Many interesting people have lived during the past 6,000 years. My brother-in-law David loves reading biographies, learning about some of those interesting people and the interesting things they have said and done.
Of all the people who have lived, I’m most interested in one – Yeshua. There are so many things I like about Him. Here are some that come from the biography written about Him by His disciple Matthew.
I like Yeshua’s genealogy: Many people have distinguished genealogies, like the royal family of Britain. Yeshua has the most distinguished genealogy of all. He is a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. He is not only a member of the Chosen People, but is part of Israel’s ruling family. That’s very important because the Messiah had to be a descendant of David’s royal line.
I like that Yeshua is the creator all things and the heir of all things, and yet, was not born into a rich family, but into a poor family. That encourages me because there are far more poor people in the world than rich people, and because Yeshua lived the greatest life of anyone, and He did so as a poor man. This liberates me from the desire to have to get rich to lead a meaningful life.
I like that before Yeshua was born, an angel announced His birth to Joseph. That’s unusual. That let’s us know that Yeshua is very special.
I like Yeshua’s unusual birth. The Holy Spirit made it possible for a virgin to become pregnant with Him. Yeshua’ virgin birth is unique and that too makes Yeshua very special.
Many people have significant names. I like Yeshua’s name because it tells us the main purpose of His mission to Earth. An angel instructed Joseph to name Him Yeshua, because he will save his people from their sins. Being saved from our sins is our greatest need, and Yeshua alone is able to do that. And He still wants to save people from their sins – but since He is in Heaven, He has entrusted that mission to us. May we be faithful to that mission. Amen?
I like that Yeshua is also called Immanuel, which means God With Us – because that is who He is – God. He is not the Father With Us, taking on a body and living among us, but Yeshua is the divine Son of God, eternal, uncreated with us.
I like that wise men from the East made a very long trip to see and worship the young king of the Jews. This foreshadows the day when all the peoples of the world will come to Jerusalem and worship the king of the Jews.
I like that the heavens were involved in Yeshua’s birth. A star rose that guided the wise men to Him. This too lets us know that Yeshua’s birth was very special, and that Yeshua is very special.
I like that God the Father rescued His Son from Herod’s plot to kill the young king of the Jews. God is greater than Satan. Good will overcome evil. Life will swallow death.
I like Yeshua’s baptism. Yeshua had a baptism like no other. The Spirit of God descended like a dove and rested on Him, and the Father’s voice from Heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” It’s very rare for God to speak from Heaven. It’s very rare for the Holy Spirit to manifest Himself in a physical way. This lets us know that Yeshua’s baptism is very special, and that Yeshua is very special.
I like the way Yeshua was tested by Satan in the wilderness and resisted every temptation. He is the only human being who never yielded to temptation, who never sinned, who lived a perfect life. This too makes Yeshua very special.
I like Yeshua’s mastery of the Word of God. His mastery of the Word of God was amazing. He is the greatest Rabbi, the greatest teacher who ever lived.
I like the way Yeshua fulfilled the Bible prophecies, like the one from Isaiah: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles – the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Yeshua is that great light that dawned in Galilee. None of the other religions of the world have prophecies about their leaders like we do about Yeshua. That too makes Yeshua very special.
I like the message Yeshua proclaimed. It was simple, yet powerful: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near. God the Father is the High King of Heaven, and God the Son is the King under the High King. With the arrival of Yeshua, the kingdom of Heaven had indeed come near – much nearer than it had ever come before. Therefore the Jewish people needed to repent, to turn from our sins and errors and acknowledge Yeshua as the King. We still do. And the Messiah’s followers still need to proclaim the same message.
I like the way Yeshua called some of His first disciples, who were fishermen, to follow Him: Come, follow Me and I will send you out to fish for people. Simple. Compelling. Powerful. And they immediately left the boat and their father and followed Him – which teaches us that we need to be willing to leave all and follow Him; and that we too are to fish for people.
I like what characterized Yeshua’s ministry: He went throughout Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people, including those who were demon-possessed. And that is what we are to be doing: proclaiming the message about Him; educating people about the Word of God; bringing healing to a sick world.
I like Yeshua’s great sermon on the mount because His values are so different and so much better than the values of a corrupt world – something I immediately understood when I first read it, even before I became a believer.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit” – who are aware of their spiritual poverty, which forces them to look to God to provide for their spiritual inadequacy – not blessed are the rich in spirit – who presume they are doing well and right with God when they are not doing well and are not right with God and will lose everything.
“Blessed are those who mourn – who grieve that humanity is so broken, so full of sin; who are saddened by our alienation from God and our loss of eternal life, and are motivated to do something to change things – for they will be comforted” – not blessed are those who pursue a life of fun and entertainment and pleasure.
“Blessed are the meek” – the kind and gentle, who are considerate of others – not “blessed are the aggressive and those who want to dominate others.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” – who desperately want to be in a right relationship with God and do the right things – not blessed are those who want wealth, fun, power, fame, status.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted and insulted for courageously standing for God and for the truth” – not blessed are those who are popular and praised by the majority.
In the great sermon on the mount, I like the way Yeshua corrected our focus on the external observance of the Law, to its proper internal focus, like: You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.”But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
I like that Yeshua taught us how to pray by giving us this great prayer: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. We pray that God and His honor and His kingdom and His will come first. Then we pray for our daily needs, and for our sins to be forgiven; and to withstand temptation. Simple. Powerful.
