Hallowed in Secret, Manifested in Public (1 of 4) (Shane Willard)
To develop the Disposition of Messiah, Hallow it in Secret; because what you hallow in secret, you will manifest in public.
What it means to be Born Again (2 of 4) (Shane Willard)
View salvation in a whole new light, as Shane unlocks Hebraic understanding, and what Jesus was trying to communicate to others, on what it truly means to be born again.
The Authority of a Rabbi (3 of 4) (Shane Willard)
Examine the basic concepts of rabbinical authority, our role in coming under the authority of Jesus; and how this authority affected the disciples and Jesus' life.
Healing in the Tassels (4 of 4) (Shane Willard)
Num 15:37 - Throughout the generations to come, you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at, so you will remember all of the commands of the Lord your God; that you may obey them, and not prostitute yourself by going after the lust of your own hearts and eyes.
Audio» Paperback» Share» Website»
To develop the Disposition of Messiah, Hallow it in Secret; because what you hallow in secret, you will manifest in public.
Pastor Mike has a worldwide reputation for being a man of love, and a man of restoration - he is a restorer. To me, that's all I need to know.
Paul said: “let him who is spiritual, restore gently those who have fallen”.
People that have issues - which is most of us, the other ones have denial issues! We need a father figure to be around, to restore us when we get our head all messed up, and you've got a great man over this place. It's an honour for me to be here with you.
I want to talk about your life with God; and I want to share my own story, to allow some insight.
Matthew 6. Jesus is talking, and Jesus' is a First Century Jewish Rabbi, so He's coming from that perspective. There are all kinds of innuendos, different things that they would have seen and thought of immediately.
One of the common things, if you were a rabbi's disciple - you would ask him things like: what is the summation of the Torah? The Torah was so big and broad and wide, you couldn't get your head around all of it; but they wanted to please God, so they would ask the rabbi: can you just sum it all up in one or two sentences?
They would ask Jesus things like this; and Jesus would say things like: “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; love your neighbour as yourself.”
They would ask Him things about money; about marriage and kids; how to walk with God. On one occasion, Jesus was teaching people how to walk with God, and about Prayer, and He said this:
Matthew 6:5 - “When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners, to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full; but when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret..”
That's the key I want to talk about tonight is: what is done in secret
”... your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you”.
When you pray, do not keep on babbling like the Pentecostals do! For they think they'll be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them - for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
I'll walk with God - for me that cut out 90% of my praying, at the time, because my praying was just ‘making requests’. I needed a paradigm shift, and there's so much in this.
He says: “This then is how you should pray - Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name”.
There are all kinds of Hebraic innuendos here; Hebraic concepts of ‘Father’, which I don't have time to go into; and a Hebraic concept of ‘Heaven’, which you have to translate as plural - ‘Heavens’.
The most common translation of that word would be: ‘air that we breathe’. Our western world has a concept (from translations) that: God's way up there; and we're way down here.
Surely Jesus wasn't saying: when you pray, say “my Father - who is in a place I have no idea where it is - hallowed be your name” - because where's heaven?
The idea of Father was a ‘supplier’, or ‘generator’ of something.
So He was saying: “My supply, which is as close to me as the air that I'm breathing - hallowed be that name”.
The word ‘hallowed’ is the word ‘Hagiastheto’, which means to ‘render’, ‘acknowledge’, or ‘become aware of’.
John 17:6 - He's praying again, and He says “Father, I have manifested your name.”
I have become everything that you are, to a group of people - I've showed them everything You can be.
Whatever you hallow in secret, You'll manifest in public. Jesus hallowed the name of His Father in secret; so therefore, in public He also manifested it.
In the First Century, when a ministry was judged (particularly prophetic ministry), the first judgement concerned whether or not it was delivered in the Disposition of Messiah. Was it delivered in a: compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding-in-love way.
Exodus 34:6-7 – “The Lord, the compassionate, gracious, slow-to-anger, abounding-in-love-and-forgiveness God.”
Psalm 103 - “Bless the Lord, o my soul, and all that is within me. Bless His Holy name; and forget not his benefits; who heals all of your diseases, and forgives all of your sins.... He's the compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love God - who does not treat you as your iniquities deserve, but gives you mercy that's new every morning.”
Disposition of Messiah - the compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love God.
Do you minister in the disposition of Messiah?
You can minister well - and be outside that.
In those days, you could give a prophetic word that was spot on; but if it was delivered in an un-compassionate, un-gracious, not-abounding-in-love way, then it was considered false prophecy - because first of all, it has to be delivered in the Disposition of Messiah.
The way to develop the Disposition of Messiah is to Hallow it in Secret, because what you hallow in secret you will manifest in public.
I grew up old-school, with Pentecostal-holiness. Like my grandmother is 87 now; and she's never cut her hair in her whole life - so she wears it all up in a bun! She's never worn slacks; she's never worn make up or jewellery – never. She still to this day gets saved five times a day, because every time you sin - God leaves.
I was then discipled in an independent, fundamental, pre-millennial Baptist school - which left me very confused about God. Those two people only agree on two things: how to be saved; and: everything's a sin! Everything!
Every Sunday I got saved, because every time you sinned, God left. I couldn't make it through a week without sinning right? So in 1981, the Pentecostal holiness salvation numbers were up - because I got saved every week, so that’s 52 salvations - right here with me! The Pentecostal-holiness church – you’d have a church with 80 people, with 5,000 salvations on the book - because people got saved all the time, it was that kind of system.
In the Baptist school however, you couldn't lose your salvation - but God would just get mad! So if you sinned in the Pentecostal church - God left; but if you sinned in the Baptist church - God got mad. He let you into heaven - but you get to spend eternity with a mad God!
So this is what my life looked like: I would get saved every Sunday; then on Monday we'd have chapel in the Baptist school - and you couldn't get ‘resaved’, but you could ‘rededicate your life’ - so I would rededicate my life.
On Wednesday we'd have chapel again, and I would rededicate my rededicated self; then on Friday I would rededicate my rededicated, rededicated self. Then on Sunday I'd get saved again - and pray to God He didn't come back on Tuesday or Thursday because I wanted to make it! Like that was bondage man! It was bondage!
I was messing with my grandmother once; I think it was her 81st or 82nd birthday. I was messing with her, and I said: granny, let's go get you made up - get you a good hair cut, some make up, some nice pants - just get you all dolled up?
She said: oh no babe, I'd hate to send myself to hell - and maybe somebody else too. I said: I can see sending yourself to hell; but somebody else - how do you get that?
She said: I'd hate to give a man a lustful thought!
Like no fear there! You could show up in a bikini to a sex addicts conference - they'll be okay. Like come on - there hasn't been a lustful thought about you in years! Nothing's in the right place! Come on! It's bondage.
Its bondage; so I started hallowing all kinds of things in secret. Like the Bible says: “be still and know that He is God”. You know what I did? I would be still - and know that I am bad! In a way, there should be a sense of: “be merciful to me, a sinner, o God. I have no hope but You”.
In a way, that's healthy - but in another way, what I hallow in secret, I'll manifest in public. When I hallowed guilt - I acted guilty.
We always hallow things - has anybody besides me ever hallowed anger? Anger is not an emotion you can afford!
I have a master's degree in clinical psychology. I can tell you that when you get angry - the average person loses 25% of their IQ! It’s because the blood leaves your brain - it goes to the major muscle groups, to prepare for a fight.
The average IQ is 100 points; and dysfunctionally-retarded is 70; so when the average person gets angry... they are this close to being retarded!
Have you ever said anything that you've regretted when you were angry? Have you ever said anything smart when you're angry? No!
Some men get so mad they can't even complete a sentence, so they grunt. I know of men that have gotten so mad they put their fist into a wall that doesn't move. Brilliant!
If you're married, and two of you get mad - you've got two mentally retarded people trying to solve a problem! Diminished capacity at the best!
But we hallow anger... Has anybody (besides me) ever been in a conflict situation; and after you walked away - you thought of everything you could have said? We love imaginary conversations - because you never lose. If you're losing imaginary conversations - get your head checked - because it's your imagination!
We hallow anger; and we hallow ‘getting our way’. Has anybody (besides me) ever hallowed depression? Anybody (besides me) ever had a successful depression? It's brilliant!
Anybody (besides me) ever hallowed rejection? Somebody broke our heart, and we convince ourselves that everybody's going to break our heart from now on - and we hallow it and we build it around our life.
Anybody (besides me) ever hallowed insecurity - what if they don't like me? What we hallow in secret - we manifest in public. We create our own sort of atmosphere, which draws it to ourselves, and with God
I hallowed my own guilt. I hallowed this thought that God didn't like me very much. I had this thought in my bed at night, that God really didn't like me very much. He was mad at me. If I did 98 things right, but two things wrong - I'd go to bed thinking about the two things I did wrong.
It’s total sin-consciousness - I hallowed it; and I thought: maybe by hallowing it, I could make myself feel worse about it - which would maybe make God like me just a little bit more. But what I found is: the more I hallowed it in secret, the more I manifested it in public.
I realised that I was having a real problem relating with God. It wasn't God's problem, and it wasn't an intelligence issue, or a study problem, or a lack of discipline.
I made a deal with God I'd get up at five o'clock every morning and pray for an hour - as if God's more impressed with somebody who prays at 5am, versus somebody who prays at 9am; as if God is impressed with anything really. God is impressed with Jesus - that's about it.
So I made this deal with God. I would strive and strive and strive, and it was all because I was hallowing something in secret, so I was manifesting it in public.
I had to learn to change my imaginations around God. I had to learn to change my thoughts around God. I had to learn to start thinking about truth in a different way, because it wasn't working. My life wasn't working.
I was becoming a minister, and I had all the talent in the world - but I wasn't ministering in the Disposition of Messiah, because I was putting things on people that were really my issue.
I was putting my guilt on people when I preached. It's very dangerous when you have a talent because, with the gift and calling of God, without repentance - you can mess it up like nobody's business - and God's gift is still on your life.
You can really mess some folks up. I got myself into a situation where I could minister powerfully, yet walk away, and I knew that I had missed God, because there was something missing.
What it was missing was: the compassion, the grace, the slow-to-anger, the abounding-in-love God. I was ministering in the same way that the old school Pentecostals used to minister to me. I'd walk away feeling guilty and bad, and it was the only think I knew; I hallowed it in secret and manifested it in public.
One of the things that really helped me change my imagination around that was this: starting to see the Bible through the filter of a wedding. The idea that: God actually wants to marry me.
He calls us the ‘Bride of Christ’ and that's just a concept; but actually the whole Bible is like a wedding manual. It's a wedding proposal - God desperately, desperately wants to connect with me!
I'd never really had that thought. How many of you know if we make a theological bullet point out of something, it's far different than making a heartfelt belief.
Do you realise that Hebrew people ‘feel’ thoughts; Greek people ‘think’ thoughts?
We're all ‘Greek’, because we all come from Europe - and we have an ability to make bullet-point doctrines out of anything.
When I was in Bible College, I wrote my final paper on the attributes of God. I was sitting there writing a paper about the power of God; but all I could think of was: I was hungry - because it was just a bullet point to me.
If we're all ‘saved’, how many of us believe that we've been forgiven of all of our sins? Ok, so all of us believe that - but how many of us have felt guilty in the last two weeks? So we believe something - guilt about something in our past; and we believe that God's forgiven us. We believe it's been wiped off our record; but instead of feeling innocent, we still feel guilty. That's because Greek people think thoughts, Hebrew people feel thoughts.
