted in itshistoric homeland in 1948. If Messiah had been present onthe earth, the Holocaust would never have happened. YetMs. Weiss-Rosmarin was wrong in saying that Jesusfulfilled "not one of the Messianic promises…" In reality,he fulfilled dozens of them, perhaps hundreds. The apostlePaul, himself an observant Jew and a Pharisee, took greatpains to explain to his fellow Jews in Thessalonica howJesus had in his suffering fulfilled specific messianic texts(Acts 17:2-3). Earlier, in Antioch, he had spoken in asynagogue. Just as Jesus had come with good news, so Paulsaid to his Jewish audience,
"We tell you good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay,is stated in these words, ‘I will give you the holy and sureblessings promised to David.’ So it is stated elsewhere:‘You will not let your Holy One see decay…’"
(Acts 13:32-35). Yet Jesus did not then fulfill the one role the leaders of the Jews had hoped he would fulfill, thus theirdisappointment and rejection of Jesus as Messiah.No one could have dreamed that the Messianic commissionwould be fulfilled in two stages, separated by millennia of time. Let us now return to our text.
The impact of Jesus’ reading
When he had finishedreading from Isaiah, Jesus carefully rolled up the scroll andhanded it back to the
chazan
(Luke 4:20). As Luke’saccount says,
"The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him"
(v. 20b). They were waiting to hear hiscommentary on the verses he’d just read.
 
He made only one simple statement,
"Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing"
(v. 21). The effect waselectrifying. These people knew their Scriptures. They fullyunderstood the implications of what Jesus was saying.Clearly, he was saying that he was the Messiah. Theevidence he offered was that he was fulfilling the messianicpromises to heal, to deliver, and to set the captives of 
haSatan
free.3On another occasion, when John the Baptist was in prison,he sent some of his
talmidim
(disciples or rabbinic students)to inquire of the Lord,
"Are you the one who was to come,or should we look for another?"
(Luke 7:20). On the basisof the kind of ministry Jesus was conducting, John himself may have wondered if Jesus was truly the Messiah. Whatproof did Jesus offer John of his Messiahship?
"Go back,"
he told John’s disciples,
"and report to John what you haveseen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk,those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me"
(Luke 7:22).If you were blind, deaf, or dead, the fact that Jesus
"cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind"
was incredibly goodnews! But to those who were expecting the Messiah tocome as a conquering king, he was a great disappointment;thus the blessing upon those who were not offended by himto the point of falling out of faith.
Judgment comes later
On yet another occasion, Jesus hadexplained that at that time he had not come to judge theworld,
"As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judgethe world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one whorejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent mecommanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say"
(John 12:47-50).The final judgment of the world is reserved for the end time.It did not occur in the first century of our era. God, in hismercy, has created an interim period during which the worldis being given an opportunity to hear the good news aboutJesus the Messiah, to respond to it with repentance, and toexperience in the present the
"powers of the world to come"
(Hebrews 6:5) – that is, healing, deliverance andempowerment from God (Acts 1:8).God is not a respecter of persons. When he comes to judgethe world, all of us will be judged by the same moralstandard, whether Jew or gentile (circumcised, Noachide orpagan). The judgment of the world will be carried outduring after the Messiah returns to fulfill the second half of his commission:
"…and the day of vengeance of our God"
(Isaiah 61:2b).
"Gracious words"?
In Luke4:22, the NIV translationreads,
"All spoke well of himand were amazed at thegracious words that came from his lips. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’ they asked."
According to Dr. RobertLindsey, a noted synoptic scholar, this verse, as translated,misses the meaning of the people’s reaction to Jesus’preaching. The actual thought here is something like "Weall know Joseph and he is a good man. How can his son getso big-headed as to think he is the Messiah himself? Maybehe has performed some miracles not far from us, but doesthat make him the Messiah?"For Dr. Lindsey, the key to understanding this section isfound in the Greek "words of grace" translated in ourEnglish versions as "gracious words" in verse 22 (NIV &NKJV). If we translate these words back to Hebrew,according to Lindsey, we have
divrei chesed.
WroteLindsey; "This expression could easily be understood by aGreek writer translating to Greek as ‘words of grace.’ Butthe word ‘chesed’ in Hebrew can also mean ‘a wickedthing’ or a ‘disgrace.’ In Leviticus 20:17 we read, forinstance,"If a man takes his sister…and they remove their clothesand see each other naked, it is a wicked thing (
chesed hu
)."Lindsey also cites Proverbs 14:34 where the text says, "sinis a reproach
(chesed)
to any people."In Luke 4:22, therefore, the words translated "graciouswords" could also be translated "words of disgrace" or"words of apostasy."In the NIV, the first words in verse 22 are translated "Allspoke well of him…" Dr. Lindsey believed that thisrendering also misses the intended meaning. The Greek word translated "spoke well" is
martureo.
In Greek thisnormally has the meaning of "testifying in favor" of someone. But when you translated it back into Hebrew, itmeans exactly the opposite – to testify
against.
An exampleis found in I Kings 21:10:
"to bear witness against him…"
 Dr. Lindsey therefore believed that the meaning of Luke4:22 could actually be
"And all of them spoke critically of 

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