When Yeshua asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”, Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” It was the correct answer, but Yeshua warned the disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah. Why? Was that not that the whole point of His proclamation, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”?
The declaration still requires the same leap of faith. To this day, those who confess Yeshua as the Messiah are called “believers” because we believe He will accomplish the messianic work and take up the throne of His father David on the evidence of His resurrection from the dead.
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.
With a gesture, he indicated the funeral bench on which Nicodemus and Joseph had left the body. The women’s eyes fell upon the Master’s abandoned grave clothes. They saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth which had been on His head.
The Master felt the malevolent power of evil bearing down on Him. “And behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him” (Genesis 15:12). “The cords of death encompassed [Him] and the terrors of Sheol came upon [Him; He] found distress and sorrow” (Psalm 116:3). In that hour, He did not want to be utterly alone.
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.
Rabbi Yeshua warned his disciples not to refuse the food set before them. He told them, “Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you” (Luke 10:8). Does this mean that Yeshua wanted His disciples to abandon the Torah’s dietary laws and Jewish standards?
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).