When a Hebrew person read a scripture like: “you've been recreated in righteousness and true holiness”; they would stop and say: God, what would I feel like, if I could feel innocent in Your sight?
This started changing my imaginations with God. To this day (today, this morning) when I woke up, I didn't get out of bed until I asked God this question: God, what would I feel like today if I could feel innocent before You?
If I hallow innocence in secret, then I'll manifest innocence in public.
I asked God this question this morning laying there (I used the covers as a visual aid). I said: God, what would I feel like, if I could feel You covering me now? If I could feel Your presence wrapping around me - if I could feel that You were as close as the air that I'm breathing? What would I feel like, if I could feel it?
It changed my life, just by doing that every day, because I knew: if I could change my hallowings in secret I could change what I was manifesting in public. I needed to learn to feel that God really liked me. I knew God loved me, but I didn't know that God liked me.
There are 5 steps to a Hebrew wedding process. I'm going to say them in Hebrew; and show it to you in the Bible, and hopefully that’s a tool that will help us. If I'm sharing my story, and it's not helping anybody but me - fair enough, this is good therapy okay!
1) Lakah - the stage of the relationship where somebody declared: “I want to make you mine”. In the '70s I think they called it ‘going steady’. When I was a teenager we called it ‘going together’.
2) Segullah - the stage of the relationship where I actually declare: not only do I want to make you mine; but “you are my treasured possession”. You are the apple of my eye. You are the most important person in the world to me.
3) Mikveh - the part of the wedding process where they washed, they cleansed. To think of it spiritually, it's: getting all your stuff straight before you say "I do".
4) Ketubah - the wedding contract. Every Hebrew marriage had a marriage contract, called a ketubah.
Let's say you and I are getting married - and you're way out of my league, but that's okay, alright? What would happen is, if we’re getting married - I would declare Lakah. In Hebrew, I would just say ‘lakah’ - a declaration of: ‘I want to make you mine’. At some point later, I would say ‘Segullah’ - and in her mind, she'd be like: we're moving along here! The next step would be Mikveh - and that's when you know I'm real serious, when I say: okay, it's time to wash.
When they baptise people, they baptised them in a Mikveh. It was a public declaration. They baptised people any time they changed social status; so any time they went from ‘unclean’ to ‘clean’, they would baptise them in a Mikveh, to declare in open public they can be touched now without being contaminated.
The next step would be: my family, and her family, would get together and make a Ketubah - a marriage contract. We can put anything in this marriage contract that we want; so as long as we both agree - such that the boundaries and expectations of our marriage are set in place on paper, and it's signed by both of us - Ketubah.
There would be a bride price in there - your family would charge my family for me to marry you.
There would be a doctrine of ‘oil, bread and shelter’ in there, which basically says that I'd have to support her.
There would be things in there around sexual expectations - all kinds of things in there. Ketubah was the clearly-set-out marriage expectations.
When we both agreed on it, we would sign it; then we'd stand up and face each other. As the groom-to-be, I would say: “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am there you may be also”.
She would say back to me: “when will you return, to receive me unto yourself?”
I would say: “I do not know the day or the hour, but when my father approves the wedding chamber, he will send me back”.
It's all wedding language, so every Hebrew person listening to Jesus say that would go - He's talking about a wedding! This was wedding language - it happened every week, of every year, in First Century Hebrew culture.
5) The last one was called Chuppah - it's a Jewish marriage altar. It was a covering. They thought of it as a ‘covering of God's presence’.
The Ketubah would be signed; we would do the little: “I'll go to prepare a place for you” thing, I would go back and I would make a marriage chamber. When my father approved the marriage chamber, we would come back to get the bride; and we'd go to the place where the marriage chamber was, to have a wedding.
This wedding ceremony would happen, and after the wedding ceremony - we still weren't married! I would then take my wife to the entrance to the wedding chamber, and I would catch her up. Do you do that in New Zealand - carry your wife under/over the threshold? Yeah, it's a good thing for some; and a bad thing for others... you know!
I would carry her under the threshold; and the groomsmen would have taken a prayer shawl - which they thought of as ‘the covering of God's presence’ - and with four stakes, and they would make it over the bed. That's a Chuppah!
They would leave, and then I would ‘catch her up’ (that's where we get the word ‘rapture’ from). I would take her into the marriage thing, and we would consummate our relationship - with everybody waiting outside!
So everybody's waiting there like - and then we would come out, and now we're married! Now the wedding party could start! That was the basic process.
Exodus 6:6 – “Therefore say to the Israelites: I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with mighty acts of judgement. I will take you as my own people” – Lakah. “I will take you as my own people” - Lakah.
Exodus 19:5 – “If you obey me fully, and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations you will be my treasured possession” - Segullah.
To the Hebrew people, you didn't have to explain to them: this is a wedding. They're like: Lakah? Segullah?
For a girl to hear: “I want to make you my own” - it's kind of like aaawe! “I'm going to make you my treasured possession” - double aaawe! This is like romantic sort of language.
Exodus 19:10 – “And the Lord said to Moses: consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes”. “Wash” - Mikveh.
We've got: Lakah, Segullah, Mikveh – next comes the Ketubah. We're in Exodus 19, and in Exodus 20 - the Ten Commandments - which would be a Ketubah.
The Ten Commandments are not conditions for God to love you. They're proof that He already does. It's a marriage proposal. You don't propose to people you don't love already. This is proof that God already loves us, and wants us to have the best life.
He's proposing to a group of people that hardly have their stuff together. He later had to tell them: don't throw your children in fire - that's a bad plan. He had to later tell them: don't have sex with your mother - it's a bad idea! Read Leviticus, and you'll see the things that He had to make clear to them. You're like really - that was a problem?
These people did not have their stuff together - and God was proposing to them anyway - because God wanted to marry them, and then clean them up. God wanted to marry them, and then spend a lifetime journeying with them to make them clean and whole. So if we look at the Ten Commandments as a marriage proposal, it really helps us.
“You should have no other Gods before me” - that makes sense. If we're going to be married - I'm going to be it. I'm going to be the ‘one and only’.
“You're not going to carry graven images, or any likeness of anything under heaven or under earth.” You're going to marry me, I'm going to be the one and only - and you're not going to carry pictures of your old boyfriends.
“Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy”. If you're going to be married to me, I expect one day in seven to be just between you and me - which is good marriage advice. One day in seven is just between you and me.
And the marriage feast - there's this feast, the Seven Feasts; it says: “these are my appointed feasts”.
In Hebrew it says: “these are my rehearsal feasts”. Before you have a wedding, you have wedding rehearsal. The Bible ends with the “marriage supper of the lambs”! He's like: seven times a year, we're going to practice this: once a week; and seven times a year - we're going to get together, and it's just going to be Me and you. It's going to be our weekend together - which is really cool.
“Don't use my name in vain”. If you marry me, you've got a Power of Attorney to sign my name - but don't put my name on things that I wouldn't. So this ketubah comes down.
In Exodus 20, the Ten Commandments are given; so if we've got: Lakah; Segullah; Mikveh; and Ketubah - then next comes... Chuppah!
Exodus 20:18 - “When the people saw the thunder and lightning, heard the trumpet, and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear!”
They're seeing 3 things: Thunder; Lightning; and Billows of Smoke; and they're hearing 1 thing: Trumpets.
How do you see thunder? You can't! In Strong's Concordance, it's the word ‘Kole’ - which in every other instance in the Bible is translated: ‘voices’ or ‘languages’. So they look up and they see: ‘languages’; or they see ‘voices inside lightning’.
The word ‘lightning’ is the word ‘glorified fire’. It's the same word that is used with the burning bush.
So they look up and see ‘languages inside fire’. We see this again in Acts 2 - on the same day, just way later.
They see ‘languages inside fire’; and it says they saw ‘billows of smoke’ – spelt with the word ‘chuppah’.
They're standing at the base of the mountain, the Ketubah comes down; then God creates this giant marriage altar, and they look up and they see languages from the sky. Those languages are saying: “will you marry me”?
They stayed at a distance and said: “speak to us yourself Moses, and we will listen - but do not have God speak to us, or we will die”. After hearing the Ketubah - they didn't think they could live up to it. They said: no, no, no, we don't want this. We can't live up to this. We'll die! We can't do this!
The rabbis taught that at this point: “God proposed to the whole of creation through 70,000 tongues of fire”.
In the mid 1800s, there's this sociologist from England, who went to Rangoon, Burma. This is in the mid 1800s - like before electricity okay. When you're studying a social group of people the first question you ask normally is: “who is your God?” - because you've got to learn their belief system. They said we serve a God named ‘Yah’ who spoke to us from fire in the sky thousands of years ago. Like whoa! 70,000 tongues of fire - but they rejected the proposal of God.
They rejected it because they thought they weren't worthy; so God said: every year, on this day, you've got to remember this - and it was called the ‘Feast of Weeks’ or the ‘Feast of Pentecost’.
It's the only place in the whole Bible that they were commanded to bring an offering of bread made with yeast. Every other place in the bible, they had to eat unleavened bread; but on that day, they had to bring an offering of bread to God - made with leaven.
The priest would take the bread, break it, and lift it to God; saying something like: “Thank You God, that Your unleavened life is willing to become one with our leavened life. “
Then he would drop the bread, and cover and saturate it in oil - which is symbolic of the anointing. After he did that, he would say: “now the day of Pentecost has fully come”
So years later, they're standing in this (upper) room; and they're celebrating the Feast of Pentecost, like they did every year. Some would have been there just because they had to - just ‘going through the motions’. Some would have been truly lamenting: why did our ancestors reject the proposal of God?
Every year on this day, the guy running it would have “given thanks to God for His unleavened life being willing to become one with ours”. Then he covered it in oil, saying: now the day of Pentecost has fully come... but this time, something different happened!
This time they got a second chance! It says: they're standing in the room, and the whole room filled with a “billow of smoke” - Chuppah. They looked up and they saw “tongues inside fire”, “languages inside fire”.
This is the same day! It's the same thing that happened! The only difference is, this time they spoke back - which is the birth of the church, the bride of Christ.
The whole point of Pentecost was that:
1) God wants to marry you, leaven and all.
2) God trusts His Holy Spirit enough to saturate your leaven, and make you useable.
3) God trusts Himself enough that He knows: if He can put Himself in you - He can clean you up from the inside out.
This was a revelation that came, and it changed my imaginations about God: that God is in me - and He likes it. That there's no place I'd rather be than in God; and no place God would rather be than in me. He chose me before I chose Him. He chose me! He made the first move. He took all the risks.
In love, the one who takes all the risk is the one who ‘puts it out there’ first. When I was in junior high, I wanted to ask a girl named Lesley out - and I made the mistake: I told all my friends I was going to ask her out before school. Everybody was standing out in the school yard and I took that ‘long walk’ across there. I made two mistakes: I did it before school - and I told all my friends first.
So I'm walking across that whole big school yard – boom-boom, boom-boom - what if she says no? If she says ‘no’ - I'll be humiliated! They'll make fun of me the rest of the day. Luckily she said ‘yes’ - but the one who walks across the school yard is the one taking all the risk.
