Thousands died on crosses along with anyone else that Rome did not like. All over the Empire, political dissidents, terrorists, and people that resisted Rome’s authority found themselves nailed to execution stakes. Roadside Roman crosses were a common sight outside population centers, a gruesome reminder of Rome’s authority and terror.
The Master responded, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s” (Matthew 16:23). Did the master of darkness momentarily possess Simon Peter at Caesarea Philippi? Were Peter’s objections so unreasonable as to require a demonic explanation?
The disciples hoped from the outset that they had found the Messiah, but Yeshua Himself had never confirmed their hopes. Instead, He seemed to confound every messianic expectation. Instead of raising an army to liberate Israel, He evaded the crowds and fled from those who wanted to make Him king.
Yeshua took a blind man by the hand and led him outside of the village to heal him. Surprisingly, the Master’s first attempt at healing the blind man met with limited results. The blind man saw, but he did not see clearly. The two-touch healing of the blind man illustrates an aspect of discipleship that is still relevant today.
It seems strange that the Master healed a blind man by spitting on his eyes. Similarly, He healed the mute man (Mark 7:33) by touching spittle to his tongue. In John 9:6 He made mud out of His spittle to apply to another blind man's eyes. Why?
The Master’s miracles seemed to leap from the prophecies of Isaiah: “The ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy” (Isaiah 35:5-6). Some of his miracles, however, illustrated aspects of his mission and teaching.
The Roman government instituted a policy of arresting people suspected of faith in Messiah and interrogating them before a tribunal. If a suspected “Christian” disowned the name of Yeshua and bowed to an idol, the Roman authorities released him or her. If not, the disciple faced a death sentence.
Yeshua warned His disciples that a time of strife would come during which family members might betray them: “You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name.” When will these things happen?
Rabbi Yeshua’s disciples could anticipate standing trial before the synagogue beit din, before the local Roman administrator, or even before kings and emperors. It was necessary for membership in the Jewish community, but it was a voluntary choice to be made. Submission to the Roman authority, on the other hand, was mandatory.
Yeshua warned His disciples that not every place would receive their message. He told them not to waste time arguing or trying to persuade people. Instead, He told them to leave that place, and He said, "As you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them" (Mark 6:11).