3_Faith of Our Fathers_ABRAHAM [Gen 17-20]
Holy By Promise, Living On the Promise
Gen 17:1-8, 15-22 –– Names are very significant in the Tenakh — they frequently have a specific representative meaning that reflects God’s plan for the person. Moses, whose Hebrew name Moishe, means “drawn up,” was both drawn up out of the Nile and put on a princely track in Egypt, but 80 years later was drawn up out of his self-imposed exile in Midian to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Jacob/Ya’akov was renamed Israel/Yisroel because he contended with God to gain His blessing. Here, Abram is “promoted” to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah — in both cases signifying the enormous impact their faith and their offspring would have on mankind. Isaac is also named directly by the LORD — with the odd name “He laughs” — reflecting both Abram and Sarai’s laughing at the prospect that they would have a child when Abraham would be 100 years old, and looking forward to the joyful laughter both would share when God fulfilled His promise through the birth of Isaac. Isaac’s miraculous birth demonstrated God’s absolute control over the process of life and death.
Two thousand years ago Yeshua (Jesus) rode the foal of a donkey into Jerusalem. On that day many in Israel seemed to understand the significance of this event. The Prophet Zechariah predicted 500 years before that the Melekh (King) would come to Zion riding on a donkey’s colt (Zech.9:9). Yeshua at that moment was heralded like a rock star. Adulations of Hosanna to the son of David cascaded in the streets as Yeshua rode into Jerusalem and made his way to the Temple. The Jewish people looked to Him to deliver them from Roman bondage and at the same time make all of THEM great among the nations. They praised the Yeshua of their expectations. They saw Rome as their problem while Yeshua saw sin as their problem. This great feeling and momentous time in Jerusalem would not last—even that day. As Yeshua entered the Temple grounds and as the crowd looked forward to His words that would restore Israel to greatness Yeshua instead blasted the Temple merchants for making the house of prayer an open air marketplace and a crooked one, at that. With Yeshua in Jerusalem for the Passover feast, Yeshua’s enemies in the Pharisee-dominated Sanhedrin devised their plan. Unusually, they faced no opposition from the Sadducees who dominated the Priesthood and thus the Temple and the commerce there. They had no interest in putting up with an upstart from Galilee who could rally Jewish throngs and bring the fist of Rome against Israel. Together they were able to exploit the weakness in Yeshua’s inner circle (Judas) and bring Yeshua to a secret trial where they could impose their frustration upon him. With Yeshua captive and observably beaten he was taken to Herod who mocked him and to Pilate who had him brutally scourged and crowned with thorns. Pilate did this because he thought it would satisfy the crowd that was solidly behind Caiaphas the High Priest. Pilate then brought out BarAbbas, an anti-Rome, anti-collaborator terrorist. The crowd, earlier yelling Hosanna, now were convinced that Yeshua who had received their adoration on Palm Sunday was the Melekh son of David. They knew that BarAbbas hated the Romans just like they did. If released he at least would work for what they wanted. Caiaphas the High Priest, who wanted Yeshua killed, was able to manipulate the crowd and influence Pilate to seal Yeshua’s fate. The Roman soldiers assigned to the garrison at Jerusalem performed the brutal crucifixion — though even some of them, watching His behavior and speech on the cross, came to realize that “truly, He was the Son of God.” Even in their seeming victory members of the religious leadership in Jerusalem still felt the need to mock Yeshua on the cross. With the deed completed Caiaphas brought about scriptural fulfillment in the Tenakh.