The Bible says that God demonstrated His love for me, in that He died for me, while I was still a sinner. In His life with you (and in your life with Him) - God took all the risk. That's how much He loves you. He loves you enough to take all the risk.
He's in you - and He likes it; and no matter what your leaven is, God is willing to work that out with you. He is faithful to complete anything He starts. God wants to marry you, leaven and all.
I bless you tonight, as leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ (God's biggest idea), to be reproductions of Jesus Christ in this whole community.
To be ministers of compassion, grace, slow to anger, abounding in love God - that we are to minister in the disposition of Messiah.
To be able to hallow that in secret - so you can manifest it in public.
To know - I mean KNOW deep down inside of you, DEEP down inside of you - that God Himself is in you - and He likes it. That God is comfortable in you. God likes you; that you are clean, clean, clean - washed with the oil of the Holy Spirit; washed with the blood of Jesus Christ. There's not one sin on your record. There's no guilt that you need to put on people. You can be a minister of Messiah, operating in His disposition.
The spiritual language you used earlier (praying in tongues) is actually God's ‘love language’ to you. It's your pillow-talk with God. You're actually letting it out of your spirit, the things that God whispers into your spirit, in the private times with Him. It's the language that God uses to tell you the secrets that He has for you, that you don't know yet - but He had destined for your glory before time began.
In the Old Testament, because they rejected God's marriage proposal, He spoke to them in ‘dreams & interpretations’. Now we have ‘tongues & interpretations’! We are able to speak what they only had the grace to see.
I want you to be still and know that He is God. Just take a second, and be still and know that He is God. Let your mind and your spirit, wrap around how big He is.
What would I feel like, if I could feel His compassion for people? (even just a tenth of it; 1% of it)
How would I feel Lord, if I could feel innocent in Your sight?
How would I feel Lord, if I could feel the truth - that I'm a vessel that You wanted to be with; wanted to marry; wanted to come into and live with, and have an intimate relationship with? I am a person that You desire to be with. I am Your treasured possession God - what would you feel like, if you could feel that?
If you could feel the truth now, that there's not one sin on your record; if you could feel the truth now that anything you struggle with - it's a process that God's working you through to make you whole. It's not that He doesn't love you; it's that He does.
What would you feel like if you could feel the bigness of God coming on your life? What would you feel like if you could feel just a smidgen of the calling He has for you; that He loves you so much He's whispering mysteries into your spirit?
What would you feel like, if you could feel the healing power of God coming out of you onto somebody else? How would you feel, if tomorrow somebody's coming through the doors of the church, and just by shaking your hand they can feel the love of God because you're that in tune with Him? Peter was so in tune with God that even his shadow raised somebody from the dead. What would that feel like?
I want you to be still and know that He is God. Let yourself become completely aware of His presence now - His presence is here.
Audio» Paperback» Share» Website»
View salvation in a whole new light, as Shane unlocks Hebraic understanding, and what Jesus was trying to communicate to others, on what it truly means to be born again.
1 John 4:7 – “Beloved, let us love one another - for love is of God; and everyone that loves, is born of God.”
People are fickle - they'll say “Hosanna, Hosanna” one minute, and the next minute they're nailing you to a cross! That's just people okay, but here's what I know:
If the church worldwide could ever get back to the point where it has a worldwide reputation for being loving - you couldn't stop it! We're made in the image of God - that's in love - and we're made in the image.
We naturally seek out the environments of those we're made in the image of. Before anybody gets too critical - we are getting better. Yeah, 500 or 600 years ago, we were chopping people's heads off, for disagreeing with us about statues and sanctuaries. We're getting better, historically! Now we just gossip at lunch...
But if we ever get back to the point we have a worldwide reputation for being loving, you couldn't stop us. It says: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone that loves is born of God.
1 John 5:1 – “Anyone who believes that: Jesus is the Christ, is born of God”
Christianity is not English. It's not New Zealand; Australian; American; Fijian - it's not any of those things. Christianity (in its base) has Hebraic culture in its thought; and this idea of being ‘born of God’ is found throughout the Bible; but in the New Testament, it's primarily stitched with the writings of John. In 1 Peter it says: “we're born again of an incorruptible, indestructible seed of the word of God” - but they're primarily stitched with this writer John - and I think it's because of an encounter with a man named Nicodemus.
It’s Sunday, so all across the world today, there's going to be pastors standing on stages, saying something like: “You need to be born again”. That's a great thing to say (and we ought to say that); but in Jesus' whole life - 3 and 1/2 years of ministry – He only said ‘born again’ one time. One time; to one man; at one moment at one time.
He said: no, no, no, you need to be born again! Everywhere else He said: repent and believe in Me. Who do you say that I am? Repent, believe in Me. But to one man, at one moment at one time, He said: no, no, no, no, no! You sir need to be born again. Why? What was so important about that man? What was going on there?
In a First Century Hebrew culture, there are only two types of people: firstborns; and second-borns. If we're going to be a First Century Hebrew culture this morning, we need to identify who our firstborns are. If you're the firstborn child of your family - I want you to raise your hand. I'm one. Everybody look around - those are the ‘church of firstborns’ okay. Just realise: these people are in trouble man!
The only other type of people is second-borns. If you're not a firstborn, you're a second born. If you're a 9th born - that means you're a second born. Everybody look around - these people are spoiled! Anybody not raise their hand? Okay - these people are deaf!
So we've got firstborns and we've got second-borns. Now in ancient Hebrew culture, firstborns always get justice okay. Firstborns get Justice! In Hebrew culture, second-borns get mercy. Firstborns get Justice; Second-borns get Mercy.
Has anybody ever read the Old Testament, and you saw this thing that the firstborns get called a ‘double-portion’? Anybody besides me ever prayed for it?
Nobody wanted a double portion - nobody did; because to get a double-portion meant you had to be a firstborn; and to be a firstborn - you had to get justice. The double portion was a compensation for all the responsibility that the firstborn had to do.
For example, the firstborn had to be the judge for the whole family. These were nomadic people - they moved around a lot. When a fire moved - they moved. When a cloud moved - they moved; and somewhere along the way, Aunt Sally stole Aunt Suzie's pot. Somebody had to be the judge for that! Would you want the responsibility of having to be the ‘judge’, to settle all your family's squabbles?
Because of that - they also had to be the judged - so they were responsible for the sin of their whole family. So if I'm the firstborn, and my little brother kills somebody, and he makes it to a city of refuge - they could still come get me! How would you like to be responsible for the sins of your siblings?
There's a principle in Hebrew culture that says: in order to be the judge, you also have to be the judged. You have to be willing to take the justice, in order to be the judge.
There this was Rabbi named Jesus, and He said: “Judge not, lest you be judged”. If you step into the place of a judge, you also have to take on the place of the judged - because only firstborns were allowed to judge.
That's why Jesus is the only judge of the universe - because He became the firstborn for all creation. Not only can He be the judge - He's also the judged - He took the justice.
They also had to be the “Kinsman Redeemer”. If I'm the firstborn, and my brother dies - I have to marry his wife! If they don't have a son - I have to produce children with her until a son comes; which means I would get to sleep with my sister-in-law! Obviously you haven't seen my sister-in-law. I'm just kidding.
Now think about this: if I had eight brothers and sisters okay - if I had 15 brothers and sisters - and by a series of unfortunate events, if they all die - then I have to marry all of their wives!
Do you see where the double portion doesn't go to me? It goes them all! It goes to supporting all these people that I'm now responsible for taking care of. Nobody wanted the double portion - because the double portion was a compensation for what the firstborn had to put up with.
Joseph had this vision from God; and in his vision these haystacks were bowing to him, and these stars were bowing to him. Now Joseph was an 11th-born (which makes him a second born), which means he gets mercy.
So he has this vision from God, haystacks and stars bowing to him - so he calls a family meeting. That’s the job of a firstborn, to call a family meeting - so Joseph's out of line already!
He says: I've had this vision from God, and in my vision: I'm standing and you're bowing. They wanted to kill him! No one likes a vision where: you're standing; and they're bowing. It's good leadership actually - a good leadership principle.
So they take him out, and they're going to kill him. They beat him up, and they threw him into a pit, and it says: “they ate, and drank, and made merry - and when they were done they were going to kill him”.
At the end of the day, they didn't kill him. Reuben talked them out of it - because he's the firstborn. He would have have been responsible for the sin!
That's why the firstborn out of every womb of every animal had to be sacrificed - in order to redeem all the others. In Egypt, when God heard the suffering of His people, in the last plague, He sends the death angel over - and if the death angel saw blood on the door, he passed over; but if he didn't, he went in and killed the firstborn. Firstborns get Justice; second-borns get Mercy.
The Bible says: when you were born, you were born in Adam - for Adam is the firstborn. In Adam you get justice, because you're born in Adam, and Adam is the firstborn.
But the Bible says in the Book of Colossians: when you get saved - you get moved from ‘in Adam’ to ‘in Christ’ - for Christ is the second Adam.
In the first Adam you get justice, but in the second Adam you get mercy - that's what it means to be ‘born-again’, or ‘born of God’.
I have been moved from a position of Justice, to a position of Mercy - that you now have a firstborn who's responsible for your sin.
In Matthew 1, it's the genealogy of Christ. All of them are second-borns, like Isaac, Jacob, David was a seventh born; so the ‘great second-born’ came from a long line of second-borns.
There were five women mentioned in Jesus' genealogy. In Hebrew culture, if they mention a woman in a genealogy, they're trying to tell you something - because they weren't allowed to do that. There are five women mentioned in Jesus' genealogy; one was Mary obviously, but the other four you have Rahab the... [Whore.]
Whore? Ease up! I heard: prostitute, harlot, WHORE! There's some raving mad Pentecostal over here - Rahab the WHORE! She was a whore!
So you have: Rahab the whore; and you've got Bathsheba - there's a woman of virtue! You have Ruth the Moabitis - who laid naked at Boaz's feet to get his attention (a woman of virtue).
Towards the beginning there it says: “and Judah begat Perez through Tamar”. Has anybody ever read this story? Has anybody besides me ever thought: I come from a dysfunctional family? Jesus' family was the most dysfunctional of all time I think!
This guy named Judah - Jesus said: “I am the Lion of the Tribe of... this guy”. Judah has three sons, and he goes and finds Tamar as the wife for his first son. Through a series of unfortunate events - his first son dies. Now the second born has to become the firstborn - he has to be the Kinsman Redeemer and marry her.
So he marries her and through a series of unfortunate events he dies; so Judah understandably goes: woman, what is the matter with you? Every son I give you dies. I'm not going to give you my third son. You're going to have to live like a widow - which was against the law, but that's the way he set it up. So she's living like a widow.
Fast forward some time; Judah is walking up the road to shear sheep. Now everything I'm fixing to tell you is a direct quote from the Bible, it's just the Bible sometimes is R-rated okay? So he's walking up the road to shear sheep, and he's with his servant - and Tamar is sitting on the side of the road, dressed up like a prostitute. And it says: he did not know it was Tamar, he simply thought it was a prostitute.
Now my guess is: this is not Judah's first go at prostitution okay. So he's got his man-servant with him. He sees the prostitute on the side of the road, and he walks over to her and he says: hey, can I come into you? That pick-up line does not work anymore.
She says: of course - if you pay me. He says: I don't have any money. She says: what do you have? He says: I have a goat. She says: I'll take a goat. Women's standards have changed! Now they want things like ‘commitment’, and ‘diamonds’ and stuff.
