SNYDER BIBLE

     This is part one of the Matthew Exposition.  Go to Part 2, "The Reward of the Sword."

Lie With the Dog

"Ask the harvest-master to send out laborers to his harvest."

Ordinary 3  An Exposition of Matthew 9:35-10:16  

Yahshua started out as a one-man show.  He was unique; one-of-a-kind. And when he began his ministry at the age of 30, he started with nothing. The life expectancy in those days was about 29 years. In the Hebrew tradition, passing that and attaining to age 30 was a requirement for qualification as an elder in the local synagogue. (A synagogue is a gathering place with exactly the same function as a church building.) Yahshua started out teaching Sabbath school. But before long he was called out of the synagogue and into the countryside - to proclaim good news - that the Kingdom of Yahweh had come - in him.

The One-man Show (An Illustration)

A father gets to the Pearly Gates ahead of schedule and announces his name and St. Peter looks for him on the 19-inch computer screen, which recently took the place of the big book. After a few moments, St. Peter looks up with sadness and announces, "I'm sorry, your name’s not in here." "How often do you get a download?" the man asks. "Every ten minutes," St. Peter replies. "Well, I’m the stubborn type. I cried out to Yahshua at the last minute, so my name probably hasn't downloaded yet."

"I'm glad to hear that," St. Peter says, "We’ll wait for a little bit. In the meantime, tell me about the most compassionate deed that you did in your life."

"Well, I was driving down a road and I saw a big, mean-looking gang of motorcycle hoods after this poor girl who reminded me of my daughter. I slowed down and counted about 20 of 'em. They began to harass and then torment her. I really got ticked, jumped out of the car, grabbed a tire iron out of the trunk, and ran up to the gang leader. He was huge; 6-foot-6, 280 pounds, with a studded leather jacket and a chain running from his nose to his ears. As I walked up to the leader, the gang stopped torturing the girl and began to form a circle around me.

St. Peter interrupted, "And you say you were all alone?"

The man continued, "Yep. A one-man show. But before they could surround me, I ripped the leader's chain right out of his face and I smashed him over the head with the tire iron. Then I turned around and yelled to the rest of ‘em, "Leave this poor girl alone! You're all a bunch of SICK, deranged animals! Get on home before I teach all of you what it feels like to be humiliated and tormented!" The man then paused in his story.

St. Peter was impressed, and said, "Wowee! That was a compassionate act. You da man! Just how long ago did this happen?" The man replied, "Oh, three or four minutes ago."

The Text from the Kata Mattyah

The Kata Mattyah Translation of Matthew is very useful for gaining a command of biblical Hebrew.  Many common transliterated Hebrew words replace their familiar English counterparts so that the student progressing through this version might gain a basic Hebrew vocabulary.

9 35 Yahshua went around to all the cities, even villages, teaching in their kahalim and proclaiming the good news[1] of the malkuth, and curing every disease and every illness. 36 Seeing the crowds, he was moved with compassion[2] for them because they were troubled and scattered as sheep who had no shepherd. 37 Then said he to his talmidim, The harvest is great indeed, but the workers, few. 38 Pray the Harvest Master to send workers forward into his harvest.  10: 1 Yahshua called his twelve talmidim to him and gave them authority over unclean ruachim so that they could cast them out; and to cure every disease and every illness. 2 The names of the twelve shlichim[3] are: the first, Shimeon called Kefa, and Adam his ach; Ya’akov of Zebedyah and Yochanon his ach; 3 Philippos and Bar-Talmai; T’oma and Mattyah the telónēs; Ya’akov the Alef and Leviyah; 4 Shimon the Canaanim; and Y’hudah the dyer[4] who also gave him up.

