Perhaps you have never heard this. Perhaps you have never really given it any thought. Perhaps Yeshua is too high and mighty and too much the Son of G-d so as to even consider what I wish to share with you. I want you to fall in love with your Savior so desperately that you will never again take Him for granted. Nor will you ever again live this earthly life without thoughts of eternity.
Meet Yeshua – ישוע – the Son of Joseph (as was believed) the Suffering Servant, Son of David upon His Return as King upon the throne of David, Son of Abraham, Son of Adam (Man), Son of G-d, Who for 33 1/2 years shared our world, our joys and sorrows, our everyday life as a human being like us.
I have been thinking so much about our Lord’s sacrifice from the time He was conceived by the action of the Holy Spirit until His humbling on the cross. Was the cross His sole sacrifice? Oh no! His sacrifice began much earlier! It began at conception!
He remained in the womb the whole 9 months like we do. He went through the birth canal like we do. He was a helpless infant dependent on His mother, as we are. He had to learn how to sit, crawl, stand, walk and speak like we do. As an infant and toddler, He did not know that He was the Son of G-d, just because He was the Son of G-d. He knew Joseph and Miriam as His parents. After Yeshua’s birth, Joseph and Miriam had children of their own flesh and blood and DNA, Yeshua’s ‘half’ brothers and sisters (sharing the same mother, but not the same father).
I have been wondering about His childhood, His teenage years, and how He was as a young man in His twenties. Did Joseph and Miriam favor Him, as Jacob did with Joseph, creating such dreadful consequences of resentment and jealousy among siblings? As we may deduce from John 7:3-10, not even His brothers believed in Him. His own relatives wanted to seize Him, saying, “He has lost His mind! He is deranged!” And the scribes who came from Jerusalem said He was possessed by Beelzebul, that He had an unclean spirit and was casting out demons by the devil. When His mother and brothers came to get Him but couldn’t reach Him, they called for Him. Yeshua answered, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” And pointing to the people sitting around Him, He declared, “Behold My mother and My brothers.” Certainly His brothers and Miriam were hurt and irritated.
Have you ever thought about what their neighbors in Nazareth gossiped and said of Him? It was no secret to anyone that Yeshua had been conceived ‘out of wedlock’. (Surely Miriam and Joseph kept secret the appearance the angel Gabriel and the divine origin of her infant). Hence, more civilized neighbors called Him, the ‘son of Miriam .’ (Mark 6:3)
But people being then what they are still today victimized Yeshua with prejudice and misconceived ideas. He went to school like all the others, and I can’t even imagine how His teachers treated Him. Did He have friends among His peers? Hardly! For who would join Him just to be attacked with Him? Moreover, parents probably forbade their children to play with Yeshua or have anything to do with Him, just as the “good Christian” parents in Germany forbade their children to have anything to do with me as I was a Jew. Only children of refugees and outsiders such as the girl born ‘out of wedlock’ and the boy conceived from incest were allowed to play with me.
Imagine the following: Yeshua’s peers, having overheard what their parents said of Him, gleefully taunting Him in the streets, “Bastard! Bastard! You dirty bastard! And your mother is a whore!” Some even called him “mamzer” (although He was not). Oh, you don’t think this happened to Him, because, why, He was the Son of G-d? But no one knew He was the Son of G-d. He was just like one of them, except slandered as a ‘bastard’. Hence the word in Isaiah 53:2 “He grew up like a ‘young’ plant, like a root out of ‘dry ground’.” Hardship!
Hebrews 5:5-10 says Yeshua learned obedience through what He suffered. What? He had to ‘learn obedience’? Are you crazy, Elinor? He was the Son of G-d! Of course He was perfect in obedience. Isaiah 53:3 moreover tells us that He was ‘despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.’ Considered a ‘bastard’ He would definitely have been despised and rejected, and He bore this stigma throughout His childhood and teen years, suffering for having done no wrong, suffering for His divine conception that could not be revealed for fear of blasphemy. And who believed the tales of lowly shepherds? Ha! They were an illiterate bunch as was that old man Simon, and Anna the longtime widow.
