His Very Words, Part 5 - Unsnatchable and Unhindered – An Understanding of the Jewish Context


His Very Words, Part 5 
Unsnatchable and Unhindered – An Understanding of the Jewish Context
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This study will show the importance of interpreting the New Testament from the Jewish perspective in which it was written. You may want to read the first four parts of His Very Words before you begin - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4!

For your information, my primary word-to-word study Bible is the New American Standard Bible (NASB). A few years ago, I purchased The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, NASB that enables me to easily research the meanings of key, original words. Also, I recently purchased the MJLT (Messianic Jewish Literal Translation), so I can re-read the same verses for further insight.

Unsnatchable – John 10:1-18; 27-30
Before I expound on these verses, you may read them from the NASB here:

1 “Truly, truly I say to you, the one who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But the one who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep listen to his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts all his own sheep outside, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. However, a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus told them this figure of speech, but they did not understand what the things which He was saying to them meant.

So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All those who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life and have it abundantly.

11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters the flock. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own, and My own know Me, 15 just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice; and they will be-come one flock, with one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it back. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it back. This commandment I received from My Father.”

27 My sheep listen to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Many years ago, I was having a chat with an older gentleman in the large reception area of the church I attended. I told him I was so happy to have understood that Jesus was my shepherd and that no one could snatch me from His hand after my new birth. He replied, “But you can jump out of His hand.”

Well… based on many passages in the Bible, I have learned this is not true. Once we are born again as His child, we can not be unborn. As the disciple Peter said, “you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23) Knowing this truth in the very depths of my soul has been my peace during times of great suffering when it would have been easy to doubt my salvation. God is faithful to hold on to me even when I am too weak to hold on to Him. He is our loving, strong Protector!

John 10 gives a picture of our safety in His fold. The photograph above is a stone wall of a sheepfold near Bethlehem! The walls prevented the sheep from jumping out or wandering away at night. A thief would have to climb the wall to snatch a sheep, but with Yeshua (Jesus) keeping watch at the door, this would not happen. Yeshua is a Perfect Shepherd! And He is also the Door!

John 10:4-5 in the MJLT reads, “When he sends out all his own, he goes on in front of them, and the sheep follow him because they have known his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; rather, they will flee from him, because they have not known the voice of strangers.” The author makes the original tense clear – “they have known his voice.” Yes, we have come to know Him intimately in His Word, which has sharpened our hearing and kept us from any attraction to a stranger. If we wander or make a wrong choice, we still belong to Him, we are in His view, and He will teach us and bring us back with His staff.

Unhindered – Matthew 6:22-23 (nestled between Verses 19-21 and 24-34)

“The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore you eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”

How did you interpret these verses when you first read them? I thought the verses were addressing what we allow our eyes to see, i.e., if we watch violence or other harmful images, our entire being will be dark. Even though it is completely true that we should guard our eyes (see Psalm 101:3), these verses meant something totally different to the originally-Jewish readers.

David H. Stern in his book Jewish New Testament Commentary, Page 32, writes, “In Judaism having a good eye (the Hebrew ayin tovah) means being generous, and having a bad eye (the Hebrew ayin ra ‘ah) means being stingy.” Stinginess hinders our sight and His light. Generosity sharpens our sight allowing us to receive His light unhindered and see life from God’s perspective.

The surrounding verses in Matthew 6 confirm this meaning of generosity – keeping our hearts set on treasures in heaven and trusting in His provision. I encourage you to read the entire Matthew 6:19-34.

We most often associate generosity with money, because how we spend and give money reflects our priorities. But we can also be generous with our time, our resources, our prayers, our forgiveness, and our love. We can be generous with our expressions and words and with our open, hospitable hearts that are sensitive to the needs of others. I’m sure you can think of many other ways to be generous!

Father, thank you for securing me safely in Your fold. I rest in Your faithfulness. Holy Spirit, make me generous in my heart, soul, mind, and ways; I want to see You clearly above all else. Thank you for your overwhelming generosity to me!

(For more about Yeshua being the Door of the sheep, please see the Art Card Story I AM the Door at Shale Fragments. The Art Card is available in the I AMs of Jesus Collection at Flower Girl Greetings.)

Shale Fragments is a division of Flower Girl Greetings, LLC. ©2020, All Rights Reserved.

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Wednesday, 30 November 2022

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Welcome to Shale Fragments, a collection of writings and art for individual and group use!

Teaching God’s truth and the beauty of His Word is my greatest delight! My art card company, Flower Girl Greetings, was launched in 2012 with this purpose. In April 2020, ShaleFragments.com became the gathering place for the writings.

As I have studied the rich meanings of the original Greek and Hebrew languages of the Bible, I continue to see beautiful progressions and connections that compel me to organize and convey their life-changing beauty! 

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