5 These twelve Yahshua sent forth after he had charged them saying, Do not go the way of the tribes[5] and do not enter cities of Shomron;[6] 6 but go instead to the lost sheep of beit Yisrael. 7 As you go, declare the saying, The malkuth shamayim is near. 8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out the demons. You received freely so give freely. 9 Do not provide gold, neither silver or brass for your money-belts, 10 no bag for the journey, neither two coats, nor sandals, nor even a staff: for the worker is worth his food. 11 Into whatever city or village you enter, find out who is trustworthy in it and stay there until you go forth.

12 When you enter a beit, honor it. 13 And if the household is worthy, let your shalom come upon it. But if it be not worthy, let your shalom return to you. 14 Whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you leave that beit or k’far, shake off the dust of your feet.[7] 15 Amein, I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of S’dom and ‛Amora in the day of judgment than for that k’far.

Society of Yahshua

Yahshua's message was unique; he preached that his Sky Father didn’t hate the world, but loved it.  Why should Father hate his own creation? So Yahshua proved that love by becoming a human lightning rod through which the Father might touch the people in beneficial ways.  Good news coupled with good works - Yahshua soon gained a following.

(It just so happens today I was studying "The Example" - "haDag" - with Elder Watson.)

Teaching, preaching and healing: these acts were paramount in Yahshua’s work. And these acts are still employed in the work of some contemporary teachers in imitation of their Master. But in Yahshua's day, there was not nearly enough of him to go around. When he was on the scene, thick clouds of crowds gathered about him. He saw each person in the cloud as a lamb, and saw himself and his talmidim as shepherds.

Sheep are easy pray for dogs, wolves, lions and thieves. Sheep haven’t the capacity or the facility to fight back, nor even the mentality to know who their enemy is, though they seem to have instinct enough to know the bad from the good. The sheep who came around when Yahshua was ministering were not usually the wealthy, the powerful or the famous. They were primarily the peasants, the workers, maybe coarse soldiers, along with the dregs of society, the lepers, the diseased, the prostitutes, the racially inferior, the slaves, the foreigner, the unwanted, the retarded, the maimed, the desperate, the morbidly curious -- all of whom were harassed -- by the tax man, by the Roman soldier, by the greedy teacher, by male-centered society, by the abusive husband, the abusive wife, the abusive parents and children, the abusive masters; they were victims of circumstances, accidents, plagues, diseases, infirmities, cruel slave masters or acts of the wrath of Elohim.

And like sheep, these people were helpless and tossed about by every wind of circumstance or whim of the persecutor or whisper of the preacher -- though they were sinners, Yahshua saw them as victims seeking a savior, a deliverer, a healer, a friend, a kind word. Yahshua could hardly believe how many came to him. He wasn’t ready for such popularity; not physically strong enough to endure such strenuous ministry; not emotionally prepared for the suffering that he was now forced to witness. As wise and as light as he was, Yahshua was after all still a man; he couldn’t be in two or three places at once. Although he worked the plan to the best of his ability, he was drained, tired, depressed; he sought places where he could be alone and recuperate; for the desperate sheep hounded him as though he were a sheep for the slaughter himself.

Yahshua Invents Multilevel Marketing

On a lighter note, Yahshua found a partial solution to his being used up. Yahshua invented the first multilevel marketing system, which has become today the proven business plan for the motivated to make lots of money. Maybe you know how MLM works -- you get 2 people to sell something for you, then each of them gets 2, which makes 6, then each of them gets 2 which adds 12 more, and on and on, and you get a cut of everybody’s sales. If you are a good leader and hard worker, you persuade a lot of recruits who persuade a lot of recruits, and when you have hundreds of people in your 'downline,' you make gobs of money.

Multilevel marketing recruits are often called associates.

The MLM PyramidYahshua recruited twelve associates. He gave each the authority to teach, preach and heal - abilities that could be extremely profitable then and now, and he gives them the responsibility of getting the job done - they must! But he tells them that they can’t sell anything. Whatever they had, whatever he had given them, they had to give away, and give freely. And whatever they might get back they likewise had to receive for free. And in order to freely give these tremendous benefits to desperately poor people, he tells them that they have to become poor people, with no money at all and not even a change of clothing.

