Matthew 9 – A Man with Palsy Healed & The Sephardic

Finger Pointing UpEarlier I has pointed out three groups that were against Jesus, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Sanhedrin. 

Back in the 60s there were some pretty radical groups in the United States and around the world.  They had radical Jews back in Jesus’ time (and they’re still around), so tomorrow we’ll look at the…

Matthew 9
A Man with Palsy Healed

1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.

1 Judaism
Judaism teaches to only eat certain foods, Kosher food. But God told Peter otherwise:
“I (Peter) was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, a certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me:

Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.

But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.

But the voice answered me again from heaven, what God hat cleansed that call not thou common (Acts 11:5-9).

Of course the people that abide by the rules of Judaism don’t believe that Jesus is God so they wouldn’t believe what Peter said. Yet, God even told Noah to eat whatever he wants:

“Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things (Gen 9:3).

“Passed over” – the northern end of the sea of Galilee.

“His own city” – Capernaum.

2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.

“Blasphemeth” – here the term includes usurping God’s prerogative to forgive sins, as the Catholics does with their confession box.  Yet, Jesus didn’t actually usurp God (Jn 10:30), but the Catholics do, or at least they think they do.

4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

7 And he arose, and departed to his house.

8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

“Publicans” – see notes on 5:46.

11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

2 The following
The following comes directly from the Temple Emanu-El and it is pure evil.
The Importance of Prayer
Worship is the outpouring of the human soul in the service of the Divine. As the synagogue was the structural invention of Judaism, so the concept and practice of prayer was an innovation of Judaism. It has a place both in the life of the individual and in the life of the community.

Prayer within the context of the community – t’fillah b’tzibbur – is the ideal form of Jewish worship. Judaism recognizes that prayer is the sense of holiness best felt and appreciated within the context and environment of fellow worshippers.

More so, prayer in this manner connects us to the terrestrial community around us, and it relates us to the Heavenly community beyond us.

The environment and appreciation of prayer and worship should not be confused with the enjoyment of entertainment or the experience of therapy. As God is understood as total otherness, so the act of worship can be sensed as an experience of otherness.

That all sounds pretty good actually, but if you will truly pay attention to it, especially the 3rd paragraph, they are teaching that it is proper and necessary to worship each other.

They don’t even accept Jesus and they have put God on a pedestal as though He is just an icon.
The Jews live by the traditions of the Old Testament, if it fits into their schedule, when Jesus told them not to do that (Matt 15:1-9).

“I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners” – no one on earth is righteous, but there are many self-righteous people and don’t realize they need to be saved, but an admitted sinner does.

14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?

15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bride chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.

16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.

17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

“New bottles” – or “new wineskins.”  In ancient times goatskins were used to hold wine.  As the fresh grape juice fermented, the wine would expand and the new wineskin would stretch.  But a used skin, already stretched, would break.  Jesus brings a newness that cannot be confined within the old forms.

18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.

“Certain ruler” – from the books of Mark and Luke we know the official was Jairus.

19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.

20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:

21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

23 And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,

“Minstrels” – musicians hired to play in mourning ceremonies.

“People making a noise” mourners hired to wail and lament.3 2

24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.

25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.

26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.

27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.

“Blind men” – Isaiah predicted Jesus healing the blind in the Messianic age (Is 35:4).

“Son of David” – a popular Jewish title for the coming Messaih.

28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.

429 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.

31 But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.

32 As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.

“Dumb man” – Isaiah also predicted that the mute would talk in the Messianic age (Is 35:6).

33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.

34 But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.

“Prince of devils” – Satan, the ruler of demons ; the Hebrew epithet Baal-Zebub (“lord of the flies”) is a parody on and mockery of the Hebrew name Baal-Zebul (“Exalted Baal” or “Prince Baal”).  See Jud 10:6.  Satan is never called “King” of anything, because he’s just a want-a-be.

35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.5 2

36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few;

38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.


Jewish Meals and Meal Customs

The references to dining and meals in the New Testament, and especially in the Gospels combine features of Greco-Roman practice’ with Jewish religious tradition. From Greco-Roman customs we see the following:

6 Israel’s
Israel’s culinary traditions comprise foods and cooking methods that span three thousand years of history. Over that time, these traditions have been shaped by influences from Asia, Africa and Europe, and religious and ethnic influences have resulted in a culinary melting pot. Biblical and archaeological records provide insight into the culinary life of the region as far back as 968 BCE, in the days of the kings of ancient Israel.

