(Originally given by Arthur Glass,
and expanded upon by Rabbi Loren Jacobs)
Yeshua is the most special and most important human being who ever lived. Our relationship to God, our destiny, our salvation, our eternal life, all depend on understanding who He is.
His Name Is Wonderful!
In the Holy Scriptures a person’s name is significant. It often tells us about their character, their nature, their essential qualities. Sometimes that name tells us about the purpose that God has for them to accomplish. One of Messiah’s many names is “Peleh”. It is a Hebrew word meaning “something wonderful or amazing, a miracle, a wonder”. It is found in Isaiah 9:6-7: For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful (Peleh), Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. Messiah Yeshua is wondrous, miraculous, amazing, astounding, and everything about Him is full of wonder.
He is wonderful because of His unique nature. He is El Gibor, the Mighty God and yet at the same time He is a yeled yulad lanu, and a ben nee-tan lanu – a child born to us and a son given to us. The Mighty God, who created the entire vast universe, somehow became a child, and took on a human nature and forever joined himself to human nature. That the Mighty God would become a weak infant, and be held in one of Joseph’s hands, is absolutely amazing to me. Messiah Yeshua is forever and fully God, and forever and fully Man. There is no one like Him in this respect. His Divine and human natures are an eternal mystery worth wondering about.
He is wonderful because of His very special birth. The prophet Micah tells us that Messiah, unlike the rest of us, existed before His birth: But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity. Yeshua existed before He was born on Earth, and was the only person who could choose how and where to be born, and He chose to be born not into a rich and influential family, but into a poor Jewish family. The One who experienced all the glories of Heaven didn’t choose to be born in a palace but born in the most humble of circumstances, and then placed in a manger – a feeding trough where animals ate. He did not choose to be born into a free people, but into a nation that was living under occupation.
In spite of this, Yeshua has become the most famous Jewish man who ever lived; more famous than Abraham, Moses, or David; more famous than Freud or Einstein. Prophets predicted His birth. Righteous people were given visions, dreams, and prophetic utterances about His birth. A virgin miraculously conceived to bring forth His birth. Heavenly signs attended His birth, guiding wise men from far away lands to worship Him. Angels announced His birth. Jewish shepherds praised God at His birth.
There are eternal consequences to His birth. Someone observed that ever since the Incarnation, no one can ever say to God, “Creator of the universe, You can’t possibly understand us. You are perfect, eternal, distant, far removed from humanity.” No, He does know. He does understand us. Because of Yeshua’s birth as a human being, God knows very well. He knows us from the inside. And, because of our faith in our great Kinsman Redeemer, we have been joined to the Son of Man, and our Elder Brother, and are now and forever bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh!
He is wonderful due to His place in the Word of God. He Himself is the author of the written Word of God. He Himself is the living Word of God. He is the Ultimate Revealer of God. He is the ultimate communicator of truth, the final Prophet, God’s Messenger and the Message in living form. He is the personification of all that God wants to say to mankind. Yeshua is the final communication of God to mankind. What God wants to communicate to mankind comes to us through Yeshua. He Himself is an essential part of the message that God wants us to understand. He is the main subject of the Word of God.
He is the focus of the prophecies, from the first prophecy in Genesis when Eve was told that a descendant of hers would crush the head of the serpent, to the last book of the Bible where it is written that the testimony of Yeshua is the spirit of prophecy.
So many of the ancient prophecies witness to humanity about Yeshua. In fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah and David, Messiah was Immanuel, God with us, born into humanity. In fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel, Messiah came before 70 A.D. In fulfillment of the prophecy of Micah, He was born in Bethlehem and yet originated from the days of eternity. In fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah, He is Israel’s king who entered Jerusalem triumphantly, yet humbly on a donkey.
In fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, He was rejected by the majority of Israel, especially the leaders. He was silent before His accusers. He was tried and condemned even though He was innocent.
In fulfillment of the prophecies of Micah and Isaiah, Messiah Yeshua was beaten and spit on. In fulfillment of the prophecies of the Psalms, He was mocked and taunted, lots were cast for His garments, and He died by crucifixion.
In fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah and David, Messiah rose from the dead. In fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah, He brought in a New Covenant, unlike the one made at Sinai, which we broke and is in ruins.
