Friday, April 13, 2018

Who Do You Say I Am?

By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
Moed Ministries International

The video version of this teaching is available at:

Scripture readings for this teaching:
Mark 7:31 – 9:1 (Matthew 15:29-16:28; Luke 9:18-27)

As Yeshua’s ministry progressed, the crowds around Him grew larger and larger. It became more difficult for Him to take His disciples apart from the multitude to teach them. Yeshua first took His disciples to the region of Tyre and Sidon. When He was inevitably found, He healed the daughter of a Canaanite. Afterwards, Yeshua moved through the wilderness area of the Decapolis region to approach the Sea of Galilee from the east side.

Mark 7:31 NKJV Again, departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon, He came through the midst of the region of Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee.

What was Yeshua’s primary goal during this phase of His ministry? How did Yeshua accomplish this goal?

When Yeshua healed the daughter of the Canaanite woman, He got the attention of His disciples. The disciples’ attitude when the woman approached Yeshua reveals their prejudice and narrow focus.

Matthew 15:22-23 NKJV And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed." But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, "Send her away, for she cries out after us."

The woman is persistent however and begs even for the “leftovers” of Yeshua’s attention.

Matthew 15:26-28 NKJV But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Even the “leftovers” from Yeshua’s table have the power to heal! Even the Canaanites can exhibit faith and receive from the master. Yeshua had previously healed the servant of a Roman centurion who was described as a friend of the Jewish people, but now, Yeshua healed the daughter of the hated Canaanite race. This definitely got the attention of the disciples and sets up Yeshua’s agenda for the next days. The disciples’ ears were ready to hear and their eyes were ready to see what Yeshua wanted to show them!

When Yeshua arrived back at the Sea of Galilee, a deaf and speech impaired man was brought to Him.

Mark 7:32-34 NKJV Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. 33 And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened."

Yeshua took the man aside from the multitude. He wasn’t interested in making a big display. In fact, after healing the man, Yeshua will instruct him to say nothing about his healing.

Mark 7:36 NKJV Then He commanded them that they should tell no one; but the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it.

Yeshua, also, didn’t just speak to heal the man; He put His fingers in the man’s ears and put His spit on the man’s tongue. I’m reminded of how we use hand motions to illustrate songs or sayings. In particular, when we speak the saying, “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil,” we first cover our ears, then our eyes and then our mouth or tongue. Yeshua is not closing this man’s ears and mouth; He is opening them to hear and to speak. Those who witnessed this healing marveled!

Mark 7:37 NKJV And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak."

The crowds are seeing that Yeshua is fulfilling the words of the prophet Isaiah about the time when God would send salvation to His people.

Isaiah 35:4-5 NKJV Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you." 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

Yeshua opened the ears of the deaf, but He didn’t open his ears so he could ear, Yeshua looked to heaven and He sighed as He healed the man. Why did Yeshua look to heaven and sigh? Why is this detail included in Mark’s account? There is a parallel between this healing and Yeshua’s instructing His disciples. He took His disciples aside just like He took this man aside. He was teaching His disciples about who He was and what His mission was. At that time, although Peter had confessed that he believed Yeshua had the answer to eternal life after the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, they were still missing something. Their ears were not opened and they did not hear.

The story of Yeshua opening the ears of the deaf man quickly spread through the region and the crowds once more found Yeshua and gathered around Him.

Mark 8:1-2 NKJV In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them, "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat.

This was a familiar situation! Yeshua had dealt with this before when He fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fish. The disciples ask Yeshua how He will feed such a large group of people with only the resources they have with them.

Mark 8:4-5 NKJV Then His disciples answered Him, "How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?" He asked them, "How many loaves do you have?" And they said, "Seven."

It seems that the disciples had already inventoried their supplies and were ready with an answer. Perhaps, their question was not one of doubt, but of hope that He would duplicate the miracle of the feeding the five thousand. This even of feeding the four thousand followed the same pattern as that of feeding the five thousand. Yeshua had the multitude sit on the ground. He took the bread and the few small fish that they had, gave thanks to God, broke the bread and had the disciples pass out the food.

