Yesterday night, Jews around the world sat down to celebrate the Passover Seder meal. At the same time, they also began the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which lasts seven days. Still today Jewish people make a great effort to observe the commandment to remove all leaven from their homes and eat only unleavened food for [...]
Do you remember the classic Seinfeld episode where he and his friends discover a great soup restaurant that is owned by short-tempered man? People line up down the block to order take-out, but if they annoy the owner in any way, he barks, “No Soup for You!” and sends them away empty handed. So Seinfeld’s [...]
How much can we really learn about the Jewishness of Jesus from Jewish sources? That’s a pretty fundamental question, since the goal of this website is to understand the Jewish background of Christianity. I’ve found some pretty important news about it, and wanted to share it here. A common approach to studying Jesus is to [...]
Women have always cheered at the story of Mary of Bethany in Luke 10:38-42. Mary wanted to sit and learn from Jesus, in spite of Martha’s bossy reminders that a long list of chores had her name on them. Despite Martha’s protests, Jesus took her side. You’ve likely read what I’ve written before about how [...]
Years ago I used to scratch my head at Jesus’ response to the question “What is the greatest commandment?” in Mark 12:28. Why does he start with the line “Hear O Israel, the Lord is Your God, the Lord alone” before stating the command: “Love the Lord your God…”? Why state a fact before giving [...]
Some months ago, pastor-blogger Trevin Wax posted an article called “Urban Legends: The Preacher’s Edition.” There he lists several “urban legends” that he’s heard floating around lately in sermons. Like Internet rumors that people forward on ad infinitum, these preaching illustrations don’t have much grounding in fact. One potential fallacy on his list caught my [...]
On a bus in Jerusalem, I encountered the passionate Middle Eastern attitude that colored Jesus’ parables and his attitude toward prayer.
If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell. Matthew 18:9 Some of the sayings of Jesus are so strong that we wonder if Jesus really [...]
(Excerpt from Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus, Zondervan, 2012) In 1945, Rabbi Eliezer Silver headed up the search for thousands of displaced Jewish children across Europe. They had been hidden from the clutches of the Nazis on farms, convents, and monasteries, and now he sought to return them to their families if at [...]
The Jewish prayers of Jesus and Paul were very different than how we do today. Discovering how they “blessed” the Lord can enrich our faith.
Jesus used elegant rabbinic reasoning to rule that healing was permissible on the Sabbath
Is it appropriate to call Jesus “rabbi”? Or did he reject the title? A look at how the word was used in the first century.