Yes, He had to endure the daily mocking and teasing and slandering of Himself and His beloved mother as well as His siblings’ jealousy and resentment expressed in stinging remarks. Yes, indeed, He was intimately acquainted with sorrow and grief (Ps 22:6-7). Hebrews 2:14-18 says Yeshua had to share in our humanity so that by His death He might destroy the power of death and the devil who holds this power of death.
Therefore He had to be made like His brethren, fully human, in every way, in order to become a merciful and faithful high priest before G-d so as to make expiation for our sins. Having Himself endured suffering and temptation, He is able to empathize and help us with our own suffering and temptation. Hebrews 4:15 declares that we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Hence – when do you think He suffered and learned obedience? Let me tell you, when adults, teachers and peers speak evil of you though you are innocent and have done no wrong, and you are repeatedly mocked, ridiculed and ambushed, and most maliciously and spitefully rejected and despised, your flesh wants to smash those nasty, hateful mouths. You want to defend yourself, you want to hit back. To restrain from doing what you desperately want to do is true affliction and all the more so as your restraining shows you up to be a coward, a wimp, and a weakling.
When Yeshua said, “If they hit you on your right cheek, offer them your left one as well”, did He fully understand the consequence of it? Oh yes! He had personally learned this principle which ultimately set Him free from His tormentors. Rather than seek revenge and defend Himself, He gave them even more ground to torture Him. But, their power over Him broke when His REACTION was not what they wished. The pleasure of victimizing Him was broken. A sailboat without wind cannot sail!
Joseph taught Him carpentry, and after finishing school He would join Joseph in building tables and chairs, and fixing people’s windows and doors and what not. They had stopped taunting Him; now He was just the ‘carpenter’ (Mk 6:3). But behind closed doors He remained the ‘bastard.’
A ‘bastard,’ a ‘carpenter’ from Nazareth, being the Messiah? Was He mad? Was not His power to perform those miracles from the devil? No way could the Jerusalem leaders accept this madman from Nazareth as the promised Messiah! They surely knew better. Furthermore, as they saw it, He was deceiving and leading the people astray, that ignorant mob of uneducated humanity (Matt. 26:63; Lk 23:5). And to top it all off, He had the audacity to call them, the religious elite of the people, a brood of vipers?
This madman had to be stopped!
For this reason, during the days of His life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent, loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent fear (Heb. 5:7-10). Why was He praying with loud cries and tears? Did He not know He would rise from death? Years of humiliation, rejection and condemnation had taught Him to take nothing for granted. Furthermore, being in a body of mortal flesh – a man, strong and healthy, who walked the length and breadth of Israel – He experienced the desires and needs of youth since He was tempted in all points and in every way as we are. But shrinking back in reverential fear from anything that might separate Him from the Father or jeopardize His mission, He resisted. Nevertheless, He still had to be made perfect and cleansed from all impious thought and desire triggered by various temptations and sufferings. As Isaiah 53:3 says, the people [in Nazareth] turned their faces away, despising and scorning Him, the ‘bastard’.
It was natural to consider Himself stricken, smitten by G-d and afflicted. Early on, He began to retreat into the Scriptures and into the Presence of His Heavenly Father. After most troubling, difficult teenage years full of affliction, knowing Who He was yet having to live as the ‘son of Miriam’, scorned, shamed and shunned, He spent His days working in the carpenter shop with Joseph. But His evenings and nights were devoted to Scripture, [the Tenach, renamed Old Testament] prayer, and communing with the Father. By the time He reached His twenties He had become a quiet man, not entrusting Himself to anyone because He understood what was in man (John 2:24-25).
But how He must have longed for the Father, for His heavenly abode, for the glory the Father had given Him? There must have been times that He was literally tortured with longing, just as I ever so often can hardly bear it to be just one more day on earth, in this world. And I have not even known nor tasted what Yeshua, the glorious Son of G-d and joy of all heaven, had known and tasted. How He must have longed! Oh, so unspeakably longed!
