To understand your Bible you need to grasp the assumptions of its cultural world. Sometimes glimpsing its alternative point of view can even put our own reality into perspective. For instance, in the Ancient Near East, advanced age was not seen as something to be avoided. Aging was seen a source of honor and dignity. […]
Once upon a time there was an old pastor who had served the Lord faithfully all of his life. He had an anointed ministry, and his prayers were always effective. Whenever he prayed for the sick, they were healed. But in spite of his powerful ministry, he was extremely poor, and he and his wife […]
As we read the story of Passion week, we often bump into scenes that don’t quite make sense. A few pieces of historical data can shed a lot of light on this story.
The people who called for Jesus’ crucifixion were not the same crowd as those who hailed him as Messiah. Those who taunted him were corrupt priests and Roman soldiers. Jesus was as popular with the masses at his death as he was at his triumphal entry.
Part III: Prophecies Fulfilled [Start at Part I] During the week of the Passion God was fully in control, allowing evil men to put to death his righteous Son. Even the details that we may not have known are actually part of what was prophesied about the coming of the Messiah, and they show […]
The idea that Jesus taught pacifism arose primarily due to the misunderstanding of a number of his sayings. When viewed from a Jewish perspective, the passages on which pacifism is based point to a quite different conclusion.
Five days after the Day of Atonement comes the most joyous feast of the year—the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot. Sukkot is the plural of the Hebrew word sukkah, meaning “booth” or “hut.” During Jesus’ day, huge celebrations were held in the temple, lasting for seven days. The Feast of Sukkot is also called the […]
One prominent image that recurs from Genesis to Revelation is that of living water. In the Middle East, water is scarce and precious, and very much needed for survival.
(This article is one that I’ve recently posted on the brand new En-Gedi Resource Center website. Under “Jesus’ Jewishness” go to “His Sayings in Context” to read others on this topic.) ~~~~~ . . One key to unlocking many difficult Bible passages is to know that Middle Eastern teachers loved to use irony to make […]
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?