During the Second Temple period (516 B.C. to 70 A.D.), Hellenistic and Roman culture heavily influenced cuisine, particularly of the priests and aristocracy of Jerusalem. Elaborate meals were served that included piquant entrées and alcoholic drinks, fish, meat, pickled and fresh vegetables, olives, and tart or sweet fruits.

♦ Communal meals, or banquets, provided an important social and religious venue for defining and experiencing fellowship (Matt 9:10, 11:19).

♦ The meal was followed by a period of music or extended conversation.

♦ The normal posture for eating was reclining one’s side (Lk 7:36; 22:14).

The majority of the dietary practices we see in the Gospels, however, were derived from Judaism. From Jewish religious teachers we see the following:

♦ The holiness of meals within Judaism was extended through interpretation to the complex system of the kosher laws.

Acceptable animals were those that both chewed the cud and had cloven hoofs.

Fish possessing scales and fins, as well as certain types of birds, were also permitted.

The Bible prohibited certain types of food deemed to be pagan or acquired by cruel means.  This included the consumption of meat taken from a still living animal or from one found dead, the drinking of blood or the boiling of a kid in its mother’s milk.

♦ The Biblical injunction against fellowship with sinners (Ps 1:1; Prov 13:20; 14:7) was developed in Jewish tradition as a warning against improper or excessively intimate association with the wicked, especially at mealtimes (1 Cor 15:33).

♦ The demands of the Levitical system of dietary purity greatly restricted the possibility of shared meals between Jews and Gentiles (Acts 10:28; Gal 2:12).

♦ The Pharisees, known for their exacting interpretation of scripture, applied the even higher  purity restrictions of the temple to their own table fellowship. In this way they attempted to eat their meals in a state of ritual purity appropriate for priests as a way of sanctifying all of life to God.

The Significance of
the New Testament Dietary Practices

Interpreters have given a variety of explanations for Jewish dietary laws. Some contend that they were primarily intended for hygiene and good health, while others argue that the avoidance of idolatrous practices was the main reason for kosher laws.

7 The Sephardic
The Sephardic culture influenced the Spanish customs and cuisine.
“Sephardic“ is a term used to describe Jewish people who descended from the Jews who were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492. In fact, even today the Hebrew word for Spain is “Sepharad”.

The Sephardic culture influenced Spanish culture in many ways, especially in regards to Spanish cuisine. As a result, many Sephardic recipes can be found among those from the Mediterranean region. Sephardic Jews recipes usually consist entirely of kosher foods although some Jewish recipes may vary especially during Pesaj, when some vegetable gums are used to prepare certain Sephardic foods.

One of the Sephardic food customs that has remained strong in Spain is the tradition of snacking on appetizers during family gatherings or holidays. They are known as “mezé,” hors d’oeuvres that are usually accompanied by raki, a liquor flavored with anise, similar to pastis or absinthe. Common Sephardic hors d’oeuvres include cheese dumplings, yogurt soup, fried pumpkin, soused fish, etc.

Still others simply suggest that these laws functioned as an artificial boundary to remind Jews that they were different from Gentiles. Most Jews seem to have believed these elaborate restrictions to have been a concrete, daily expression of holiness (Lev 11:44-45).

This was also expressed in Jewish meals through the act of tithing all means of sustenance, the recitation of blessings before and after each meal (Deut 8:10; Jn 6:11; 1 Cor 11:24) and the marking of each festival on the liturgical calendar through the eating of distinctive foods prepared in a distinctive manner.

The observance of the dietary laws acquired new significance during the Maccabean era when

“Many in Israel stood firm and were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food. They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food or to profane the holy covenant (1 Me 1:62-63).

This historical reality, together with inherited prophetic imagery, led to the notion of a great Messianic banquet in which the righteous would enjoy the hospitality of God in the age to come (Isa 25:6-8; Matt 22:1-10; Rev 19:9-17).

…Zealots and the Essenes.

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