When dragged before the Council [Sanhedrin], the High Priest, Pontius Pilate and Herod the Tetrarch (Matthew 14:1), He made no response, no reply, nor any defense to their slanderous accusations and ridiculous lies (Isa. 53:7; Matt. 26:63; 27:12, 14; Lk 23:6-9 ). He had learned self-control throughout His childhood and youth and now could retreat into Himself to be alone with the Father, Heart to Heart, Spirit to Spirit. He didn’t even hear the mockers. So trained in endurance was He that He remained silent as the Roman soldiers mocked and beat Him. With whips gouging out His flesh, front and back, He moaned but uttered not a word. Yet, a cry of torment escaped Him as the nails penetrated His hands and feet and as the cross plunged into the ground, yanking His bones out of joint (Ps 22:14).
The seven sayings of Yeshua from the cross were: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Lk 23:34). The pagan Roman soldiers certainly didn’t, nor did the people. Most of the religious leaders did, doing what they thought had to be done politically for the sake of the nation, religiously for the sake of the people to save them from the “deceiver,” and because they were jealous of this Nazarene and bitterly resented Him for His sayings, for speaking the truth. The others, although knowing the truth, did nothing, except for Nicodemus and Yoseph of Arimathea.
To the penitent robber crucified with Him He said, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Lk 23:43); to His mother Miriam, “Woman, behold your son!,” and to John, the beloved disciple, “Son, behold your mother!” (John 19:26-27), because even now, though in unspeakable agony, He sought to protect His beloved mother from being helplessly exposed to the unbelief of His brothers and relatives. Then came the most awful moment of His entire life for which nothing had prepared Him – when the Father turned His Face away from Him because He could not look on the Son on whom had been laid all of mankind’s sins and abominations, like the sins of the people of Israel on the Sa’ir le Azazel on Yom Kippur.
The cry which then erupted from His lips contained all the suffering, all the grief, all the sorrows, all the years He had endured in unwavering faith, hope and trust in the Father, a wail of agony and torment beyond words (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34; Ps 22:1):
“איל איל למנא שׁבקתני!”
“ELI ELI LAMA SABACHTHANI!”
“MY G-D, MY G-D, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?”
The awful loss of blood from the severe beatings caused Him a maddening thirst, but when offered a drink that would dull His senses and therefore the pain, He refused to drink from it until He finally exclaimed, “I thirst!” and He drank from the sponge put to His mouth on a stick (Jn 19:28). When He knew that all what is written of Him, of the suffering Servant and Redeemer (see all of Ps 22 and Isa. 53) had been fulfilled, He said, “It is finished!” (Jn 19:30); and “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit” (Lk 23:46), and bowed His head and laid down His life out of His own free will as nobody really had the power to take it from Him. He submitted to His Father’s will that He who hangs from a tree is cursed (Deuteronomy 21:22-23), redeeming us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us – as it is written, “Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13). However, this applies only to the Jew who comes to believe in and follow after Messiah Yeshua, since the Gentiles never received Torah and therefore never were under the curses of the Law.
Beloved, let your focus be on Yeshua, on the eternal values for which He gave up everything, becoming “poor that we may become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9), that we may obtain eternal life with Him. Do not focus on this life but on the life to come, on what is in the heavenly places. When we are told that by Him we are to reign as “kings” in life this does not refer to owning a fleet of luxury cars, of private planes and several mansions. It means what Yeshua says in Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12: “To him/her who OVERCOMES I will grant…” We are to reign as kings over our flesh, our circumstances, whether in abundance or in want, whether people speaking good or evilly of us. We are to REIGN by being “above” all those things, by knowing how to reside and abide in Him and in the heavenly places (Colossians. 3:2). One of the keys to it is in Philippians 2:[1-4], 5-8 [9-16].
He did not humble Himself to such an extreme and endure what I share here to redeem us merely for THIS life, but for the life to come. We are like day flies, like gnats in this life, it’s come and gone when viewing it with eternity. We are given this life to make the most of it so we may have the hope to live with Him in His Kingdom, with Him in eternity, a “Wonderful Life,” beyond all one can think, ask or imagine.
May He have become reachable for you; may you be able to touch Him, come really near Him, as you come to know, understand and identify with His humanity, with the One He truly was and lived on earth and endured for your sake, my sake, our sake.
Come to love Him above all else, to need Him like you need your every breath and daily bread. Let Him reign in your heart and life, and with Him together reign as kings in life, now and forever. Amen!