Understand: The disciples Yahshua picked were not poor people. They were not just poor fishermen, as we were taught in Sunday School. They were young tradesmen whose families had made a lot of money - enough to send them forth to higher education under the rabbi Yahshua.  They stood to inherit profitable businesses. They were not used to being broke, touching lepers, living off charity, sleeping on bug-infested straw mattresses, wearing rags, and being labeled criminals and heretics. This was not their bag. Yahshua's students were young, respectable and popular.

As such, why did they consent to becoming Yahshua’s associates if there was no money in it?

The One Qualification

The one qualification each had in common with Yahshua is always overlooked. We get the idea Yahshua just picked his men and women arbitrarily - one here, one there, one somewhere else.  "Follow me!"  Often, the preacher will say, "Well, if a tax collector and a fisherman can be a disciple, so can you." But these associates each had a very rare qualification that Yahshua was looking for. We find that quality in Matt 9:36 (and many other places; i.e. 14:14, 15:32, Luke 7:13). It is compassion. For,

"When Yahshua saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless..."

In the language of the Bible the word translated "compassion" is esplagchnisthe (eh-splank-NEES-theh). We get the word "spleen" ("splank") from it. The spleen is an organ found deep within the human body. One might literally translate esplagchnisthe as "something out of the depth of the bowels." One professor I know translates the passage this way,

"When he saw the crowds, he was gut-wrenched for them...."

Another professor translates,

"When he saw the crowds, he was internally terrorized...."

The picture we get from these descriptive translations is that Yahshua was more than just a little concerned about his sheep - he was absolutely, utterly internally moved or sickened by their plight. Perhaps you have experienced an internal disruption of this type - a terrorization of the bowels. Perhaps you got sick when you saw the terrible suffering of a loved one, or at the thought that someone dear to you was dying. It made you physically ill, didn't it?

Well, that is just part of the meaning of compassion. The ‘passion’ part of ‘compassion’ means to feel deeply moved for someone; it’s usually employed describing erotic or extremely caring feelings, including pity. The ‘com’ part of ‘compassion’ means simply ‘with,’ implying that there is an action to be taken ‘with passion.’ Therefore, compassion is not just feeling sorry for someone, unless it's deep enough and makes you sick enough to take some powerful action. If one feels deep passion and pity for the suffering of others, that is not necessarily compassion at all. Compassion is only when your feelings are acted upon. (The father-figure in our silly illustration saw a girl in trouble and, in response, GOT OUT OF THE CAR DESPITE THE CONSEQUENCES. )

Compassion must result in action, and many times empathy's action results in great loss for the passionate.  Likewise, Yahshua’s motivation for teaching, preaching and healing was not duty to the Father, or to Israel, or to his mission; it was compassion for the sheep. He was gut wrenched about the plight of these desperate people.  He could have limited his service to teaching and preaching, but he didn’t. He also healed them. All of them. And of every infirmity, disease and affliction.  Just how much internal fortitude and retching do you suppose it cost him to heal a multitude?

So this kind of compassion was the qualification that he perceived in the men and women he picked to convey his power and authority -- those who had bowels deep enough that they were willing themselves to become desperate and humiliated to alleviate the suffering of others. And Yahshua’s chosen men and women joined Yahshua’s marketing associates because they were students who desired to dip into the unplumbed depths of their own grief and sin and repentance to do as Yahshua did.  They became the real thing, even though their methods were as radical as their previous lives had been conventional.

Dying for the Ungodly

This is something of the stuff that Paul is addressing in our Epistle reading today:

Rom 5:6. While we were still weak (asthenōn), at the right time the Anointed One died for the unrighteous (asebōn). 7. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous person(dikaiou)--though perhaps for a good person one will dare even to die.

