Mattityahu Jewish New Testament
1. Yeshua called his twelve talmidim and gave them authority to drive out unclean spirits and to heal every kind of disease and weakness.
2. These are the names of the twelve emissaries: First, Shim‘on, called Kefa, and Andrew his brother, Ya‘akov Ben-Zavdai and Yochanan his brother,
3. Philip and Bar-Talmai, T’oma and Mattityahu the tax-collector, Ya‘akov Bar-Halfai and Taddai,
4. Shim‘on the Zealot, and Y’hudah from K’riot, who betrayed him.
Emissaries. Greek apostoloi, which means "those sent out," is usually rendered "apostles," a word with a distinctly "churchy" ring I wanted to avoid. I debated using the Hebrew equivalent, "shlichim" (singular "shaliach"), but decided that "shaliach' makes Diaspora Jews think of an Israeli sent to encourage aliyah (Jewish immigration to Israel) — not a bad image, in my view, but irrelevant to the New Testament.
Shim'on (Simon), called Kefa — see 4:I8N. Andrew and Philip render Greek names. Ya'akov Ben-Zavdai and... Yochanan — see 4:2IN. T'oma (Thomas) means "twin" in Hebrew — see Yn 11:16. Mattityahu, identified asL'vi (Mk 2:14. Lk 5:27-29), is believed to be the author»! this Gospel. Bar-Chalfai, son of Alpheus. Taddai: some manuscripts have "Lebbai also known as Taddai" (Lebbeus also known as Thaddeus); he is supposed to be the same as Y'hudah the brother of Ya'akov (Lk 6:16, Yn 14:22, Ac 1:13. Yd I).
Zealot. The Zealots were the "Jewish Liberation Front" of their day, actively opposing Roman occupation. Thar provocations led in 66 С. К. to open rebellion, which was crushed by the Romans with enormous loss of life, destruction of the Temple in 70. and mass suicide of the last holdouts al Matzada in 73 to avoid being captured and enslaved by the Roman army. Y'hudah from K'riot is known to English-speakers as Judas Iscariot. "Iscariot" is probably not a surname but a rendering into Greek of Hebrew ish-K'riot, "a man of K'riot," a town some twenty miles south of Jerusalem.
5. These twelve Yeshua sent out with the following instructions: “Don’t go into the territory of the Goyim, and don’t enter any town in Shomron,
Goyim, "Gentiles" (see 5:47N). In some Jewish circles today "Gentile" and "Christian" arе regarded as interchangeable terms, but this is a mistake, confusing one's people w Ith om' i religion. The word "Gentile" means only "non-Jew"; it does not mean "Christian." A member of the Jewish people, a Jew, can opt for a form of non-Messianic Judaism (e.g.. Orthodox, Conservative, Reform), or for Messianic Judaism, or for some other religion or none. Likewise a Gentile can decide to follow a form of non-Messianic Judaism and become a proselyte; or he can become a Christian in the same way a Jew becomes Messianic, namely, by putting his trust in God and in his son Yeshua the Messiah; or he can follow another religion or none. Because the religion of Judaism implies membership in the Jewish people, a Gentile who becomes a Jew by religion also becomes a member of the Jewish people, and his children will be Jews. Because Messianic faith — Gentile Christianity and Messianic Judaism — is transcultural and can be held by members of any people, a Jew who becomes a follower of Yeshua remains a member of the Jewish people and does not become a Gentile.
6. but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Isra’el.
7. As you go, proclaim, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is near,’
8. heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those afflicted with tzara’at, expel demons. You have received without paying, so give without asking payment.
You have received without paying, so give without asking payment. The Talmud gives the same advice: "Rav Y'hudah said in the name of Rav: Scripture says, 'Behold, I have taught you [statutes and judgments 1...' (Deuteronomy 4:5). Just as I teach for free, so you should teach for free. Similarly it has been taught: The next words of this verse are, '...as Adonai my God commanded me.' This too implies: Just as 1 teach for free, so you should teach for free.
"Whence do we deduce that if it isn't possible to find someone who will teach gratuitously, one must pay to learn? A verse says, 'Buy the truth...' (Proverbs 23:23). And whence do we deduce that one who has to pay in order to learn should not say, 'Since I had to pay to leam Torah, I will charge to teach it'? From the same text, which adds, '...and do not sell it.'"(Bekorot 29a)
9. Don’t take money in your belts, no gold, no silver, no copper;
10. and for the trip don’t take a pack, an extra shirt, shoes or a walking stick — a worker should be given what he needs.
