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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Two-Hundred-First (Marriage Part 5)

Last week, we saw that the first step to fulfill our roles in marriage is to seek YHWH’s will and to do that by seeking to know and understand His word.  By that, we form the basis of what YHWH has designed our role to be, but we also form the basis for how YHWH desires we live our lives in general.  In order to fulfill our role in a marriage, we have to have a foundation of fulfilling YHWH’s will in our lives without our spouse.  Then we can start fulfilling His will as a team in our marriage.

This week we’re going to continue looking at how Yeshua fulfilled His role as head of the disciples.  The next event we see Him in is His baptism (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:29-34).  This is a very important event to understand one of the foundational aspects of Yeshua’s purpose in His ministry.  However, if you don’t dig in, it can be very confusing.

The first thing to understand about Yeshua’s baptism is that its purpose is to provide an example for His followers, but perhaps not to represent the meaning you might expect.  John the baptizer, Yeshua’s cousin, stated the purpose for the baptisms he was conducting (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3).  It was a baptism of repentance in order for those being baptized to be forgiven of sins.  Yeshua did not require repentance or forgiveness of sins for Himself (1 Peter 1:18-19, 2:22, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15, 1 John 3:5), so why was He baptized?  He provided the example that we are to repent in order for us to be forgiven, but He also showed that water baptism was simply a representation of the Holy Spirit baptism that He provides for His followers now that He has risen (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33, Acts 2:1-4).

Obviously, the whole of Yeshua’s baptism was an example He was providing to His disciples and to us, because that was the only reason for it.  Just as He provided the example, we are also called to be the example in our marriage.  This is not just a one-way example though.  Yes, as we identified previously, there is a hierarchy from Yeshua to the man and then to the woman, however we also identified that the man and the woman are both designed by YHWH to be better at different things.

We can provide an example in marriage regardless of whether we are the man or the woman.  First, by living for YHWH, according to His will in your life, and second, by living out your marriage role as best as you can.  And by trying every day to live it out better and better.  I can tell you from experience that seeing your spouse doing their best to live out their role, knowing it can, at times, be extremely difficult and go against their desires, makes you want to live out your role that much more and try your hardest to get it right.

The next milestone in Yeshua’s ministry is His temptation in the wilderness, and this is an interesting one to apply to marriage.  As soon as Yeshua was baptized, the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted (Matthew 4:1-17, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-15).  Of course, this doesn’t mean we’re supposed to run out and put ourselves into temptation during our marriage.  Yeshua didn’t do that part as an example for us to follow, but the fact that He followed the leading of the Holy Spirit is the example we’re supposed to follow.

The other part of this event that provided an example for our marriage is how Yeshua battled these temptations.  We have looked at this before, so the main point to highlight, as far as our current topic of marriage goes, is the fact that Yeshua used YHWH’s word, as recorded in scripture, to combat The Adversary’s temptations.  That’s exactly how we’re to combat the temptations we experience in marriage both individually and as a couple.

There’s another aspect of Yeshua’s wilderness temptation that we would be remiss not to mention for its application to marriage.  Part of the reason Yeshua embarked on this forty days of trial is for Him to 1) provide a restoration as the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45) by not giving into temptation like the first Adam did, and 2) completing the remaining temptations Yeshua had not yet gone through in His life up to that point.  He went through all the temptations anyone can possibly go through, and did not give in.  He remained sinless (Hebrews 4:15).  

How does this apply to marriage, though?  Yeshua’s temptations, along with His experiences in life growing up, gave Him what He needed in order to understand what we go through day to day.  It led to His compassion for all those He healed and ministered to, and ultimately led to His willingness to be sacrificed for all people that put their belief in Him, that they might be cleansed of all sin.

As partners in marriage, we are to have compassion for our spouse through their struggles, their pain, and their mistakes, both past and present, just as Yeshua has compassion for us, what we’ve gone through, what we’re going through, and what we will go through in the future.  Through that compassion, we are able see our spouse as someone just like us: tempted, broken because of the sinful world we live in, and trying to live out life with a whole lot of baggage they didn’t ask to be added to their load.  We relate to them through that compassion, because even though we didn’t go through the exact same experiences, we did grow up and live through the same sinful world with the same influences and actions of evil.  