So he says: I don't have a goat with me - it's up the road, but let's do what we're going to do; and then I'll go up and get the goat, and bring it back to you - I promise. She says: do I look stupid to you?
She said: you have a ring, you have a staff and you have a cord - which is a whole other message. She said: give me your ring, your staff and your cord - and that'll be collateral. We'll ‘do what we're going to do’ - and I'll trust you to bring the goat back.
Judah must have been in a bad way!
There are two emotions you cannot afford - one is anger. I have a masters degree in clinical psychology, and I can tell you that the average person loses 25% of their IQ when they get angry - which for the average person would make you retarded!
When was the last time you ‘solved a problem’ or ‘said anything smart’ when you were angry? No. Men do things like: put their fist into walls that don't move! They get so mad - they can't complete sentences, so they groan.
If you're married, and both of you get mad, you've got two mentally-retarded people trying to solve a problem. It's always best to calm down and try to solve something.
The other emotion that causes you to lose 25 per cent of your IQ is sexual arousal. In anger, all the blood leaves your brain, and goes to your major muscle groups to prepare for a fight. In sexual arousal, all your blood leaves your brain and - yeah, okay. [So you actually become retarded in that state as well!
How many good decisions have been made in that state? Lots of promises have been made that couldn't be kept in that state okay - so we become retarded. Ever been angry and aroused at the same time - there's platypuses with greater IQs than that!
So Judah must have been retarded, because he gives his ring - which in Hebrew culture was his signature - it was his ‘Power of Attorney’!
He gives THAT to her, for one moment there; they do what they're going to do, and he goes up to get the goat as promised... He sends the goat back down with his servant - and guess who's not there? The prostitute!
So we've got a real problem don't we? We've got a prostitute running around Israel with his Power of Attorney. Can you imagine the feeling in his gut, that he would have lived with?
It gets worse... She gets pregnant by this encounter; and four months later you can't hide it anymore, so the people come to Judah, and they say: Judah, your daughter is pregnant by prostitution. What do you say we do to her? He says: burn her at the stake.
This is all in Genesis 37 & 38 - I'm not making any of this up. They bring her out to burn her at the stake; and like any good feminist, Tamar goes: excuse me, before we go burning anybody... I've got a ring, and whoever's ring this belongs to is the dad - and it was Judah's ring! So Judah lets her off the hook - because he'd have to burn himself.
It gets worse. She's not just pregnant with one baby, she's pregnant with two – twins!
What happens next is very weird. It says: the firstborn's name was Zerah and he was birthed with his arm first. Pop! And it says: the doctor tied a red cord around his arm. You've got to know who the firstborn is, because firstborns get... Justice; and second-borns get Mercy.
So this firstborns arm comes out, and the doctor marks his arm as the firstborn. The second-borns name was Perez - and his arm came out too (pop); and it says they wrestled. Is this weird?
Perez won the wrestling match, and pulled the firstborn's arm back in the womb. Then it says “he birthed himself” - the one with the legal right to mercy took the form of the first born.
Why would they put that in Jesus' genealogy? Isn't that what Jesus did? Jesus was perfect - the second Adam. He had the legal right to mercy; but He considered Himself of no reputation, and did not consider equality with God something to be seized; but took on the form of Adam. The one with the legal right to mercy, took the form of justice - in order to become the firstborn for all creation!
“Any of us who are in Him...” - Hebrews 3 says that: “God placed Him as the Son over His house”. The ‘Son over our House’ is the firstborn! God placed Him as the “Son over His house” - whose house we are in, as long as we continue to believe in Him.
If Jesus is your firstborn - that means you're the second born - which means He takes the Justice; and you get the Mercy.
It also answers the question of: can we continue to sin, and grace will cover it?
Jesus said: “every sin a man commits will be forgiven him”.
Paul said: “wherever sin abounds, grace abounds more”.
In Hebrews it says: if you continue to sin, after you've come into a knowledge of Him - it's like you crucify Him over and over and over again.
Somebody still has to pay for your sin. You do get the mercy - but somebody's taking the justice; and if you love your firstborn, you don't want to do that to Him - because He gets the justice, you get the mercy.
What's true of the firstborn is true of the whole family. What's true of Jesus is now true of you. It's actually fused to you - He actually put Himself in you; because you get the mercy and He gets the justice.
If He's anointed - you're anointed. If He's righteous - you're righteous. That's why the Bible says: “you've been recreated in righteousness and true holiness”. That's
1 Corinthians 6:17 – “Christ has fused Himself to your spirit”.
2 Corinthians 5:17-18 - “If any man be in Christ - he is a new creature. The old is gone and the new is come”. For we have been given this ministry of reconciliation - that God is reconciling the world to Himself, through Christ, by choosing not to count men's sins against them.
Are you born again?
Nicademus was a Pharisee - and all Pharisees were firstborns. That's why He said to Nicademus – “you've got to be born again”. You can't be a firstborn and make it into heaven. You can't be responsible for your own sins. Somebody has to be responsible for you.
Remember how excited Nicademus was? He's like: ooh! Just tell me! How can I get back up in my mum's womb, and be born again? Now that's an excited person! Quite over-zealous!
Jesus said: no, no, no - you can be born of water; and of spirit - and that counts as a second birth.
The message of Jesus is that: you're in a position of mercy, not of justice. He's offering to take you out of a position of justice and into a position of mercy.
The Bible says that when you get born again - there's a covenant between you and God.
In Hebrew culture, to make a covenant, we would: declare before you this day our intention to make a covenant. You need to have witnesses to make a covenant.
First we would trade coats. In New Zealand culture - this is to keep you warm okay. In Hebrew culture - this represents everything you are.
Remember when Elijah chose Elisha - he came behind him, and he threw his coat on him? In Hebrew culture, to give somebody your mantle meant: I give you everything I am; and you give me everything you are - in front of witnesses.
Everything I am I would put on him; and everything he is he would put on me.
So when you get born again - you give everything you are to Christ, everything - all of your unrighteousness; every place you've never measured up; every place you feel insecure; every depression, every rejection, every abandonment.
You give that to Christ; and you also give to Christ all of your righteousness, which is His ‘filthy rags’. In heaven, there are two lists on the audit form: sin; and filthy rags. We give Him all of our unrighteousness, and we also give Him all of our righteousness.
You know when a child does something he was proud of... Daddy look! Daddy look! If he'd have done something bad - you couldn't find him! We're all like that. When we think we do something right - when we keep our prayer life right - we do that. Something inside of us thinks Gods impressed; so we're like daddy look! Daddy look!
It's almost like God's like: don't you understand - I'm not impressed with that. I'm impressed with Jesus. You don't have to create your own righteousness - I'm simply giving you Mine. You don't have to create your own holiness - I'm giving you Mine. You don't have to create your own anointing - I'm giving you Mine. You don't have to live out of your own coat anymore - you can live out of My coat.
If you witness the coat exchange, then say “I do”. This happened all the time in Hebrew culture; and this was the imagery that God was using.
Next we would trade belts! In New Zealand culture, the belt is a fashion statement - and it's also meant to hold up the pants - and it's supposed to match your shoes!
In Hebrew culture - it was all of my weapons! So I just put all of my weapons at his disposal - in front of you all; and he just put all of his weapons at his disposal on me - in front of everybody. We're saying: anybody who comes against him now, is not just coming against him - it's coming against me and him -- even if I deserve it!
So if I kill one of her family - and she riles all those people up, and says: let's go get him - then he's still binded by covenant to stand with me see.
That's why Jesus said: “no weapon formed against you can prosper”. Any time the devil comes against you - any time anybody comes against you - it's not just you; it's you and him. It's all you've got; and all he has
If you witnessed the belt exchange, say “I do”.
Next we would stand before you, and we would quote all the blessings and curses from Deuteronomy 28! We would declare that if we break our covenant – “let all the curses come on us”; and if we keep our covenant – “let all the blessings come on us”
So if you come against -and he doesn't show up to help - our covenant is now ‘null and void’ - and he's heaped curses on his life.
A covenant wasn't a carte blanche thing, where you could act any way you wanted to act. A covenant had stipulations - and he had to live by the belt; he had to live by the coat!
If you witnessed the ‘blessings and curses’ thing say: I do.
Next we would kill an animal. I always forget the ‘killing the animal’ part, because it's strange to us - but to them it was like talking on a cell phone - it was that common.
We would take an animal, place it between us - and we'd cut it right down the middle; from the base of its skull, all the way down the middle. One half of the animal will fall on my side, and one half of the animal will fall on his side. In the middle would be a big pool of Blood.
Next we would walk in a ‘figure-of-eight’ around the blood. Eight is the number of new beginnings. It says: anything in my life, or his life, before now - is now gone. It's a brand new life, me and him.
“If any man be in Christ he's a new creature; all the old is gone, all the new is come” It's like Jesus has walked in a figure-eight around His own blood with you - and He's made everything new, everything new.
Next, I would take a knife - and cut his hand right down the middle; and he would take a knife - cut my hand right down the middle; then we would hold hands over the covenant animal - lock elbows; and our blood would mix and mingle with the blood of the animal.
I you witnessed all that say “I do”.
If he cuts me down the middle of my hand, and it heals, then a scar will be left. The sign of covenant is a scar in the palm of the hand!
The bible says that when you get saved - He writes His name on your Heart; but He writes your name on His Hand.
When the accuser comes to Jesus about you, he says: let me at Shane! No - his name's written on My hand. Yeah - but do You know what he did! Yes, I do - but his name is written on My hand. I'm in covenant with him - I have to stand with him. Y
But he put you on the cross! Still, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. The sin of all mankind is: we don't know what we're doing - we really don't know!
Anybody besides me ever fall in love in high school? Anybody got their heart broken in high school? I did - very sad; yeah. And I loved God in high school, I was a youth pastor; and these teenagers would come to me and say: “oh Shane, I love her”; or “oh Shane, I love him - and my heart's broken”.
Why would God do this to me? Oh why God? Then you go to your 20-year reunion, and you're like: Thank You God!
We don't know what we're doing. God's written our name on His hand, so when the accuser comes to Jesus about you - Jesus tells him to ‘talk to the hand’.
If you witnessed the hand-thing say “I do”.
Next we would trade surnames. So ‘Neil Clow’ would become ‘Neil Cloe-Willard’; and I would become Shane Willard-Cloe.
That gave me Power of Attorney on his name - so now I can write cheques on his bank account; and he can write cheques on mine. I can sell his house; he can sell mine. I could sell his children; he can sell mine. This was a major act of trust - complete Power of Attorney.
That's why Jesus said: “Anything you pray in My name...” You have the power to use Jesus' name - invoke His name.
The stipulation is: “Don't use His name in vain” - don't put His name on things that He wouldn't put His name on. Don't forge His name.
In covenant we've been given: his life; his coat; his belt; the sign in the palm of the hand; the new start with the figure eight; and we've been given his name.
If you witnessed that say: “I do”.
The last thing kind of offends ‘western masculinity’ a bit! The Bible says: “Greet each other with a holy... hug? Men in western culture - we are very serious about our masculinity - we beat each other when we hug; and it's always three pats. There's this whole subliminal thing going on: I'm not gay. Me either. I'm glad. Whoo-hoo! We men are strange creatures.
