Many Christians right now are preparing for Christmas. Jews, on the other hand, are in the middle of the 8-day celebration of Hanukkah. For most, the two holidays seem to have little in common. But this is actually a wonderful time of year to consider Jesus in his Hebraic context.
During Hanukkah, Jews celebrate their victory in 168 BC over the oppression of Greek Hellenism. The Temple had been defiled by sacrifices to Zeus and observance of the Torah had been outlawed. Circumcision was a capital offense.
Have you ever considered the fact that if not for the victory of the Maccabees to liberate the Temple, the scenes surrounding Jesus’ birth …
For the ancient Greeks, human reason was the final source and arbiter of truth. Modern intellectuals can hardly imagine any other basis for discussion either.
We get frustrated at the fact that the Bible doesn’t try very hard to answer our philosophical questions.
In Genesis, where is the proof for God’s existence? What are his origins? Why isn’t God explained theologically?
What we find instead is widescreen, front-row footage of God’s acts in history.
The Scriptures record the visceral, moment-by-moment emotions of Israel’s tempestuous relationship with God, from exaltation to despair and back again.
Karl Barth puts it this way:
No attempt is made in the Bible to define God—that is, to grasp …