He is Israel’s long predicted, long-awaited, long expected Messiah, the Anointed Ruler that God sent to save us, who in Himself fulfills the three offices of prophet, priest and king.
He is the greatest Prophet, who most clearly heard from God and told us the truth, whose teachings are supremely authoritative. He is our chief rabbi, our Teacher who guides us into all truth, our Wonderful Counselor who gives miraculous advice – unfailing in the depths of its wisdom – to everyone who asks Him for it.
He is our High Priest whose priesthood is superior to that of Aaron. He is the one and only Mediator between God and Mankind. He is Jacob’s Ladder, connecting Earth and Heaven. He is our High Priest who offers sacrifice for us, atones for us, reconciles us to God, continues to intercede for us, and who even now prays for us, and forever saves us because of His eternal life.
Not only is He our High Priest, but He is also the Final Sacrifice, enabling us to be reconciled to the Creator from whom the whole world is estranged. He is our sin offering that atones for us, our burnt offering that enables us to be dedicated to God, the peace offering that brings us wholeness, completeness, well-being and peace with God.
He is the Son of Abraham, the Lion of Judah, and the final King of David’s royal line, who will save Israel, gather Israel, protect Israel, rule over Israel and restore true worship to Israel. He will establish peace and righteousness and salvation and the knowledge of God to Israel and the other nations of the world. He will usher in the fullness of the New and Eternal Covenant that will bless Israel and all the families of the Earth.
Not only does Yeshua fulfill the direct prophecies about the Messiah, but also the types, symbols that point us to the Messiah. He is the true Israel, who succeeded where Israel failed. Like Israel, He is God’s Son, but unlike Israel, God’s firstborn son among the nations, the Son of God was always faithful to His Father.
He is our Sabbath Rest, the One who brings true rest to the weary human soul. He is our Passover Lamb who enables God to passover all of our sins forever, saving us from our Egypts of sin and eternal death. He is our Matzah – the Unleavened Bread, our Sinless One, who was victorious over sin and who can break the cycle of sin transmitted from generation to generation. He is our Firstfruits, the First One to be raised from the dead, thereby giving hope that all who believe in Him will likewise be raised from the dead. He is our coming King, who arrival will be heralded by great shofars, who will soon rule over Israel and the nations, and our Yom Kippur Scape-Goat, who brings perfect and final atonement. He is our Sukkah, our Tabernacle into which we are harvested into God’s eternal Kingdom.
He is the true Temple, in which God lives. He is our Aron Kodesh, our Holy Ark, in which the Word of God dwelt, over which the presence of God hovered, and our bronze Mizbeach, our altar which atones for us, our Washbasin which cleans us so we can serve God, our golden Menorah which sheds the light on us, our Bread of the Presence which feeds us, our Golden Altar which enables our prayers and praises to ascend and be accepted by God.
He is the Seed of the Woman who will destroy the serpent, and undo all the damage done by the adversary. He is the Rock that was smitten, providing us with the mayim chaim – the living water of everlasting life, so that our thirst for God, for life, for meaning, is forever quenched. He is the Bread of Life that came down out of Heaven, giving life to the world, infinitely better than the mannah that our fathers ate in the wilderness, since they died.
He is the Star that arises from Jacob, shining the light of Heaven on those living in darkness, confusion and the shadow of death; He is the Branch that brings forth the fruit of everlasting life, so that believing in Him is like eating from the Tree of Life. He is the Stone that the builders rejected, but the Stone that God set firmly in place to be the foundation of all that God is building: the Cornerstone which will support our lives eternally.
He is the Messenger of the New Covenant, announcing the formation of a new and better relationship with God, and is Himself the One who made that new agreement between God and man possible.
