What we find confusing about Jesus’ claims to be the Messiah is that he often combines them with another prediction: that he must suffer and be rejected and killed. How could Jesus connect the Suffering Servant with these prophecies of a glorious king?
Jesus doesn’t seem to describe himself as the exalted Messiah that we find in the rest New Testament, until you read his words in their Jewish context.
The “deeper magic” of Narnia—the idea that the sins of one person can be forgiven because of another person’s sacrifice—is a fundamental precept of Christianity. You might think this was something that the New Testament invented. But Jewish scholars find this idea in subtle nuances of the Torah that Christians rarely read.
When I was a kid I used to do crossword puzzles by putting one finger in the answer key and fill the letters in backwards, cheating the whole way through. I used to read the Bible the exact same way.
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? Knowledge of God in the Scriptures comes from personal encounter, not through human reasoning.
When I first read the Shema, the Jewish profession of faith, I assumed it was their Apostle’s Creed. I was shocked because I was looking for doctrines like the “communion of saints” and “forgiveness of sins,” not mundane realities like grass, fields and cows.
The modern Western worldview is far from the norm compared to the rest of the world. Could it be that our culture’s “uniqueness” is also a barrier to relating to the biblical worldview?
Life was incredibly cheap in ancient times, and Near Eastern law codes reflected this fact. In Israel, however, murder was seen as an offense against God himself. Many of Israel’s uniquely humanitarian laws were based on the peculiar and supreme value that God placed on human life.
When we read our Bibles, we usually assume that the women of the Bible had few options. Relative to men, they always got the low end of the stick on everything. Is that really true though? Believe it or not, women in the Bible actually did have one advantage over men, and it explains some […]
As Christians, we think of Pentecost as the day the Holy Spirit was poured out on the early church. But the first Jewish believers were actually celebrating Shavuot, one of the biblical feast days that is still celebrated by Jews today. (More here.) The day commemorates when Israel arrived at Mt. Sinai, fifty days after […]