I like that Yeshua taught us to not worry and to trust God to meet our needs. Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Believing this frees us from worry and enables us to seek God first – which is the right way to live.
I like the way Yeshua touched and healed a leper. No other rabbi would have touched a leper. No other rabbi was able to heal a leper. This lets us know that Yeshua is full of compassion and can heal humanity physically and spiritually, because we are all spiritual lepers.
I like the way Yeshua interacted with a Roman Centurion who had great faith, and healed his servant. This foreshadows the grafting in of the nations so that Jew and Gentile become one new man, a new united humanity. Yeshua reinforced this by telling us that a time is coming when many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. We need to love all peoples and help bring them to that feast.
I like that Yeshua didn’t make it easy for people to follow Him. He demanded total commitment: A teacher of the law came to him and said, “Rabbi, I will follow you wherever you go.” Yeshua replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Yeshua told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” Yeshua wants that same kind of radical commitment from each one of us.
I like that when He was crossing the Kinneret, the lake of the Galilee, and the disciples were afraid they were going to die because of a sudden, dangerous storm, Yeshua rebuked the winds and the waves, and it became completely calm. That lets us know that Yeshua is the Lord of nature, and nature recognizes and submits to its Lord. If the winds and waves, which have no intelligence, recognize and submit to their Lord, how much more should we?
I like the way Yeshua gave permission to the demons who were in the two demon-possessed men, for them to go into a herd of pigs. Better pigs than people; and what were a herd of pigs doing in the holy land anyway? This lets us know that Yeshua has more authority than the demons, and we need Someone who has more authority than the demons to free us from the dominion of Satan and the demons. Only Yeshua can do that.
I like that Yeshua forgave the sins of the paralyzed man, and then, by healing him, demonstrated that He had the authority to forgive sins – which is something that only God can do. Yeshua healed the paralyzed man physically and spiritually. Yeshua is the One who can heal all of us – physically and spiritually – when we know who He is and become loyal to Him – because He is God.
I like that Yeshua chose men to be His disciples who were not religious leaders, but ordinary people whom He could teach; and that when He was done with them, these men were far greater than the other religious leaders of their day. The way to spiritual greatness of is to be with Yeshua and learn from Yeshua – and we too can become that with the help of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God and Messiah’s Community.
I like that Yeshua chose Matthew to become His disciple: He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. Matthew was a tax collector, and tax collectors were considered to be collaborators of the Roman oppressors and were despised. This lets us know that Yeshua is willing and able to take bad people and transform them into great men of God – like He did with Matthew.
I like the way Yeshua chose Matthew to become His disciple: “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. Simple. Powerful. Compelling. Another reminder that we need to be willing to leave everything and follow Yeshua, like Matthew did.
I like that, unlike the other religious leaders, Yeshua related to notorious sinners. While having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples – which drove the other religious leaders crazy. This teaches us that we need to relate to not just good people, acceptable people, but unacceptable people – and help them find Yeshua.
I like that on the way to bringing back to life the daughter of a synagogue leader, Yeshua healed the woman who was bleeding for twelve years who came up behind Him and touched the tzittzit – the fringes of his cloak. Then, after bringing the daughter of the synagogue leader back to life, He healed two men who were blind; and then removed a demon from a man who was unable to speak, so that the man spoke. All this may have happened on the same day. This lets us know that Yeshua is the One who can heal all of the diseases of humanity – spiritual diseases, physical diseases, physical disabilities, even death.
I like that Yeshua trained His disciples and then sent them out to do the same things He was doing. And that is what He wants to do with us – train us and have us proclaim the Good News and help people.
I like that Yeshua warned His disciples that being His follower wasn’t easy. It means being part of a persecuted minority. It means a life of rejection – but a blessed life, and a life worth living, and a life worth choosing.
I like Yeshua’s demand that to be His disciple, He must come first – before everyone and everything. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. I like Yeshua’s demand that He must come first, because I know it’s right; and although I do not find it easy to fulfill His demand – it causes me to strive to put Him first; and to appreciate God’s grace even more.
I like why Yeshua praised His Father: I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yeshua’s praise frees me from the desire to have to impress people with my wisdom and knowledge and educational achievements and helps me pursue child-like faith and simply believe everything in the Bible.
I like what Yeshua revealed about His relationship to His Father: All things have been committed to me by my Father. Wow – that’s a lot of things. That’s a lot of power and authority; and wealth beyond measuring. And that’s Someone who loves me and wants to enrich my life. Wow.
And there’s this: No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Wow. Only the Messiah really knows and understands God the way He should be known and understood, and only those people to whom the Messiah chooses to reveal the Father will ever know and understand God the way they need to – in order to be saved. Son of God, thank You for revealing Yourself to me and choosing me and helping me to know the Father!
I like Yeshua’s promise to give rest to the weary: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Life in a fallen world that is satanically controlled and is in rebellion against God and is under a curse wears us down and tires us out. Messiah is able to counteract that and give rest, a deep, refreshing rest, a spiritual rest, to those who become His disciples.
I like that when someone told Him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” That means that I can have the closest kind of relationship to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – which makes me a very special and important person.
These are some of the things I like about Yeshua from the book written by Matthew.
Our Father in Heaven, please give us a greater love for Yeshua; a greater appreciation for Yeshua. Fill us with the Spirit of Yeshua. Transform us into the image of Yeshua. Make us more like Yeshua. Help us be very close to Yeshua. Help us fulfill the ongoing mission of Yeshua that He has entrusted to us.