Be Called Great … part 4 of 6 Rabbi Michael Weiner
Matthew 5:19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever keeps and teaches them, this one shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
“Therefore!” That word demands that we continue our thought from the previous verse. Not the smallest letter, nor the last letter shall change from the Torah until … all is fulfilled (which has not happened yet). Let me paraphrase. Therefore; because nothing changes … breaking even one of these commandments (and teaching others to do the same) will assign a person the position of least in the kingdom. The contrary is also true. Keeping the commandments yourself, and teaching the commandments to others, will assign a person a great position in the kingdom.
Notice that both Torah keepers and Torah breakers are IN the kingdom of heaven. This is consistent with Paul (Rav Shaul): Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not from yourselves – it is the gift of God. It is not based on deeds, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship – created in Messiah Yeshua for good deeds, which God prepared beforehand so we might walk in them.
However, it appears that there are rewards for those who are observant and teach others to be observant. How many, then, of God’s commandments are optional? They all are. What’s not optional is repentance for breaking them. Oh, and apparently the blessings that go with obedience are also optional. This changes the question from, “How much of this do I have to do?” into Psalm 40:9(8) I delight to do Your will, O my God. Yes, Your Torah is within my being.
A servant has to earn his wages through performance. An heir has a promised inheritance. As the saying goes, “Family is family.” If we have received Yeshua as our Lord, then we must obey Him. If we do not obey Him, we cannot claim to be His followers. Therefore; Yeshua says, Matthew 7:23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’ … But that is much later in the Sermon on the Mount.
How does our family act? What do we expect of our family members in every situation of life? That is why God gave us the Torah, to teach us how to be part of His family. That is also why God sent us His Son, Yeshua. So that He could show us how God’s family is expected to behave in every situation of life.
Let’s let God take up His holy throne in our hearts today. Then, as we live through today, let’s show everyone we meet that, as ruler of our hearts, He is directing our steps. Let’s be the salt of the earth as we let His character become our character.
Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
To “be conformed to the image of His Son” means to take on the character of Yeshua. Be Yeshua to someone today.