Mark 8:6-10 NKJV So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multitude. They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them. So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments. Now those who had eaten were about four thousand. And He sent them away, immediately got into the boat with His disciples, and came to the region of Dalmanutha.

As with the feeding the five thousand, everyone was able to eat until they were satisfied and there was ample food leftover. This event was not too long after the Canaanite woman said she was satisfied to eat the crumbs that fell from the master’s table. The “crumbs” leftover after Yeshua fed and satisfied the hunger of the four thousand amounted to seven baskets full! The number seven is the number of spiritual completion. The fact that there were seven baskets leftover may imply that even after satisfying the spiritual hunger of the Jews, there is still a spiritual completion leftover. Others have connected the seven baskets with the number seventy which is the number of the nations symbolizing that Yeshua extends His feeding to the Gentiles after satisfying the hunger of the Jews. Paul writes that salvation is for both the Jew and the Gentile.

Romans 1:16 NKJV For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

The parallels with feeding the five thousand continue. After providing food for the multitude, Yeshua left the area by boat. Then, after arriving at His destination, He is confronted by a group of people demanding a sign. This time, it is a group of Pharisees who confront Him.

Mark 8:11-12 NKJV Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation."

There is that sigh again! After all the signs that Yeshua had already done, they seek another sign. Yeshua refuses their demand for a sign. Matthew records that Yeshua chastised them for their inability to recognize the signs they have been given.

Matthew 16:2-3 NKJV He answered and said to them, "When it is evening you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red'; "and in the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.

Yeshua did give them signs, many signs, but the Pharisees did not recognize a single one. John states that there were so many signs, he couldn’t write them all in his book!

John 21:25 NKJV And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

They were given signs, but they didn’t see or hear. The prophet Isaiah says that they would continue to miss the signs as long as their hearts were hard.

Isaiah 6:9-10 NKJV And He said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' "Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed."

Yeshua goes on to tell them that the only sign they will receive is the sign of Jonah, the sign of His resurrection.

Matthew 16:4 NKJV "A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." And He left them and departed.

Yeshua and His disciples get back in their boat to journey to Bethsaida. On their way they seem to have gotten hungry and realize that they didn’t bring any bread to eat. Yeshua sees this as a teachable moment.

Mark 8:14-15 NKJV Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat. Then He charged them, saying, "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod."

Unfortunately, the disciples totally miss the point! They think Yeshua is chastising them for forgetting to bring bread. But Yeshua is referring to the conversation they had just had with the Pharisees.

Mark 8:17-18 NKJV But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, "Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? "Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?

He questions whether they are as blind and deaf as the Pharisees and as hard of heart. Don’t they see the signs that Yeshua has done? Don’t they hear the words of Isaiah as Yeshua fulfills them? Yeshua reminds them of feeding the five thousand and the four thousand.

Mark 8:19-21 NKJV "When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?" They said to Him, "Twelve." "Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?" And they said, "Seven." So He said to them, "How is it you do not understand?"

He reminded them that He provided abundantly above their needs with first twelve and then seven baskets left over!

Before feeding the four thousand, Yeshua had opened the ears and loosened the tongue of a man who couldn’t hear or speak. Now, Yeshua will heal a blind man.

Mark 8:23-25 NKJV So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, "I see men like trees, walking." Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.

The Thomas Nelson NKJV Study Bible comments on these verses:

Jesus’ healing of the blind man in stages paralleled the disciples’ imperfect perception of Jesus. Like the man, they were no longer blind, but they could not see clearly either. Only the Holy Spirit could clear the vision.[1]

After this event, Yeshua wanted to know if the disciples had begun to see. Did they see the fulfillment of Isaiah yet?

Isaiah 32:1-4 NKJV Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, And princes will rule with justice. A man will be as a hiding place from the wind, And a cover from the tempest, As rivers of water in a dry place, As the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. The eyes of those who see will not be dim, And the ears of those who hear will listen. Also the heart of the rash will understand knowledge, And the tongue of the stammerers will be ready to speak plainly.

Yeshua begins the conversation asking who the people say He is. Then He asks who they say He is.

Matthew 16:15-17 NKJV He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Yeshua’s answer reveals that this understanding is now deeper than it was when Peter first proclaimed that Yeshua was the Messiah. Yeshua declares that He will build His congregation on Peter. Or does He? Let’s look a little closer!