Since Yahshua woefully came to die for the unrighteous, he was looking for the rare man or woman who would also be willing to be humiliated and perhaps even die for the diseased, beleaguered rabble that made up the bulk of the Roman protectorate they named Palestine. It is a wonder that he found anybody to answer the call! But some of the ones he chose had been followers of Yochanon the Dunker, they had repented of their sins, they were Torah observers, they were compassionate, they were seeking a personal savior, even the deliverance of Israel, and a meaningful purpose in life. Most of them found their purpose in the teaching, preaching and healing actions of the Anointed One. And most of them eventually became martyrs on behalf of the Kingdom of Yahweh.

Our situation today is quite far removed from all that, for we are experiencing the legendary Golden Age in the United States -- the highest point of culture and quality of life that has ever been known in the entire history of the world. No matter how poor we claim to be, no matter how broke the government is, no matter how spread out we are, no matter how pagan or how impious the the people seem, YOU AND I HAVE IT MADE HERE. But not far outside these borders is a world full of people living in culture at its very ebb. In a great part of everywhere else, life consists of poverty, starvation, slavery, misery, superstition, demonization, victimization and death.

There are huge geographic areas in which the people who belong to Yahshua are being systematically annihilated by the tens of thousands. There are so many lands of persecution, and so many centuries the persecutions have been going on, that we no longer even need to update our sermon notes from decade to decade - it just goes on and on and on. I look back on my sermon notes on the topic of persecution of 15 years ago, and the same groups are still the targets. Nothing is being done because nobody will do it, nobody will do it because there is little compassion in today's religion, except that which is connected with self-pity.  And if no solutions have come to stay the cup of martyr's blood from being filled to the brim, then how is it that believers can claim this to be the "gospel age"?  The answer is that this is not the gospel age, but the ongoing "great tribulation" that started the day Messiah was hiked up that tree, yet it has hardly touched us here, within the borders of this wilderness, which has been prepared for our safety by Elohim (Revelation 12:6).  (The belief that there is to be seven years of 'great tribulation' is both laughable and unrealistic.)

We really don’t want to hear about what is happening outside - we only like to brag that hard times are coming soon. If we do hear or think about 'out there,' we rationalize that maybe the suffering is Yahweh's will or punishment, or that these people deserve it, or that, well, that’s in some foreign place -- and what does it have to do with me and my thriving little church, anyway?

And honestly, if we don’t have compassion, it has nothing to do with us at all .

Nothing, that is, until we are reminded that ,"The Anointed One died for the unrighteous," and until the Ruach haQodesh, who we claim lives within us, stirs up enough guts and bowels to motivate us into some compassionate action.

Yes, that happens sometimes, but not often.

I also found that, if we don’t have much natural compassion, we can remedy that by choosing any truly needy group, learn something the people in it, then begin interceding on behalf of that group everyday - even if we have to force ourselves.  And, if we include telling Yahweh to give us compassion so we can be motivated to use the power we claim, we will receive the pain of a broken heart that we all are required and must finally acquire.

And this idea is perfectly feasible, since

Rom 5:5b ...hope does not disappoint us -- because Yahweh's compassion has been poured into our hearts through the Ruach haQodesh....

Ask Yahweh no longer for healing, but for pain - the pain associated with the empathy of compassion; yes, pray for pain, and we will surely receive the pain of compassionate empathy that will actually serve to heal us of our disinterest and lack of action!

You Are an MLM Associate

Finally, let me return to multilevel marketing. Palestine was very small. Everyone knew everyone else and was related to everyone else. Yahshua sent these men and women out in twos to people throughout Israel whom they already knew. And these one-time students went out teaching, preaching and healing for the rest of their lives, some of which were quite short. All of them received the pain of compassion and eventual death of self by means of their compassionate acts. And the world was changed.

