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The sleepiness of the Eleven (Lk. 22:39-53; Mt. 26:36-56; Mk. 13:32-50) is describing is not just nodding off from being up too late, but this is a sorrowful sleep, we would describe it as depression. That was the source of their temptation that Yeshua was praying they would overcome.
We read that they sang a hymn before leaving (Mt. 26:30; Mk. 14:26). Most likely, the hymn they sang was one of the Hallel (“praise”) Psalms commonly recited at festivals, Psalms 113-118 or Psalm 136.
One of the Psalms of the Hallel is Psalm 118, which is full of messianic prophecies. It starts and ends with a responsive refrain (Psa. 118:1–4, 29): כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ ki l’olam khasdo, because everlasting is His lovingkindness/mercy:
“The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. The right hand of the LORD is exalted; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.” (Psa. 118:15–16)
“This is the gate of the LORD; The righteous will enter through it.” (Psa. 118:20)
“The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone.” (Psa. 118:22)
“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD” (Psa. 118:26)
“The LORD is God, and He has given us light; Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.” (Psa. 118:27)
Psalm 136 recounts the great things God has done in Israel’s history. Like Psalm 118, it’s a responsive song, with the refrain כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. One of the main Hebrew words that pops up in both Ps. 118 and Ps. 136 is chesed/khesed חֶסֶד (Strong’s H2617)which means “goodness, kindness, mercy; rarely, shame, reproach” (Lv. 20:17; Pr. 14:34)
The Lord comes along side us in our difficulty. That is His khesed. Yeshua came as the khesed made flesh. He was able to endure insults and suffering and yet He was still loving and compassionate.
Even for all the insult and rejection that would be heaped on Yeshua, much more than before, showing Himself as the LORD’s khesed made flesh was His mission.
As they sang the Hallel to the Mount of Olives, they repeated the refrain “His mercy endures forever.”
Khesed is not just “lovey-dovey” but also forgiving. The key to khesed is forgiveness, letting insults and offenses go. We need to bury those things that we have against others or those things others have against us. Forgiveness was key to Yeshua’s teachings:
“ ‘For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.’ ” (Matt. 6:14–15)
“ ‘My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.’ ” (Matt. 18:35)
“ ‘Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.’ ” (Mark 11:25)
God wants to forgive but He also wants to teach us how to forgive. We have to have the same lovingkindness and forgiveness He has. We need to endure the same affronts and insults He has born. If we want God to hear our prayers, we have to love and forgive people just as God has loved and forgiven us. We are not just talking the talk. We need to walk the walk. We need to get over those things that bring us sadness, pain and bitterness.
The הלכה halakhah ― the walk, “The Way” ― of the Khesed of God was ultimate forgiveness, appealing to the Father to let betrayal of the Son of God, the Chosen One for God’s chosen one from among the nations, Israel. Yeshua practiced what He taught, even on the Cross:
“ ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, ‘He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.’ ” (Luke 23:34–35)
The Light exposes the darkness. Darkness attacks, it doesn’t want to be exposed by the Light. This is true now and even more true in the Day of The Lord.
“ ‘I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, [a spirit] of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.’ ” (Zech. 12:10 New American Standard Bible Update)
The direct context of “Me” is the LORD. However, if the leaders didn’t accept Yeshua as sent by the Father, they weren’t accepting the will of the One Who sent Yeshua. Rejecting Yeshua, piercing Yeshua spiritually and physically, was doing so to the LORD.
“It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in princes.” (Psalms 118:8–9 NASB)
Do we really trust in God and the direction He is taking us? God was taking Yeshua to the Cross, yet Yeshua trusted God. We will endure insults such as “How can you believe in the existence of God? Haven’t you grown out of that?” Do you snarl at them? Do you lash out? How do you respond to insult? This is what Yeshua was praying for: that God would give His disciples the wisdom to respond properly.
“The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. The right hand of the LORD is exalted; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.” (Psalms 118:15–16 NASB)
What is the “right hand of the Lord”? Yeshua is the One at the right hand. Yeshua is the khesed of God.
God doesn’t see who you are now. He can see over the horizon and see who you will be as His heirs, as His sons and daughters. God looks forward, He doesn’t look back. Yeshua didn’t care about washing feet and acting as a servant because He knew who He was and where He was going.
Israel, our ancestors in trust in God, at its founding was not internationally significant. God delivered Israel from captivity in Mitsraim (Egypt) as well as being scattered in Babylon and then to all nations (see Deuteronomy 30–32).
People who lived under oppression understand the Exodus. They saw that God didn’t just offer freedom back then, He offers freedom now. The Exodus and the deliverance to the land is not just history but it happens to each of us when we come to Yeshua. God is looking to take all of us our of our Egypt and to our Promised land.
“Who remembered us in our low estate, For His lovingkindness is everlasting, And has rescued us from our adversaries, For His lovingkindness is everlasting;” (Psalms 136:23–24 NASB)
Of all the enemies listed in Psalm 136, the one adversary that bested Israel repeatedly was the rebellious heart (interests, inclinations). Israel lost sight of their mission, of their purpose for existence. God made them a great nation, not for the sake of making a great nation, but to bring the whole world into the Kingdom of God.
We may face terrestrial enemies ― oppressive governments, scoffing friends, oppositional family members ― but the toughest enemy is sin and death.
The Torah gives a number of examples of what sin, transgression and iniquity are. Apostle Yokhanan defined sin this way:
“Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” (1John 3:4 New American Standard Bible Update)
- sin = ἁμαρτία hamartia (G266): to err, make a mistake. In the Septuagint for חָטָא khataʾ (H2398): to miss, sin
- lawlessness = ἀνομία anomia (G458), from νόμος nomos (G3551) by way of νέμω nemō, to distribute, assign: figuratively, law or custom. In the Septuagint for פָּשַׁע paw-shah’ (H6586): to break away (from just authority), i.e. trespass, apostatize, quarrel
- unrighteousness, injustice = ἀδικία adikia (G93). Also used in the Septuagint to translate פָּשַׁע.
The Psalms are to remind us of God, not to remind God of us. God is the steadfast one, He has no whims of fancy. As we look into Yeshua’s trials, crucifixion and resurrection, think about God’s mercy and what endures forever. Yeshua repeatedly taught His disciples about God’s khesed and encourage them to extend it to others.
Speaker: Jeff. Summary: Tammy.