Actually, they would feed each other bread. I would take bread from my house; and he would take bread from his house. At weddings here - do you guys feed each other wedding cake? That's something we do in America - it's kind of similar to that.
I would take a piece of bread from my house; he would take a piece of bread from his house - and I would actually feed it to him - which is a bit feminine too...
This was the imagery: Now my life is not just on him; my weapons are not just around him; my name is not just with him; my mark is not just on him - but my life is actually now in him.
God had a problem. It says: the Old Testament was perfect. It was - God came up with it – and it was perfect. The Old Testament was perfect; but at the end of the day God - still found fault with man; and here's the problem with a covenant...
If he breaks his side of the deal - it's gone; if I break my side of the deal - it's gone. That's why they had to renew their covenant all the time. They had to bring an animal and re-sacrifice an animal all the time - because man couldn't keep their side of the deal - they couldn't do it!
God said: I'm going to solve that problem. I'm not going to make a covenant with man anymore. I'm going to send My Son - I'm going to put the spirit of My Son in them - and then I'm going to make a covenant with Myself!
Since He could swear by no greater - He swore by Himself. So now your covenant with God is as secure as the spirit within you - because He gets the Justice; and you get the Mercy.
Your job is to: continually respond; continually have faith; continually move into the life that's provided to you in Jesus Christ!
Audio» Paperback» Share» Website»
Examine the basic concepts of rabbinical authority, our role in coming under the authority of Jesus; and how this authority affected the disciples and Jesus' life.
One thing Paul said in his writings, he said: “its Jesus we preach”, and tonight I want to preach Jesus to you.
I focussed on the regeneration of the spirit last session; now I want to talk about your soul; and next session I'm going to talk about the healing of our bodies.
Matthew 4:18 – “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; and they were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen”.
It says: “...for they were fishermen”.
Jesus said: “Come, follow Me - and I will make you fishers of men”. At once - they left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, and they were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their needs.
Jesus called them, and immediately they left their boat, and their father, and followed Him.
Mark 2:13 – Once again, Jesus went out beside the lake, and a large crowd came to Him, and He began to teach them. As He walked along He saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus sitting at a tax collector's booth. “Follow Me”, Jesus told him; and Levi got up and followed Him.
You have this incredible phenomenon, which we can tend to read over; and because we know the end of the story, it's kind of easy to work out the beginning of the story.
But what if we didn't know the end of the story? We've just seen Jesus convince men - who have families, wives, children, land, homes, jobs, boats - He's convincing them, on the sales pitch of two words; to leave everything they know and do, and follow Him.
The first two, maybe they were just down on their luck, having a midlife crisis... but then He continues up to 12 for 12, convincing them to leave everything and follow Him.
It's one thing for a man to leave his wife; it's a whole different deal when he leaves his boat - that's serious! He's convincing these men to leave everything they know - they're leaving their jobs with no notice, no promise on how to make money, no claims of fame, or promises that 2000 years from now, there'll be huge buildings in Europe named after you. Just two words: “Follow Me.
James and John, son of Zebedee - they do the same thing. What was Zebedee thinking? His whole workforce just quit with no notice. Imagine Zebedee going home that night to his wife, trying to explain that the sons have left home to follow a guy.
This is what was going on. Every Hebrew boy longed to be a rabbi - it was the highest calling - the coolest thing, the best of the best.
It's kind of like in New Zealand, how many boys grow up wanting to play rugby? But how many actually get to play for the All Blacks one day?
Every boy wanted to be a rabbi, but at some point, 99% of them were told: I'm sorry - you just don't have what it takes to be in ministry. Only the best, of the best, of the best made it - and here's how they started to weed them out...
You had to memorise Leviticus by the age of six. Not every home had scripture; they read scripture communally - so you had to memorise Leviticus based on your father's memorisation of Leviticus, and him quoting it to you (which is a whole other message).
If you memorised Leviticus then you graduated; but when you were 6, you graduated to what was called the Beit Sefer, which is Hebrew for ‘the School of The Book’. Beit Sefer lasted from 6-12, and they memorised the whole Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy - word for word, the whole thing.
When they were 12 years old, they graduated from the Beit Sefer by having a Torah exam, with the teacher's of the law that day. They weren't graded on whether they knew the answers; but on whether or not they asked the right questions.
It says in Luke, that when Jesus was 12 years old, He was wowing the teachers of the law with His questions.
Hebrew scholars were not noted for their answers - they weren't noted for coming to a destination, or for a putting a theology into a system of bullet points.
They were noted for their ability to keep the discussion about God going longer. They were noted for their ability to ask the right questions - and you've got to be far smarter to ask the right question than to have the right answer.
Hebrew people lead with questions. I can tell everything I want to know about you, by the questions you ask, and the stories you tell, everything.
Questions reveal values; and questions reinforce values.
If you say to your child: all I want you to do is ‘do your best’, but then they come home, and the only question you ask is: what grade did you make - what do they assume is important? The grade!
So if they wowed the teachers of the law with their questions, they graduated into what was called the Beit Talmud, which means ‘the School of Disciples’. Talmud is the word for disciple; it's like discipleship school.
If you didn't wow the teachers of the law with your questions, you were told: I'm sorry - you're disqualified from ministry; now go back and earn a living at your family trade. I'm sorry, you just don't have what it takes to be a rabbi.
If they got too far behind in their memorisation of the Torah: I'm sorry, you just don't have what it takes. Go back and earn a living at your family trade. I'm sorry - you're disqualified. You're a good guy, but you just don't have what it takes to be a rabbi.
But if the best, of the best, of the best, of the best - the ones that were wowing teachers of the law with their questions, they graduated to the Beit Talmud.
Now the Beit Talmud was 18 years long, from ages of 12- 30, in five stages. Has anybody ever wondered why Jesus disappeared from 12 to 30? Then He comes out, and everybody's calling Him rabbi? He was in the Beit Talmud.
You would go through stage one, and have an exam. If you passed your exam, you got to go to stage two; otherwise you were told: I'm sorry, you're disqualified from ministry. Now go back and earn a living at your family trade.
Stage five was called Shmekah (rabbinical authority). There were only two types of rabbi: rabbis with Shmekah; and rabbis without i.e. rabbis with authority, and rabbis without authority.
A rabbi's interpretation of Torah/scripture, or his way of life, was called his yoke.
Jesus said: “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me - for My yoke is easy and My burden is light”.
The key to understanding that is in the word 'My'. For Him to say ‘my yoke’, He had to have authority - because this was the difference.
You spent 18 years learning the yoke of a rabbi. 18 years in the Beit Talmud, spent sitting at a rabbi's feet, saying: teach me your yoke.
When you became a rabbi, you were in charge of taking that rabbi's yoke to the next generation. However, 99.9% of all rabbis did not have authority. They did not have Shmekah; only the select of select did.
Sometimes they could go two and three generations without any rabbis with Shmekah.
So what would happen is, for a rabbi without authority - they were still a rabbi, but they had to teach the yoke of their rabbi.
But a rabbi with Shmekah could make up his own yoke.
This is how they determined if a rabbi had authority or not. When you graduated from rabbi school, they would baptise you - because they baptised you anytime you changed social status. Specifically if you went from unclean to clean, they would baptise you, to declare you can be touched now, without contaminating people.
This is why we get baptised today - it’s a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ; but bigger than that, it is publically declaring: I was once unclean, and now I am clean.
If you went from non-rabbi, to rabbi, they would baptise you – and at the baptism, we've got to decide who has Shmekah, and who doesn't. Here's how they decided that:
You had to have two verbal witnesses at your baptism. Two people would speak out for you, at your baptism, which was basically ordination.
It says when Jesus was 30 years old, He went out to the desert to be baptised - so Jesus is graduating from rabbi school.
He goes into the water, and John says: “Behold, the lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world; whose sandals I am not worthy to untie! That was witness #1.
John baptises Him; and Jesus comes up out of the water, and He's a regular rabbi without authority - until a second voice speaks. The second voice came from heaven - and it says the whole of the crowd heard it.
So now, Jesus isn't just a rabbi - He's a rabbi with Shmekah.
He then spent the rest of His life wrecking everybody else's yoke!
This followed Him His whole life - “You do not teach as the other rabbis teach; but You teach as one with authority”.
It meant: we've never heard a yoke like this before. You must have authority to teach this yoke; otherwise you don't have any rights to teach this yoke. So where did you get your authority from?
His reply: from the same authority John the Baptist had - because John the Baptist was the one that witnessed Him.
So Jesus isn't just a rabbi - He's a rabbi with authority.
The first thing a rabbi would do is: he had to have disciples - because a rabbi without disciples was not a rabbi. So where would you get your disciples from? From the Beit Talmud - the school of disciples.
The rabbi would go back to the Beit Talmud, walk through the Beit Talmud, and he would look for the right student. The question wasn't whether or not the student knew the word, because remember: everybody in the Beit Talmud had memorised the Torah; and had wowed the teachers of the law with their questions.
It wasn't a matter of competency, or knowing the word. The rabbi would walk through the Beit Talmud with one question: do I believe that he can do even greater things than me?
If the rabbi believed that the student could do even greater things than him, he would ordain him as a disciple in his rabbi school with two words: Follow me. Follow me. Follow me. Follow me.
Every Hebrew boy longed to hear the words of a rabbi saying “follow me”, but most of them only heard: I'm sorry, you don't have what it takes. You're disqualified from ministry. Go back and earn a living at your family trade.
So Jesus has to get Himself some disciples. Now you would think that being a rabbi with authority, He would go get the best students from rabbi school - but He doesn't!
He goes to the banks of a lake, and He finds some fishermen, and He says: Simon, Andrew - follow me.
These guys have longed to hear the words of a rabbi saying “follow me” their whole life, but instead they heard: I'm sorry, you're disqualified from ministry.
The fact that they were fishermen meant that they had been disqualified.
The yoke of our Rabbi chooses men, that other people say are disqualified from ministry, to change the world.
That's the yoke of our Rabbi. That's why men were jumping out of boats. The yoke of our Rabbi is so cool!
Then He goes and He gets James and John; so He gets four fishermen - four people who'd been disqualified from ministry, four people who the religious leaders say: you don't have what it takes; and He says: follow Me, follow Me, follow Me.
I want to teach you My Yoke. I want you to carry My Yoke to the next generation.
The fifth disciple was Matthew, who was found at a tax collector's booth, by the lake. If you're sitting at a tax collector's booth, by the lake, then what are you taxing? Fish!
So Jesus says: Simon, Andrew, James and John - we're going to find out right now - are you willing to forgive, and face your issues, with the man who's been robbing food off your family's table for years?
The yoke of our Rabbi says that you face the people, who've hurt you, with honesty and sincerity - and you forgive them, and you move on. That's the yoke of our Rabbi.
When you decided to join a rabbi's tutelage, it wasn't just to know what he knew - you wanted to be what he was; take on his whole life. You wanted to treat people like he treated people. You wanted to have a philosophy of marriage, and children, and giving, and all this stuff. You wanted to be what he was.
They even wanted to walk like their rabbi; so the rabbi would teach them to walk like him. They'd line them up, and they'd tie a rope around their neck (one rope around), and the rabbi would hold the rope, and he'd walk in front of them. When they learned to walk behind the rabbi with a rope around their neck, they were said to be walking in what was called ‘Ahad’, which is translated ‘one accord’.