Consider that if each of the initial twelve disciples in six groups recruited 12 compassionate associates, there would then be 72 new associates. That is exactly the number of associates that came back, according to Luke 10 (in the older manuscripts). It says there that Yahshua appointed these 72 and sent them out by 2s, in this case 36 new groups. If each of these new groups recruited 12 associates, that would make 432. If Yahshua then appointed these 432 and sent them out by 2s, in this case 216 groups, with each group recruiting 12, there would be 2592. In our day, there are over one billion people who think they are associates of Yahshua, or whatever they call him.  Of course, few are naturally compassionate, but, as I mentioned before, compassion can be a gift from Father, a fruit of the Spirit or an answer to prayer. And, evidently, all of the billion have been touched by his compassion in one way or the other, or they would have even less claim upon him than they make.

And one day not too long ago, one of Yahshua’ associates came your way, and now you are his associate, too. Now I have shared with you how you can be successful in getting the poverty of the needful.  I challenge you to develop such qualities of compassion and attitudes of the counter-culture that Yahshua and his associates represent. If you don’t have any love for the unlovely, ask for it or petition the Father on behalf of a desperate group until you do. You may not make the money successful multilevel marketers do, but you will definitely receive something far greater than rust and corrosion in due time.

Going to the Dog

There's a dog in the neighborhood that has been howling night and day for several days.  If I didn't use earplugs at night, I wouldn't be able to sleep.  It's been a disruption to my life, and night by night, I get madder and madder. The other night I was awakened again by the howling and was mad enough to call the sheriff. About that time, the Ruach haQodesh or an angel spoke to me, and I spoke back. The conversation went like this:

Ruach: "Jack, didn't you learn today that this dog just gave birth and lost all her pups? And don't you know exactly why she’s crying out so?  She’s bereaved, lonely and pitiable outdoors. Your neighbors care nothing about her, and probably did away with the puppies themselves, and don't give a hoot what you think.  Yes, they've just left her out there in her own blood to howl at you.  So if you can’t have compassion for a dumb animal in such misery, how can you have any compassion?"

Jackson: "Ruach, you are right, or course. I stand groggily convicted. Please give me a gift of compassion for this mother. Yes, I’ll pray for the dog. O Ruach, please comfort this miserable mother dog who has lost all her pups. Send a spirit of comfort over there. I pray not so much that I can sleep as that the dog might be consoled. Thank you, Ruach, for showing me what compassion is all about."

Well, I felt pretty pious about the whole thing. And my soul bragged on itself like Little Jack Horner, "What a good boy am I. I've heard from Yahweh!  And how compassionate and wonderful I’ve become tonight." About this time, the dog began to howl again and the Ruach haQodesh whispered one last thing, "Yes, Jack, you have become compassionate enough to pray.  But now -- Go! -- go next door and lie down with the dog."  {end}

I was just going to end there, but Mignon thought that I better explain it. She’s usually right, so here goes: It’s a good thing to have pity to pray, but it’s a perfect thing to take action. Amen.

 

Notes:

[1] good news = euagellion, “good message,” or besorah (Hebrew).

[2] compassion = esplagcnisqh = referring to the displacement of internal organs; extreme visceral pity.  Hebrew chanan will be used later in our text.

[3]shlichim = emissaries or apostles.

[4] Dyer – the most plausible solution to the strange transliteration iscariot. Others: the sicarii, the assassin, the man of Kerioth, etc.

[5] the way of the tribes – the road across the borders and on to the lands into which the tribes had been assimilated.

[6] Shomron = Samaria.

[7]  k’far = town or village.

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The Nazarene Acts
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Ever wonder why PAUL and not PETER received the mission to the lost tribes?  Wasn't Peter the stone upon which the "church" was to be built?  In this new translation of the Nazarene Acts, we follow Kefa (Peter) as he itinerates from Jerusalem and up the Mediterranean coast up to Tripoli, as recorded in the journals of his successor, Clement of Rome (Phi 4:3).  Every message Kefa preached, the company he kept, and the great works of faith the the Almighty accomplished through him are herein recorded.  This 300 page volume has been 'hidden' in the back of an obscure volume of the "Church Fathers" all this time.  Could it be that, in establishing the Gentile 'church' by pushing away from Judaism, this history was purposely hidden?

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