11. “When you come to a town or village, look for someone trustworthy and stay with him until you leave.
12. When you enter someone’s household, say, ‘Shalom aleikhem!’
Shalom aleikhem. The word "shalom" means not only "peace" but also tranquillity, safety, well-being, welfare, health, contentment, success, comfort, wholeness and integrity. "Shalom aleikhem" means "Peace be upon you" and is a common greeting, as is simply "Shalom\" Thus there is a deeper meaning to Yeshua"s instruction in v. 13 on when to give or withhold shalom, for he refers not only to the greeting but to the whole complex of peace/wholeness/well-being that the Messiah offers through his tulmidim — and similarly at many places in the New Testament.
13. If the home deserves it, let your shalom rest on it; if not, let your shalom return to you.
14. But if the people of a house or town will not welcome you or listen to you, leave it and shake its dust from your feet!
15. Yes, I tell you, it will be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the people of S’dom and ‘Amora than for that town!
S'dom and 'Amora were destroyed for their wickedness, Genesis 19.
16. “Pay attention! I am sending you out like sheep among wolves, so be as prudent as snakes and as harmless as doves.
17. Be on guard, for there will be people who will hand you over to the local Sanhedrins and flog you in their synagogues.
18. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as a testimony to them and to the Goyim.
19. But when they bring you to trial, do not worry about what to say or how to say it; when the time comes, you will be given what you should say.
20. For it will not be just you speaking, but the Spirit of your heavenly Father speaking through you.
It will not be just you speaking. The word "just" is not in the Greek text; I have added it to avoid the implication that the Spirit of your heavenly Father mighi take control of someone without his knowledge or against his will.
21. “A brother will betray his brother to death, and a father his child; children will turn against their parents and have them put to death.
22. Everyone will hate you because of me, but whoever holds out till the end will be preserved from harm.
23. When you are persecuted in one town, run away to another. Yes indeed; I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Isra’el before the Son of Man comes.
24. “A talmid is not greater than his rabbi, a slave is not greater than his master.
25. It is enough for a talmid that he become like his rabbi, and a slave like his master. Now if people have called the head of the house Ba‘al-Zibbul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!
Ba'al-Zibbul or Ba'al-z'vuv (the manuscripts differ); usually seen in English as "Beelzebul" and "Beelzebub": derogatory names for the Adversary (see 4:IN). The latter is the name of a Philistine god (2 Kings 1:2) and in Hebrew means "lord of a fly." The Ugaritic root z-b-l means "prince," making the former name imply that the Adversary has a measure of status and power; but in post-biblical Hebrew the root z-b-1 means! "dung," with "Ba'al-zibbul" meaning "defecator." Other interpretations are possible.
26. So do not fear them; for there is nothing covered that will not be uncovered, or hidden that will not be known.
27. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim on the housetops.
The housetops were flat roofs where people gathered when the weather was pleasant (compare Mk 2:4). Since houses were close together, people could shout from theirl housetops and proclaim to an impromptu audience.
28. “Do not fear those who kill the body but are powerless to kill the soul. Rather, fear him who can destroy both soul and body in Gei-Hinnom.
Him who can destroy..., that is, God.
29. Aren’t sparrows sold for next to nothing, two for an assarion? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s consent.
30. As for you, every hair on your head has been counted.
31. So do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.
32. “Whoever acknowledges me in the presence of others I will also acknowledge in the presence of my Father in heaven.
33. But whoever disowns me before others I will disown before my Father in heaven.
34. “Don’t suppose that I have come to bring peace to the Land. It is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword!
35. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law,
36. so that a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. (Micah 7:6)
The Talmud too applies Micah 7:6 to Messianic times:
"It has been taught: R. Nehorai said, 'In the generation when Messiah comes, young men will insult the old, and old men will stand before the young [to give them honor]; daughters will rise up against their mothers, and daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law. The people will be dog-faced, and a son will not be abashed in his father's presence.'" (Sanhedrin 97a)
This passage is relevant also at Lk 1:17, where Malachi 3:23-24(4:5-6), "turn the hearts of the fathers to the children," is quoted. A crude and foolish criticism of the New Testament based on this verse is tha Yeshua advocates family strife. Yeshua's purpose is, of course, not to creati contentiousness but end it. Yet he knows that tension may result when some members of a family trust him while others do not (see v. 37&N).
37. Whoever loves his father or mother more than he loves me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than he loves me is not worthy of me.