Then he would take the rope off of their neck; and they would learn to walk behind their rabbi without the rope. What rabbinical tradition says (and this is not in the Bible, but you will recognise it) is that as they were learning to walk behind their rabbi, if only one student got out of line, the rabbi would stop the whole line, to get the one back in.
“The kingdom of God is like a shepherd with 100 sheep, and one got away, and He left the 99 to get the one” - that's the yoke of our Rabbi.
He was teaching them a new yoke, a new way of life. We say we're ‘Disciples of Jesus Christ’, which means that we are ‘Carriers of His Yoke’.
In John 8, this lady gets caught in the act of adultery – like, in the act. It's kind of embarrassing.
Now the Torah says what do you do with such a person - Stone them. The Mishnah, which was like another book they honoured, said that: you could beat her up; you could strip her from the waist up, and bring her out in public to humiliate her - and then stone her.
So if they followed their culture, they would have beaten her up, they would have dragged her out, they would have stripped her from the waist up (which probably wasn't necessary because they caught in the act) - and they drag her to the feet of Jesus.
They throw her at His feet, and they say: Moses says to stone her. What do You say? Essentially, what does your Yoke say about this?
Jesus is in a conundrum isn't He? Does Jesus want to stone her? No, but does Jesus have to follow the law? Yes.
So He says: okay - My Yoke says ‘stone her’. The Torah says to stone her, so my yoke says stone her - but My Yoke also says that you can't throw stones unless you're perfect. Brilliant!
They're all holding their stones, and they don't know what to do, so they drop them. They brought her to Jesus, because they needed someone with... Authority. So they all drop their stones, and they leave one at a time.
Very important - it says: Jesus doesn't speak until they all left. After they've all left, there's this lady - topless, beaten up, ashamed, laying probably in the foetal position, covering her head waiting on the stones to come.
Jesus gets her attention, and He says: lady, where are your accusers? She looks around and she says: they've all left. Jesus said: then neither do I condemn you. Why? Because the Torah said: stone her; but the Torah also says that you have to have two witnesses to condemn somebody.
Jesus couldn't make her sin go away, so He simply made the witnesses go away - which automatically declared a mistrial.
That's the yoke of our Rabbi, which is why there's therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.
It's not that you don't sin; it's just that according to the yoke of our Rabbi, there will never be enough witnesses to condemn you.
Then I had to ask myself this question: could my yoke say what His yoke said? And it couldn't! He looked at a lady who was caught in the act of adultery, and He was able, with compassion, to say: I don't condemn you.
My yoke (the yoke of my denomination) said: ostracise her, cut them off - that's it! That was the yoke of my denomination, but it was not the yoke of my Rabbi - and I had to repent. Could your yoke say that? What would your yoke say?
There's this one place, where this guy was hanging on a cross, and Jesus was having a really bad day. They had arrested Him in the middle of the night; put all these false charges on Him; and remember that at Jesus' trial - they couldn't get two people to agree - which is really interesting.
But they end up putting together these lies; and beating Him with such a beating that 7/10 people would have died from. They put a crown of thorns on His head; they slap Him, gossip about Him; spit on Him. All of His 12 best friends leave Him.
This is just a really bad day; but we call it Good Friday! Jesus is hanging on a cross, after nails have been shoved through His wrists and His feet. He knows He's going to die; but there's a guy next to Him who says three words: Please remember me.
Jesus said: that's enough for Me, you can go to heaven. That's the yoke of our Rabbi.
He says: and while we're at it, let's forgive the people at the foot of the cross too. Forgive them - they don't know what they're doing. That's the yoke of our Rabbi.
The yoke of our Rabbi was so full of compassion and grace, and slow to anger and abounding in love - it was even present in the Old Testament.
In Hebrews 11 is what is called the Hall of Faith – heroes of the Faith.
Abraham gave his wife to Pharaoh's harem. Imagine if CNN and the internet were around back then? All the Christians would have been saying: I don't even think he's saved. How can he be saved and do stuff like that?
Isaac did something very similar. Moses was a premeditated murderer – “I looked this way and that, and seeing no one, I killed the man, and hid him in the sand”.
The problem was, the next day the sand shifted - and you've got this leg sticking up into the air! God looked down and said: you'll do. I'll use you to write the Bible!
The yoke of my denomination, said: a premeditated murderer gets cut - they're disqualified. God says: no, no, no, the yoke of the Rabbi gets in there, and with grace restores their life, and uses them to write the very Bible we preach from.
Samson was sleeping with prostitutes on his wedding night, because he got depressed, because his best man stole his wife. Hero of the faith, because when God steps in on a person's life, He restores their life.
Solomon had 1,000 women; and God said: I'll use you to write the book on wisdom.
David had 700 women - and still went and got the one he couldn't have - committed adultery and premeditated murder. He didn't just murder one man. The Bible says that 18 men lost their lives that day, from him trying to kill one. He killed 18 men in one day, trying to cover up his sin, but he got the woman pregnant. He kills 18 men trying to cover up that sin - and he ends up marrying her.
If CNN and the internet were around back then, what would your yoke have said? My yoke says: you cut him off. It did! God restored David, and used him to write the Bible - but we think we're good enough to say: you're not good enough to preach what God said you could write? I sat in my room and I became broken, because I realised that my yoke was different than the yoke of my Rabbi.
I said I was a ‘disciple of Jesus Christ’, but you've got to understand that Hebraically, you're only a disciple of the rabbi who's yoke you follow. How many times did Jesus say: they will know you're my disciple, by keeping My commands? The yoke of our Rabbi.
Peter denied Him three times in open court, and cursed His name so bad that the Roman soldiers blushed. Five days later, Jesus is cooking breakfast for him on the beach, and didn't even bring the sin up. He just said: do you love Me? That's the yoke of our Rabbi.
There's this one place where Jesus was between customers, and so He visits this prostitute. This Pharisee was following Him around, and thought to himself: this man can't be the messiah, because He should know that this woman is unclean. What is He thinking - being the guest of a sinner?
Then it gets worse, because the lady bends down, and cries on Jesus' feet; and takes her hair, and begins to wipe His feet with her hair.
The Pharisee says: I can't believe this!
Jesus, knowing his thought, looked at him and said: go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. That's the yoke of our Rabbi.
The yoke of our Rabbi took all 12 men who deserted Him (11 of the 12, since one killed himself) - and restored them the next week to ministry, because He believed in them that much. That's the yoke of our Rabbi.
In Matthew 16, Jesus went to Caesarea Philippi, which was the headquarters to the goat-god Pan. In the middle of Caesarea Philippi, there was this mountain; and they built the temple to the goat god Pan at the top of this mountain, because they wanted the temple to be at the highest point of the city.
When they built the temple to the goat god Pan, it actually cracked the mountain; from the top of the mountain, all the way down to the road, and then it cracked the road.
So for 24hrs/day, 7 days/week, there was steam coming up from the crack in the road - and the people of Caesarea Philippi believed that it was the entrance and the exit to hell. They believed that if you didn't worship Pan properly, he would open up the gates of hell, and swallow you into it.
The problem was, Pan was a goat-god, and he received worship through intimate acts with goats! So 24 hours/day, there were people all around on the public street, being intimate with goats, in worship to Pan. Jesus took His youth group there!
He said: look around. Who do you say that I am? Peter says something like: You're the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus says: that's right, and upon this rock we'll build a church, and not even the gates of hell will prevail against it.
Jesus is looking at the gate of hell, and He's standing over it, saying: bring it on. That's the yoke of our Rabbi.
When they were learning to walk behind their rabbi, the best student of the day got to be the line-leader. As they were walking behind their rabbi, the rabbis wore these shoes with these flaps; and it was a dusty region, so the best student of the day was the one walking closest behind him. You could always tell who that was, by the one who got covered in the dust of their rabbi. They would get covered, from their waist down, in the dust of their rabbi.
But when they went back to the temple, it wasn't dust you wanted to wash off; it was dust you wanted to show off - because it meant you were the best student of the day. It was an honour to be covered in the dust of your rabbi.
Remember there was this one place, where it says that Jesus couldn't do any miracles; so He taught them to shake the dust off their feet? He wasn't telling them to curse anybody. He was saying: bless them with the best blessing you can give them. It was an honour to be covered in the dust of your rabbi.
We define sin as bad things that we do - and it is; but sin is far bigger than that. Sin is anything that isn't perfect. Paul said: we were given the law so we would know what sin is.
If you read Leviticus, you'll find that it's a sin to have dandruff. Look at your neighbour and see if they're sinning! No ma'am, he's bald! It was a sin to wear eye glasses. It was a sin to have a period. It was a sin to give birth.
Leviticus 12:6-7 says that after a woman has given birth, she must bring a sin offering, to make atonement for her loss of blood. Why? Because you were never intended to have hard labour in childbirth - that was a result of sin; and anything that's a result of sin, was sin.
The point is that we need a saviour; that we can't live it; and the problem is that sin was very contagious.
There were two words” Tamei and Tahor; which meant unclean and clean. The problem with ‘unclean’ was that it was very contagious; so if somebody here had dandruff, all I had to do was touch them, and I would be Tamei. If a lady here was on her period, all I would have to do is touch her, and I would be Tamei.
Like what did you do back then - wear a sign? It made you unclean if you touched furniture, where a husband and wife had been intimate in the last three days. Did you put a sign up?
I was teaching this in a pastor's home one time, and he made everybody get off the couch! He was like 78! See, the yoke of our Rabbi cleansed us from all uncleanness.
There's one writer that says: if we say we're without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth isn't in it; but if we confess that we're sinful, that He is faithful and just to cleanse us of all of our uncleanness.
The Hebrew word for Iniquity was Avon; three letters: ayin, vav and nun. Ayin was written as an eye; vav as a hook; nun was ‘fish that were multiplying’ (1 fish became 2, 4, 8). So when a Hebrew person read the word iniquity they read: “whatever your eye hooks-to, multiplies”.
There are 3 levels to sin in the Hebrew people: iniquity; sin; and transgression.
Iniquity was when your eye hooked to something, and it multiplied. Sin was when you're drawn away by your own lust, and enticed. So if my eye gets hooked to that jacket I just: oh, I want that jacket; I desire that jacket; it builds a lust inside of me for that jacket.
Now once I'm drawn away by my own lust, and enticed, now I'm sinning.
Transgression, the third level, is when I actually take it.
The Bible says: “we all like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has laid on Him the Avon of us all.”
God doesn't just forgive you for what you've done; God forgives you all the way back to where your eye hooked to the wrong thing. That's the yoke of our Rabbi.
I used to kick box; but don't anybody take me on - you'll win! I'm not mean enough to fight, I haven't hit anybody in 16 years, but I was quite good at one point; and when I thought about Jesus standing over the gates of hell, and saying: not even the gates of hell will prevail against Him - bring it on! Our yoke is so good, that not even this can win.
I used to kick box, and I actually got to fight in a US Open one year. I won the South Eastern Regional's two years in a row, got invited to the US Open three times in a row, got invited to the World Championships once, and I had these huge trophies.
All the neighbourhood kids were at my house, and they were looking at my trophies, and this guy came over. His name was Kenneth, and Kenneth was one of those kids that were about my size in the 8th Grade! This guy was shaving in the 4th Grade sort of guy!
He walks in, and in front of everybody he goes: Shane Willard, I think I could whoop you! I said: I think you're right. He says: come on, let's fight! I said: I'm not fighting you - you're twice my size, I'm not stupid! He said: I brought boxing gloves. I said: oh boxing gloves - let's go; because I knew if we put boxing gloves on, he couldn't grab me...