It’s easy for us to look at someone else, let alone our spouse, and hold them to a higher standard than we would like ourselves to be held to.  We get self-absorbed and think we’ve had the hardest life, or the hardest challenges, or the toughest experiences, so there’s no excuse for someone else to make mistakes that somehow you managed not to make.  Or, we simply end up not fully comprehending what they went through and how it affected them, and continues to affect them.  We make our own mistakes and desire to be forgiven from them, yet we struggle to forgive others, including our spouse, for the mistakes they make, and fail to try to help them back on the path of righteousness.  Instead, we’re all too willing to walk away, saying they need to work on their problems before you can have a relationship with them, or that you weren’t even meant to be together because they aren’t who you thought they were or they turned into someone you didn’t agree to be with.  Did Yeshua walk away from Peter when he denied Him?  Did He give up on His mission to die for our sins and walk away because His people failed to live according to His commandments?

As you read through Yeshua’s ministry as recorded in the gospels, and the various letters referencing His ministry, did you notice the most glaring theme that dominates it?  We alluded to it previously when talking about His baptism and how He provides the example for us to follow.  Everything Yeshua did, everything He said, and His overwhelming desire, was for those other than Himself.  It was for you and me.  It was for the disciples.  It was for the crowds He preached to, who didn’t even understand what He was saying but nonetheless were intrigued by it.  

Yeshua healed the lame, gave the blind sight, and tried to show and tell people the truth because of His compassion for what they were going through.  They were living in a world of sin with wolves as their shepherds, and He desired to open their eyes and set them free from it.  We are called to love our spouse with the same love, compassion and understanding Yeshua had, knowing that, at times, they won’t understand it and they’ll struggle to do the same for us, but also knowing that was the same thing Yeshua went through.  The closest people to Yeshua throughout His ministry, His disciples, loved Him as much as they could, but they didn’t understand exactly what He was saying and doing until He was crucified and resurrected.  But Yeshua didn’t stop trying.  He didn’t stop preaching.  He didn’t stop healing.  He didn’t stop loving.  

Did the disciples love Yeshua and follow Him to the same degree that He loved them?  No, not until His resurrection.  Up until His death, they thought He was going to restore Israel to its former glory and overthrow the Roman government.  I don’t believe they only loved and followed Him because of their hope in that, because they sincerely tried to understand what He preached about and what was going to happen in the future.  They had no idea He was going to sacrifice Himself though, so I do believe that during His ministry the disciples did not love Him because they knew He was going to do that.  And despite their boastings, they weren’t willing to die for Him at that time (Mark 14:50), which is the definition of the greatest love you can have for someone (John 15:13).  They certainly laid down their life for Him after His resurrection though, which shows the increase in love they had after that happened.

There’s a lot of things that can happen before laying down your life for your marriage partner though!  Generally, an ask to lay down your physical life for your spouse rarely happens, if at all, over the course of your marriage.  However, the concept of laying down our life for them comes in different forms, up to and including physical death.  Got something you’re busy doing, but they ask you to grab them a cup of water?  You’re laying down the thing you’re doing, how you’re living your life at the time, for them.  Got a sports game you’re super interested in and love to watch, but that’s the only night you have the opportunity for a date with them?  You’re laying down what you want to do in order to be with them.  Got a career that is asking for you to move, but it will take them away from their career or from the people they love?  Not moving is laying down your life for theirs.

Now, obviously these are random examples of this concept, and they are not taking into account the fact that marriage is a partnership and requires coordination, discussion and agreement on some of these things, but they are used here to illustrate a point.  It doesn’t have to be jumping in front of a bullet for you to lay down your life for your spouse.  It can be anything.  Think about what types of these situations you have experienced in your own life and how you reacted.  Then, make a resolve to act like Yeshua in laying down your life for your spouse as you go forward.

We’ll continue next week with looking at marriage and fulfilling our roles in it, so until then, Shabbat shalom and YHWH bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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