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?
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 title “Christ” or “Messiah” refers to God’s “anointed one.” Overall, the prophetic imagery is that of a king, although prophets and priests were anointed too. (For more, see What does “Christ” Actually Mean?) In our modern world it’s hard to grasp what awe and worship kings inspired, and why Israel desired one so much. […]
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 […]
As often as you’ve read the prophecy of Jesus’ suffering in Isaiah 53, you’ll be shocked at the implications of one widely overlooked line.
At this time of year, people everywhere are setting up nativity scenes. We’re used to having an odd mixture of characters around the manger — some scruffy shepherds, some glittering angels, a few animals, and of course a brand new little family. To many of us, the characters that are oddest are the magi, or […]
One hazy late August morning a few years ago, I nearly lost my way in the desert. I was so dehydrated, deflated and defeated, that I nearly gave up the hike. For nearly a year I had been trekking through the Torah week by week for my morning Bible study, taking part in the centuries-old […]
I recently wrote an article called “What Really Happened at Pentecost?” It was about where the scene in Act 2 occurs, when the believers were first filled with the Spirit. I explain that the likely setting is in the Temple, rather than in an upper room. At 9 AM in the morning, their attendance was […]
Last weekend Christians celebrated Pentecost, recalling the account in Acts 2 where the disciples heard a wind and saw tongues of fire that appeared above each others’ heads. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and suddenly able to praise God in other languages. Peter then shared the Gospel with 3000 people who were baptized […]
The “Night of Watching” (Leil Shimurim – ley-EEL shi-mur-EEM) is the name of the night after the Passover feast, when God redeemed Israel by slaying the firstborn sons of Egypt (Exodus 12:42). In Jewish tradition, it is said that “just as God redeemed his people on this night, so he will one day redeem them […]
Why does the Bible begin with the second letter of the alphabet, not the first? To show that not all knowledge is accessible to man, but some is reserved for God himself.