We just don’t get it


Some of you are aware of “The Chosen”, a multi-season depiction of the life of Yeshua and His disciples. I have shared with you previously my views of its importance of bringing the Gospels literally to hundreds of millions of people, whether we agree with every aspect of its rendition.


Last weekend I watched in the theater the last two episodes of Season 4 which will be released “soon” on The Chosen app and presumably through other streaming options. The first three seasons fill in the blanks on understanding the apostles as individuals as well as help us to understand Yeshua’s unique personage as fully divine. Season 4 goes on to more fully develop what Yeshua may have felt to also be fully human.


As we get to the last episode of Season 4 we see the frustration in His face over the apostles being unable to understand what is about to happen, why Yeshua has to die, despite His countless discussions on the topic. The issue is deeper than they’re not having enough faith, for they really did believe He was the Messiah. What they could not have, and what we can never really have, is complete understanding of the mystery of the Divine.


So many times Yeshua asked them, and asks us, to step out in faith, and how often we do so not understanding why based on the merits of the request. We do so out of faith.  When we do, we know it is right. We accept the request or prompting or understanding without necessarily understanding the underlying reason.


The apostles did what was asked, but often did not understand why they did so even with Yeshua teaching them directly face-to-face. What is revealed in the telling of this part of the story is mankind’s inability, because we are only human, to understand the Divine. We also see the crushing impact our actions have on Yeshua, how much we hurt Him, when we doubt or disobey His teachings, a truth as relevant today as it was then.


In these episodes we see Yeshua not only being a Divine rabbi, but also, being a human immersed in human tragedy. In these heart wrenching episodes we witness Yeshua’s complete frustration that none of the apostles really understand all that He was trying to teach. Yeshua also feels immense sorrow as He weeps in Mary’s arms at the pain Lazarus’s sisters feel at Lazarus’s death for He knows He came when He did (after Lazarus’s death instead of in time to heal him) for reasons beyond human understanding but part of a divine plan.


A deeper knowledge of our inability to understand makes a later scene in the episode more enlightening.  We see Yeshua and His close followers gathered at a meal where He talks with a Pharisee who is curious about His teachings. Amazingly(!) that very day’s Daily Dvar was Isaiah 58 in which verses 6 and 7 state:


“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen

To loose the chains of injustice

And untie the cords of the yoke,

To set the oppressed free

And break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry

And to provide the poor wanderer with shelter

When you see the naked , to clothe them,

And not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”


In the scene from this episode, Yeshua is stating these very same ideas to the Pharisee, straight out of Scripture, both men on the same page, as they are interrupted by Mary entering the room and anointing Yeshua’s feet with expensive oil, an act which outraged the Pharisee on multiple levels.


Seeing this juxtaposition, even if that interchange with the Pharisee did not occur in exactly that same way, is not the point. Rather, it gave even greater insight into the disconnect in mankind’s ability to understand the Divine. It gave the viewer a better understanding of how enormously difficult, if not impossible, it would have been for the majority of Pharisees at that time to do other than what they did.


Even a sympathetic Pharisee literally could not understand the deep disconnect between actions and words, a blindness that comes from our human failings even when we think we are doing the right thing. Translating God’s teachings into precepts for daily living was the unenviable task of Yeshua, a task still in process millennia later.


The scene highlighted how far mankind had strayed from what it conceptually knew was right, helpless to do otherwise without divine intervention. Thankfully, Yeshua through His both/and, human/divine countenance, became and still is the connecting point to bring these teachings from Scripture to this realm from the heavens.


If the apostles who walked with and believed in Yeshua fell short, how much moreso would a Pharisee who is struggling to believe in Him in the first place? If the Pharisees who dedicated their lives to Scripture and God could not understand, how much moreso the challenge for mankind? How important then to have multiple avenues, multiple touchpoints for us to try to understand how to walk in His ways.


Through these storytellings not only do we get a better appreciation for our humanity, we are witness to the human manifestation of Yeshua. Through the telling of His story in a way that is relatable, we are able to see how it must have felt, the pain and suffering, Yeshua experienced knowing He must die as a man yielding to Divine Will, with the knowledge He also has of the bigger picture. He knows He must do this to save all humanity from sin. As the season closes we can see Yeshua’s shift in demeanor as He begins His ride into Jerusalem willingly facing His journey back to the heavens.


We can never fully understand for we are not meant to understand it all. We are, however, charged with learning as much as possible for when we do so, when we dedicate ourselves to lifelong learning of Him, we do become closer to Him, not just in our understanding, but also, hopefully in our ability to act based on His teachings. Through Yeshua’s teachings and the model of His way of living we are given knowledge to translate the Word into actions that bring forth His Love into our world. We are shown the Way.


As we are sensitized to the complexity of this challenge, we are reminded of the need to temper any tendency to judge or claim superior knowledge. The more we learn, the more we realize how much we don’t know, the more awe inspiring each tiny revelation and insight. For truthfully we are all just children in our spiritual journeys. The more we understand that truth, the closer we will be to entering the gates of heaven.


Shabbat shalom.


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