Arnold Fruchtenbaum, in his helpful book Israelology, reminds us that Jesus’ ministry changed significantly following His rejection by the Jewish leadership in Matthew 12. Fruchtenbaum highlights four changes. (625-626)
- The first change was the purpose of His miracles in that they were no longer for the purpose of serving as signs of His Messiahship to Israel, but were for the purpose of training the apostles for their ministry in the Book of Acts (Matt. 16:1-4).
- The second change concerned the people for whom He performed these miracles. Until the events of Matthew 12, Jesus performed miracles for the benefit of the masses without requiring them to have faith first. After Matthew 12, he performed miracles only in response to needs of individuals and began requiring them to have faith first. Furthermore, before Matthew 12, those He healed were free to proclaim what had been done for them; but after Matthew 12, Jesus initiated a policy of silence and forbade those He healed to tell anyone about it (Mark 7:36; Luke 8:56; et al.)
- The third change concerned the message that Jesus and the apostles would now proclaim. Until Matthew 12 both He and they went throughout the land of Israel proclaiming Jesus to be the Messiah. ... After Matthew 12, the apostles were also ordered to follow the new policy of silence, and they were forbidden to tell anyone that Jesus was the Messiah. In Matthew 16, after Peter made his famous confession, Thou art the Christ (Messiah) the Son of the living God, Jesus ordered Peter to tell no one that He was the Messiah (Matt. 16:20). They were to follow the policy of silence (Matthew 17:9) until it was rescinded with the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
- The fourth change concerned His teaching method. Until Matthew 12, whenever Jesus taught the masses, He did so in terms that they could and did understand. ... In Matthew 13, Jesus began teaching with a new method, the parabolic method, the purpose of which was to hide the truth from the masses. The very act of teaching in parables was a sign of judgment against them.
I am grateful for Fruchtenbaum’s book.