In Genesis He is Noah’s Ark which saves us from destruction. He is the Seed of Abraham through whom the whole world will be blessed. In Exodus He is the Passover Lamb. In Leviticus He is the Yom Kippur Atonement, and our ultimate High Priest. He fulfills the Ark of the Covenant, the Temple, the Sacrifices and the Holidays. In Numbers, He is the rock that was smitten that provided water for us to drink, and the star to arise from Jacob. In Deuteronomy, He is the prophet greater than Moses. In Joshua, He is the Captain of the Lord of Hosts. In Judges, He is the Angel of the Lord. In the book of Ruth, He is the kinsman redeemer. In Samuel, Kings and Chronicles He is the ultimate King of David’s line. Throughout the Psalms, Proverbs and other wisdom literature, He is the wisdom of God. Throughout the prophets He is the coming Messiah, the Savior, the Branch, the Stone that the builders rejected and Adonai Tzidkaynu (the Lord who makes us righteous).
In Hebrew, final letters are always at the end of words. But in a unique instance, a final letter (mem sofit) is at the beginning of the word “increase” (marbay in Isaiah 9:7)! This indicates that when He begins to rule on the throne of David, His rule will increase and never end. When Messiah Yeshua is involved, even the grammatical rules of Scripture do wonderful things!
Yeshua is wonderful because of His unparalleled power. John declared of Him: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (two Persons – equal in nature, and yet separate and distinct as to their Person). He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
Also writing about Him, Rabbi Paul asserted: By Him, all things were created both in the Heavens and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created by Yeshua and for Yeshua. Yeshua is the Creator of the host of angelic beings, the billions of galaxies with their trillions of stars, this planet and everything on it, including this city and all its people.
If the creation of living things been left to me, maybe I would have created a cow, a sheep, a tree, a plant or two, and that would have been it. It is estimated that there are close to an amazing two millions species of life on Earth. There are more than 287,655 kinds of plants, 74,000-120,000 fungi; 10,000 lichens; 1,250,000 species of animals. This number of living species does not include bacteria which alone may number in the millions. Yeshua created this amazing variety of life!
If you ever get a sense of awe when you experience the greatness and magnificence of nature, or are amazed when you consider anything from the smallest subatomic particle to the most distant galaxies, you are getting a glimmer of the power and wonder of its Creator – Messiah Yeshua.
Not only is Yeshua the Creator, but He is the Sustainer of everything that exists. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He upholds all things by the word of His power. Yeshua’s power is literally holding together the all the atoms and subatomic particles of the universe and everything in it! He is sustaining the entire universe right now.
Every moment that you exist, every breath that you breathe, every beat of your heart, depends on Him! Foolish mortal! How dare you resist Him, deny Him, speak ill of Him, refuse to believe in Him or obey Him or serve Him!
Yeshua is wonderful because of His extraordinary teachings. He taught with beauty, with simplicity and with originality. He rejected the world’s values, and turned the world’s values upside down, saying “blessed are the poor,” not “blessed are the rich;” “blessed are the gentle” not “blessed are the aggressive and the powerful;” “blessed are the merciful”not “blessed are the conquerors;” and “blessed are those who mourn” over their own sins, who grieve that humanity is so broken, who are saddened by our alienation from God, and our loss of eternal life – not blessed are those who seek their own personal happiness.
Yeshua is wonderful because of the way He taught. He taught with unusual authority. He never quoted other rabbis. Instead He said, “I say to you” because there was no higher authority to which He could refer! The multitudes were amazed at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes who quote some other rabbi who quoted some other rabbi. His teaching was so wonderful that one time those sent to arrest Him came back and announced that they couldn’t arrest Him, for “never did a man speak the way this man speaks.“
He is wonderful because of the incredible claims He made about Himself. He claimed to be the promised Messiah. He claimed that anyone who had seen Him had seen God. He claimed to have existed before Abraham. He claimed to have life within Himself – the same kind of self-existing, eternal life that God the Father has. He claimed that He and His Father were one. He claimed divine authority to forgive humanity’s sins. He claimed that He would be the final Judge of mankind. He claimed that apart from people trusting Him and believing Him, they would not experience salvation, and that no human being could come to God apart from Him. He claimed that He could give eternal life to other human beings. And, He claimed that God would prove the truth of His assertions by raising Him from the dead on the third day!
When confronted by claims of this magnitude, we have three choices: either to conclude that Yeshua was a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. C. S. Lewis put it this way: “Either Jesus is a mad man, on a par with a man who claims to be a poached egg – out of his mind, uttering meaningless, garbled, rambling, megalomaniacal statements – or He is t