Matthew 16:18 NKJV "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Peter’s name is really Simon but Yeshua calls him Peter or “Petros” in the Greek and “Kefa” in Aramaic. The name “Petros,” #4074 in Strong’s Concordance means a piece of rock. There is that interesting word play between Peter’s name and the rock upon which Yeshua will build His congregation. But why does Yeshua declare at that time the Simon’s name is now Peter or Petros? It is in response to Peter’s declaration of faith!

In the Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua talks about two builders. One builder is wise and builds his house on the rock while the other builder is foolish and builds his house on the sand. The one who is wise is described as hearing Yeshua’s words and doing them.

Matthew 7:24-25 NKJV  "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

Peter finally really heard the words of Yeshua; his ears had been opened. He responded to Yeshua’s words in faith, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”

Isaiah also spoke of a rock. That rock was Abraham, the father of faith. The rock was the promise that through Abraham all nations would be blessed!

Isaiah 51:1-2, 4-5 NKJV "Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, You who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, And to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.  Look to Abraham your father, And to Sarah who bore you; For I called him alone, And blessed him and increased him."… "Listen to Me, My people; And give ear to Me, O My nation: For law will proceed from Me, And I will make My justice rest As a light of the peoples. My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, And My arms will judge the peoples; The coastlands will wait upon Me, And on My arm they will trust.

The rock Yeshua referred to was not Peter; it was his profession of faith in the Messiah, the Comfort of Israel, the Righteous King; God’s salvation! It was a faith grounded on the rock that tribulation and trials could not cause to fall!

Yeshua states that the gates of Hades could not prevail against His congregation founded on such faith! Hades is a Greek word for the Hebrew concept of the place of the dead. In Hebrew, this word would be “Sheol” #7592 meaning the world of the dead, or the grave. Yeshua is stating the those with this faith, like Peter, cannot be kept in the grave. Peter had earlier confessed the Yeshua had the words of eternal life.

John 6:68 NKJV But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

Yeshua has now achieved His purpose. His disciples have a deeper understanding of who He is and are now ready to hear how Yeshua will achieve that purpose. But Yeshua tells His disciples not to tell anyone that He is the Messiah. It is not yet time for everyone to know. The reason for that is, of course, that He is not coming as the conquering king. He is coming to suffer and die.

Matthew 16:21 NKJV From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

This stage of Yeshua’s ministry is now complete and the final stage is about to begin. Yeshua begins to teach His disciples that He must become the suffering servant Messiah before He can be the reigning King. This is a truth that they will not fully understand until His resurrection. Yeshua has begun His final journey to the cross.

Study Questions:

2. How do the events of healing the deaf man and the blind man “bookend” feeding the 4000?

3. In Ruth 2:14-18, Ruth ate until she was satisfied, then gave to Naomi and she ate and was satisfied. The Hebrew word in these verses is #7646.  obs saba`, saw-bah' meaning to sate, i.e. fill to satisfaction (literally or figuratively):--have enough, fill (full, self, with), be (to the) full (of), have plenty of, be satiate. Compare this situation to the 4000 eating until they were satisfied and having abundant leftovers.

4. Matthew 16:19 says that Yeshua gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven to Peter. The context of the teaching in Matthew 7 about the house built on the rock is in the context of who can enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 7:21-27) In what way, then does Peter have the keys to the kingdom of heaven?

5. Yeshua goes further in Matthew 16:19 and says that Peter has the authority to bind or loosen. In the context of the kingdom of heaven, what is Yeshua referring to?

6. We quoted from Isaiah 35 and Isaiah 51 in this teaching. Read Isaiah 35:1-1-10 and Isaiah 51:1-11. How does the comparison of these two passages connect Yeshua healing the deaf man and the blind man with Peter’s declaration of faith and Yeshua declaring that His congregation will be founded on the rock?

© 2018 Moed Ministries International. All rights reserved

[1] NKJV Study Bible, Earl D. Radmacher, Th.D, Ronald B Allen, Th.D, H. Wayne House, Th.D. ©1197, 2007 Thomas Nelson, Inc. Page 1566.

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