So we go outside and all of our friends made this boxing ring, and they're standing around it, and there's: fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
So I get in the ring with this guy, and I beat him to death. I'm talking - he couldn't touch me, I was too quick for him; just pow, pow, pow. I wasn't hurting him, he just couldn't touch me, and he started to get a little bit agitated.
So he finally got mad; and when you get mad, you do stupid things, because you become mentally retarded! And ya'll, he decided he was going to throw a punch to try to knock me out. Let me just show you how fast it came. This is in real speed, here it is... I actually had time to think: I'll move now. He left himself in about this position, so I thought: I'll end this now!
I bent my knees - ya'll, I've never hit a human being, as hard as I hit him this day. I came from down here, and it was one of those punches where your hips twisted at just the right moment, and just everything came up, and with all my weight, and with everything I had - I hit him right on the base of his chin!
His head snapped back. His knees buckled, and he stammered back three paces, then he caught his balance, and he looked up - and now he was mad! His face turned red, and he looked up at me, and he said: boy - is that all you've got! And it was!
How many of you know, when you take the enemy's best shot, and you're still standing - you win? He won that fight, because he took my best shot, and he took it and stood there, and came back at me. In my heart I said: he just took my best shot. I can't beat him. I can't beat him.
One day they came to get Jesus, and Jesus' way of life was so different. Peter, who didn't quite get it, he pulled a sword out and he cut the guy's ear off; and Jesus said: no, no, no! He picks the guy's ear back up, and puts it back on. He says: Peter, we're not going to live like this anymore. We're not going to live by the sword, and we're not going to die by the sword, one more day.
This issue of always having to win, and one-up, and get my rights, hear my way, and all this stuff - no, no. That's not the best way of life.
The best way of life is: blessed are the peacemakers. He said: I willingly crawl up on a cross and die, so that none of us have to live this way anymore - and He did. He took Satan's best shot: cat o'nine tails lashes; nailed to a cross. You can't do anything more to somebody than kill them; publically humiliate them; make a complete spectacle out of them.
He sat on that cross, and He took all the rejection, all the gossip, all the slander, all the hate, all the anger, every bit of bad thing in the world. He took Satan's best shot, and it killed Him. He descended into hell, and He looked at Satan right in the eyes, and He said: boy, is that all you've got? Not even the gates of hell can prevail against this yoke.
I bless you tonight to know that you follow a Rabbi who believes in you more than you believe in Him.
Let me challenge you. Unless you've been given Shmekah - which you haven't - you can't make up your own yoke.
Even the parts of Jesus' yoke that don't make any sense, like: in order to be first, you've got to be last; in order to be great, you have to be a servant; in order to get, you've got to give; in order to live, you've got to die - even the parts of Jesus' yoke that goes: that's not what my daddy said; that's not what my granddaddy said; that's not what my denomination said.
When the Lord showed me this, I sat for three months before I could speak of it, and I repented. I said: God, the yoke of my denomination, is not the yoke of my Rabbi.
I'd been taught to be hard on people; and the Lord spoke to me and He said: Shane, you will either be covered in the dust of your Rabbi; or you will be covered in the dust of your own issues. If you're covered in the dust of your Rabbi, then you will cover people in the dust of your Rabbi; but if you're covered in the dust of your own issues, then you will cover people in the dust of your own issues.
And I had stood on stages, and I had made people feel guilty. I had put condemnation on them. I had done things that my mentors, some of them had told me: it gets good altar calls - that's what you do.
But I had ruined people because I did not cover them in the dust of my rabbi; I covered them in the dust of something else. I had to repent. Are you covered in the dust of your Rabbi? Or are you covered in the dust of your dad?
Are you covered in the dust of past hurts? Are you covered in the dust of anger and resentment? Are you covered in the dust of rebellion?
How about your home? Husbands, when you go home tonight, is your house ruled by compassionate, grace, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness? Or is your house ruled by your iron fist, because that's how your dad said you rule the home? Do you rule your home with the dust of the Rabbi, or do you rule your home by the dust of your own stuff?
How about you wives: is your behaviour towards your children dominated by the yoke of your Rabbi; or is it dominated by the yoke of your own issues? Do you talk to them the same way your mother talked to you; or do you talk to them how Jesus would?
Jesus died, not so that just we could go to heaven; Jesus died so we could have the best life here, now, today.
Jesus, Your way is the best way for my life.
Audio» Paperback» Share» Website»
Num 15:37 - Throughout the generations to come, you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at, so you will remember all of the commands of the Lord your God; that you may obey them, and not prostitute yourself by going after the lust of your own hearts and eyes.
If you turn your Bibles to Numbers 15; unless you've been raised in 1st Century Jewish household, because you'd have this memorised, but since we probably don't...
I can tell you that, to the yoke of all the rabbis, the number one evidence of somebody's salvation was that they were generous.
Remember when Zaccheus came out of the tree, and he said: I'll give half of what I have to the poor? That's all - he didn't say a sinner's prayer; he didn't confess all his sins. He just said: I'm going to get generous; and Jesus said: that's it – today, salvation's come to your house. Generosity was the key to everything really.
Greed was the key to everything not good. Jesus talked about hell 15 times; and all 15 of them were about greed.
He released somebody who was caught in the act of adultery – they actually caught her in the act. He let her go; but He said: there was a rich man that overlooked a poor man - and that guy went to hell.
There was a guy that had a talent, and he got so scared of losing it, that he hoarded it to himself, and he buried it. That guy was cast out in utter darkness; but the thief on the cross was let in.
You can't figure God out. God, but I know this: God honours generous people. He loves a cheerful giver.
Numbers 15:37 – And the Lord said to Moses, speak to the Israelites, and say to them:
Throughout the generations to come, you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel.
You will have these tassels to look at, so you will remember all of the commands of the Lord your God; that you may obey them, and not prostitute yourself by going after the lust of your own hearts and eyes.
Then you will remember to obey all of My commands, and will be consecrated to the Lord your God; for I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God, for I am the Lord your God.
God is commanding the people to sew tassels on the corners of their garments. This is a Tallit, which to a First Century Hebrew person, and to these people, was symbolic of the presence of God.
It was a microcosm of the Holy Veil, which separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place.
If you read Exodus 34, it gives the dimensions of how they were supposed to do the curtain, and they had to sew these tassels on the corners. The word for ‘corners’ is ‘Kanaf’ - corners, border, hem, things like that.
It says: you should sew tassels on the corners of your garment. The word for ‘tassels’ is the word ‘Tsit Tsiyot’. You have to sew tsit tsiyot on the kanaf of your garment.
There are five knots in the tassel - one for each Book of the Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
There are also four spaces between the five knots: one for each letter in the Holy name Yahweh - Yud, He, Vav, He. It was just four letters that didn't even go together phonetically; so the Jews tried to work out how to even say that name, and they quit actually saying it. If they said it, they would cover their heads, because of the reverence of it. It's because God was speaking. This was God's way of life.
So they had five knots: one for each Book of the Torah; and four spaces between each knot: one for each letter of the Holy name Yahweh; so they were ‘tying to themselves’ the word of God, and the name of God.
It takes 613 loops to tie one of these, and there are exactly 613 commands in the Old Testament. So they had: the word of God; the name of God, and the ways of God tied to them.
When the knot was finished, on each side there would be three white strands, and one blue one; then on the other side, three white strands and one blue one - three in one, so you had the nature of God there.
So you had the word of God, the name of God, the ways of God, and the nature of God, all tied up on you - all tied to His presence.
When they tied the tassel correctly, it would end up with eight strands. Eight is the number of new beginnings, which is the number of grace.
So you have the word of God, the name of God, the ways of God, the nature of God, and the grace of God, all tied to you.
Moses commanded people, saying that throughout generations to come, you are to make tassels on the corners of your garment. To this day, in certain Jewish circles... like I've seen this.
I was at lunch not too long ago with a guy, and he wore this undergarment underneath his shirt, and coming out from the undergarment was tassels sewn to the corner of his garment. He didn't walk around with this, but he had an undergarment with tassels sewn to him.
Why would God do that? Why would God tell us to? It's because God knows that we're tactile imagery people, especially First Century and Ancient Near East people.
They would wear their prayer shawl; and when they wore it, they would take the tassels, and they would wrap it around their fingers; because that way, before you sinned, any time you sinned, you had to unwrap God.
It was a reminder that God's way is the way of life. God's way brought me from darkness to light. God's way brought me from slavery in Egypt, to freedom in the Promised Land.
God's way, God's name, God's grace; it has nothing to do with me, for by grace I have been saved, through faith and not in myself. It's the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. God's way is the way of life. God's way is the way out of slavery. God's way is the way to wholeness. God's way, God's path, is the best life to live.
One time this guy named Saul was chasing this guy named David around. It was like, not fair - Saul and a bunch of guys against David. Saul was on his way to get David, and he had to go to the toilet.
In English it says: he goes into the cave to relieve himself; but in Hebrew it says: he went into the cave to cover his feet. That's disgusting - you'll get that later I guess!
Saul goes in there to use the toilet; and it says that David snuck up behind him, and cut off the corner of his garment.
Now my Sunday school teacher, who meant well, said that David was doing that so he could show Saul that he ‘could have killed him’ but he ‘decided not to’ - but that's not what it was about at all.
Saul was the king of Israel, so he would he have been wearing tassels on the corners of his garment. So if David cuts off the corner of his garment, David cut off his anointing. That's why Saul saw it as a reproach, and that's why later David got so guilty - I can't believe I've touched God's anointed.
Saul gets done doing what he's doing, and he walks out. He faces his men, and he doesn't have tassels; and David is off in the distance going: hey, I've got your tassels. In other words: you're not the man anymore. You're not the one with God's favour on his life - I am.
Have you ever heard of going into your prayer closet? It wasn't the place you kept the broom! They'd wrap these things around their hands, doing it on both hands, and go into their prayer closet.
This one place, the word kanaf means corners, borders or hem; but over time it started to mean ‘wings’. The reason is because, when the priest would bless the people at the end of the service, he would say: the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
In the Psalms, David writes things like ‘under the shadow of your wings’, which means: under the shadow of the word of God, the name of God, the ways of God, the grace of God, the favour of God, the nature of God; under the shadow of those things - that's where I will abide.
In other words, in my prayer closet, in my prayer life, under the presence of God Himself, that's where I will abide, and that's where peace is found.
Malachi 4:2 says: there will come from God, a Son of Righteousness. This is a reference (prophesy) about Messiah. There will come from God a Son of Righteousness - with healing in His wings (the same word, ‘kanaf’).
In other words, whoever Messiah is - there is healing in His tassels.
Whoever Messiah is, there's something about how He carries the name of God, the word of God, the ways of God, the grace of God, the nature of God. There's something about the way He carries the presence of God on Himself that brings healing from the very tassels that He's wearing.
An interesting story happens in Mark 5:21. When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered round Him while He was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue rulers named Jairus came there.
Seeing Jesus, he fell at His feet, and pleaded earnestly with Him: my little daughter is dying, please come and put Your hands on her, so that she will be healed and live. So Jesus went with him.