Yosef Vaktor, a Messianic Jew in Yerushalayim who escaped the Nazis by hiding in a forest and came to faith during the lime of the Sho'ah (Holocaust), has taught on the subject of loving God more than parents:
"In choosing between God and relatives, God comes first. Abraham had to leave his family, his kindred and his father's house (Genesis 12:1-3). He had to send his son Ishmael away permanently (Genesis 21:8-l 3). He had to be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19). At the time of the golden calf, Moses told the Levites that because each was willing to be against his son and his brother, with the result that they killed three thousand, God bestowed a blessing (Exodus 32:29-30). One is to stone the false prophet who leads the people into idolatry, even if he is your brother, son, daughter or wife (Deuteronomy 13:6-11). One is to put to death one's rebellious son (Deuteronomy 21:18). In the Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua machmir (interprets more stringently); he does the same here. But his method of judging more stringently is different. For example, in the incident of Yn 8:1-11 the Sanhedrin might have excused the sin of the woman caught in adultery, that is, it might have not pronounced her guilty. Yeshua does pronounce her guilty, but he lets her go, tempering justice with mercy." (Teaching at Netivyah Congregation, October 29, 1989)
38. And anyone who does not take up his execution-stake and follow me is not worthy of me.
Execution-stake, Greek stavros, usually translated "cross." Actually it was a vertical wooden stake with a crossbar, usually shaped more like a "T" than the Christian symbol, used by the Romans to execute criminals who were not Roman citizens (Roman citizens sentenced to death were given a less painful way to die). It was not a normal Jewish means of execution. Halakhah specified four methods of execution — stoning, burning, beheading and strangling (Mishna Sanhedrin 7:1) — but not hanging or being suspended from a cross (see Ga 3:13,1 Ke 2:24).
However, in Roman-occupied Israel public crucifixions were common: the condemned man carried the crossbar of the stake on which he was to be executed to the place of execution and was nailed to it by his wrists and ankles. Then the stake with him on it was pounded into the ground, where he was left hanging in excruciating torment until he expired, usually many hours later. Also it was a death of utter infamy (Pp 2:8); a modern cultural equivalent would be electrocution. To grasp the enormity of Yeshua's crucifixion process, picture the legitimate and glorious King of the whole world being put to death as a criminal in the electric chair — with too little electricity, so that it took hours for him to die instead of seconds — while crowds gaped and jeered. When the late Jewish comedian Lenny Bruce invited his audience to imagine Gentiles wearing little electric chair models around their necks he was resonating with a deep truth.
Throughout the JNT the terms "execution-stake" and "stake" are used instead of "cross"; and "execute on a stake," "nail to the execution stake" and "put to death on ihe stake" instead of "crucify." These expressions focus attention on the events themselves, particularly their character as judgment; whereas the usual terms explain less and carry church-related associations developed much later in history.
The quasi-Christian cult known as "Jehovah's Witnesses" teaches that Yeshua was tortured on an upright pole without a crossbeam. My rendering of stavros as "execution stake" is functional, not symbolic. I want to stress not the cross's shape but its use — in the first century it was not a symbol mounted on a steeple. Weighty archeological and historical evidence confirms that the kind of execution-stake used in Israel then had a crossbeam (Latin puubulum), and that it was this which the criminal, and likewise Yeshua, was forced to carry to his place of execution. To many Christians the cross represents all they hold dear; I do not object to their use of it to symbolize their faith. But for centuries Jews were done to death under the sign of the cross by persons claiming to be followers of the Jewish Messiah. Therefore to me the cross symbolizes persecution of Jews. As a Messianic Jew, still feeling the pain on behalf of my people, I do not have it in me to represent my New Testament faith by a cross.
However, many New Testament references to the cross, or execution stake, are figures for Yeshua's atoning death. If the term "execution stake" or "cross" speaks to us of what Yeshua, the eternal Word of God made flesh, did for us and for all humanity by his death, then the New Testament message is reaching our hearts.
On the message of this verse see Lk 9:23-25&N.
39. Whoever finds his own life will lose it, but the person who loses his life for my sake will find it.
40. “Whoever receives you is receiving me, and whoever receives me is receiving the One who sent me.
41. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive the reward a prophet gets, and anyone who receives a tzaddik because he is a tzaddik will receive the reward a tzaddik gets.
Tzaddik. See 13:17N.
42. Indeed, if someone gives just a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my talmid — yes! — I tell you, he will certainly not lose his reward!”
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