When reading the Bible, we see what we know but do not always know what we see. I have written about and given examples of remez used in the Bible before. A remez was a common way Jewish rabbis or teachers would communication. You can think of a remez as oral shorthand that people would understand its reference to the longhand version. Unlike most of us, the Jewish people of Jesus day would have had a good understanding of the writings of the Torah (Old Testament). Rabbis would often speak short phrases leading their listeners to the longer version recorded in previous text. Jesus spoke many remez, and as such, there is always more to what Jesus said than meets the Western’s understanding.
We westerns understand contemporary remez associated in our culture. If I stated, “I pledge allegiance to the…” you could finish the rest of the pledge of allegiance to America. If I said, “9-11” or “the cold war” most would be able to explain the rest of the story.
A remez was a phrase in speech, and/or an action that would be understood by the observer. For example, when they brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus for him to judge, he instead bent down and wrote in the dust. We westerns always are amused by him writing in the dust and often wonder what did he write? What he was really doing was a remez. By writing in the dust Jesus was leading his observers, and mainly those religious leaders who brought this woman to be judged to Jeremiah 17:13 which states, “Those who turn away from you (God) will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water.” Jesus purpose in writing in the dust was to explain to the religious leaders they were not reflecting God’s heart and/or God’s way in wanting this poor woman to be judged. God is a restorer not a condemner. His message for them is the same for us, as followers of Christ we should be people full of love and grace seeking to restore the broken, hurting, confused, addicted, immoral - not judge and condemn them.
There is another remez revealed for us in Matthew 14: 25-27 where Jesus walks across the Sea of Galilee to rejoin his disciples who were in a boat in the middle of a storm. Once the disciples realized it was Jesus, and not a ghost their minds would have taken them back to Job 9:8, “He alone stretched out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.” Jesus was giving his disciple another reason to believe he is God. But there is a deeper meaning in Jesus doing this remez. This was a planned encounter. This is not accidental meeting in the middle of a storm. Not only was he revealing to his disciples he is God, but he was also reminding them as God, they are never out of his reach, they are never alone. What a powerful reminder to us as we go through our storms that we are not alone, because our God treads on the waves of the sea.