Jesus is going to a man's house named Jairus, who's a synagogue ruler. This is like a master-teacher of the word of God. This is like the senior executive pastor of a huge place, and his daughter is sick and is dying. He comes to Jesus and he says: please my 12 year old daughter is dying. Please come and put Your hands on her, so that she might be healed. Jesus is moved with compassion, and goes with him. In the context of Mark 5, He is going to Jairus house to pray for his daughter. This is where we're going.
A large crowd followed Him, and pressed around Him; and a woman was there, who had been subject to bleeding for 12 years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors, and had spent all that she had; yet instead of getting better, she grew worse.
Jesus is on His way to Jairus' house, there's this huge crowd pressing in on Him, and this lady (who's had an issue of bleeding for 12 years) starts elbowing her way through the crowd. Don't you like her already? Like she's throwing a few elbows, she's being proactive, she's being pushy - and she's had an issue of bleeding for 12 years.
There's a principle of Tamei and Tahor (unclean/clean). A leper, if he got diagnosed with leprosy, would have to walk through town going tamei! Tamei! Tamei! Unclean! Unclean! Unclean! Tamei was very contagious.
Sin is anything that is not perfect. If you read the Book of Leviticus, you'll find that to have dandruff is sin; eye-sight problems is sin. To have any physical deformity at all - if you had eczema on your wrist it was considered Tamei, any kind of skin disorder was tamei.
For a woman to have her period was tamei, and for a woman to give birth was a sin. If you gave birth, you had to bring, according to Leviticus 12, 6 and 7, you had to bring a sin offering to atone for your loss of blood, because when you gave birth you lost blood. You were never intended to lose blood. That was just a part of the curse of sinfulness, so you were then tamei.
The problem with tamei is how easy it was to catch it. She's wearing eye glasses, and assuming she's got skin imperfections somewhere, all I have to do is touch her, and now I'm tamei. So this tamei-ness was very contagious.
Now once you were declared tahor, which means clean, you were baptised in a mikveh in public. They would baptise you to say this person can now be touched again.
If a lady had an issue of bleeding for 12 years, that made her Tamei, which has huge implications. She would not have been purposely touched in 12 years. She would not have been purposely hugged in 12 years. When she walked in a room, people would put their hands behind their back, so as to avoid having to touch her.
Can you imagine living a life for 12 years where nobody purposely touched you? Can you imagine the rejection, the abandonment, the feeling of: I've been wronged?
Has anybody ever felt like God gave you a bad deal? Can you imagine that feeling? Can you imagine the times, on her bed at night, where she would have wondered: what did I do to deserve this? How many of you know, you don't have to ask that question very many times, to come up with some ideas?
She would have thought about all the sin she's ever committed. She'd have thought about things that she did - maybe God is mad at me. I'm sure there was some lovely Pentecostal preacher there to remind her that God might have been mad at her.
Remember when they run across this guy, and His disciples say: Jesus, who sinned, that he became like that? Jesus said: nobody, why does anybody have to sin, for somebody to be like that? See, it's just in us to automatically think: if something's going wrong, there's got to be sin somewhere.
Anybody who touched her, it was treated like the plague. Now if you touch her, you're tamei - now you've got to go and be cleansed. You've got to be re-baptised. This would have been a major, major problem.
So she elbows her way through the crowd - can you imagine that? Everybody she's touching now is becoming unclean. She elbows her way through the crowd, and the Bible says that she grabs the corner of Jesus' garment - which is a bit weird.
This is where the story turns weird. Jesus says: who touched Me? Power has left from Me - which let's be honest, doesn't that have like a Star Wars flavour to it? Like, doesn't Jesus go a bit Ohi-Wan Kenobi on us there? WHO TOUCHED ME? Power has left from Me - which leaves us with a couple of questions.
Did Jesus know who touched Him? Of course, He was Jesus. So then why would a First Century Jewish rabbi make a public spectacle out of a lady with an issue of blood touching His clothes? Why would He do that? He wouldn't do that. Like this is so important.
Hebrew people always think function; Greek people always think form. It's all about function. It's not about the tassels; it's about what it represents. It's about the faith that it draws. It's about the remembrance that it brings.
There's nothing magical about it. It's just a faith, a response, a function. There's a Son of God coming, with healing in His wings, and this lady pushes through, so everybody's tamei.
Laying on of hands has nothing to do with this. Would a rabbi have touched a sick person? No chance, because they would be unclean – tamei; but did rabbis lay hands on people? Yes. It just has nothing to do with touching people.
To lay hands on somebody came from the concept of Yom Kippur, when they killed the goat. They would have the scapegoat; and they would also have the other lamb, that was slain for the sins of the nation. They would bring the lamb in, and lay the lamb on the altar. The priest would lay hands on the lamb, which was called malah. He would take the sins of Israel, and place it on the lamb. Rabbinical tradition says that the pressure of the sins of Israel going onto the lamb would cause the priest to have to turn his head.
At exactly the ninth hour, the priest would say “it is finished”, and he would cut the lamb's throat. When God put the sins of the world on Jesus, at exactly the ninth hour, the Lamb of God, and the High Priest of the World said: “it is finished”.
The priest would then catch the lamb's blood in this cone-shaped cylinder. He would shake it ,because the blood had to stay alive. He would shake it to keep the blood moving, and he would scream all the way to the Holy of Holies, don't touch me! Don't touch me, for I have not yet offered the blood of the sacrifice. He would go into the Holy of Holies, sprinkling blood in there before him; then he would come out and wash, and then he could be touched.
When Jesus rose from the dead; there were these two women, and He greets them and goes: don't touch Me, don't touch Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father. The reason is because, if He'd have been touched before He offered His blood in heaven, He'd have had to go through it all again. You can't do that.
The next picture has Him showing up, and He's pulling up His shirt sleeves saying: you can touch Me now. In other words, the offering has been accepted, for all time. Let that which is tamei be called tahor.
So are we tracking on tamei and tahor? Okay, so she reaches up and she grabs the hem of His garment; and Jesus makes this huge show: WHO TOUCHED ME? WHO TOUCHED ME? Basically it's kind of weird, like it's very un-Hebrew. He's like going: WHO TOUCHED ME? EVERYBODY LOOK! Somebody dirty touched Me!
And this lady comes out. It's very important theologically to understand that Jesus never became unclean; but if she touches Him, and is not made whole, is He unclean? Yes! But instead she touches Him, and instantly that which made her tamei, was made tahor.
But Jesus still makes a show of it. WHO TOUCHED ME? WHO TOUCHED ME? Now a lady in a village who had an issue of bleeding for 12 years, how many people would have known it? All of them! So everybody standing there thinks of Jesus as Tamei. This is very important, because Jesus is going to Jairus' house.
He says to her: “go in peace”, which for us, peace is the ‘absence of conflict’; but for Jesus, peace was a concept called shalom, which is: the presence of wholeness without one missing piece.
The issue of bleeding was one thing; but the bigger issue for this lady was 12 years of rejection, 12 years of abandonment, 12 years of not being touched, feeling like an outcast, being treated like an outcast, being gossiped about, knowing that people in the next room are saying things like: what's wrong with her? Physical healing is one thing, but you need to go in shalom.
Salvation to Jesus was about far, far more than heaven and hell. Salvation to Jesus was about wholeness, here, now, today - and there's healing in His tassels. There's healing in the word of God, the name of God, the ways of God and the grace of God as it is attached to Messiah Jesus. There's healing in His wings; and it's not just healing for your physical body.
Some of you need a touch from God for your physical body, and we're going to believe God for you for that; but bigger than that, it's: are you whole?
Go in shalom, because if we're not careful, as the church of Jesus Christ, we're guilty of teaching a salvation that's about heaven and hell. Let me be honest: it is about heaven and hell, and if that's all it is, it's still a good deal. Like heaven/hell - who wants to go heaven? I mean hell's a dumb decision; but salvation is about far, far more than that.
If we make it just about heaven and hell, we become guilty of teaching a salvation that sounds something like this: Hey, hey, hey, get saved, get saved, get saved - and you can come along with us, and one day we're all going to die, and it'll all get better.
It's even in the songs that we used to sing! It will be worth it all when we see Jesus. Life's trials will seem so small when we see Christ. It's kind of like: this life stinks, I can't wait for heaven. No! Jesus died so you could have the best life here, now, today.
But there's still healing in His wings. Go in shalom.
So everybody standing there now thinks He's tamei. Verse 35, while Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. Your daughter is dead, why bother the rabbi anymore?
That's a very insensitive thing to say. Your daughter is dead, why bother the rabbi anymore? Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler: don't be afraid, just believe.
He did not let anyone follow Him except Peter, James and John, the brother of James. He just heals this lady with the issue of blood, but He doesn't declare her healed, does He? He just says: your faith has made you well; go in shalom. He doesn't make a big deal about her being healed, He just: says go in peace - this is a bigger deal.
Why? Well He's going to Jairus' house, and the people from Jairus' house come to Jesus and say: Jairus, your daughter's dead already, why bother the rabbi anymore? Now that sounds very insensitive, until you understand this, that it was against the law for a rabbi to knowingly walk into a room where a dead body was - unless he was already considered tamei.
WHO TOUCHED ME? WHO TOUCHED ME? EVERYBODY LOOK! This lady with an issue of blood, she just touched Me! Now the world thinks He's tamei. Why bother the rabbi anymore?
Well, now He's allowed in the room; but Jesus covers His bases doesn't He? He goes: she's not dead, she's just asleep – wink, wink.
When they came to the house of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion - as you would - with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them: why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead, but asleep - but they laughed at Him.
After He put them all out, He took the child's father and mother, and the disciples who were with Him, and He went in where the child was, and He took her by the hand.
Is it tamei to touch a dead body? You bet! Do you realise that if she doesn't get up - Jesus can't die for you? This is a huge act of faith; and tradition says that Jesus wrapped His hand, because He would have been walking like this anyhow - had His hand wrapped in His own tassels; and he reached down, and He took her by the hand - because He's still the Son of Righteousness, with healing in His wings.
“...and He took her by the hand”. You've got kanaf (corner), you've got tassels, and the whole thing is called Tallit, and it's seen as the presence of God.
And He took her by the hand, and said to her: Talitha kum - Little girl, the Tallit's here. Little girl, the presence of God is here. Little girl, get up.
Tonight that power of God is here. Jesus is standing here tonight, saying to this church: My child, the Tallit is here. Talitha kum: My children, the tallit is here, arise. There's still a Son of Righteousness with healing in His tassels.
Where do you need to touch the tassels? Where do you need a resurrection? For some of you, the touch of the tassels comes in the form of some kind of physical need. For others, it's somebody here who was violated as a child, by someone who was supposed to protect them; but instead of protecting them they violated them, and it created all kinds of emotional holes. A touch of the tassels for those folks - it's more about being able to lay your head down at night in shalom; and that's just as much healing as anything else.
There's somebody here whose husband left you, and talitha kum for you is somehow coming to a place where you know that you're still worthy, and that you weren't the total responsibility for your husband's bad decision.
There's somebody here whose wife made a similar decision, and the tassels for you represent the wholeness that God can bring to restore your life.
There's somebody here who made a decision in their past, and sometimes not a day goes by, definitely not a week goes by, where you're not haunted by the consequences of that decision. At those moments, you just can't get over the guilt. Talitha kum, Jesus would say to you. There comes from God a Son of Righteousness with healing in His tassels. Today there's still healing in the tassels of God.