Articles Comments

Yeshua in Context » Besorah/Gospel/Good News

Applying Messiah’s Kingdom Parables, Part 2

. . . birds came along and devoured it . . . it withered away . . . it yielded no grain . . .” -Mark 4:4, 6, 7. Parables are usually connected to a scripture text or several of them. They often explain something puzzling about God and his relation to his people, or something unstated or mysterious in a text. Yeshua understood a startling truth found in Isaiah 6, one that naturally leads any thoughtful reader to ask questions. Modern readers of the Sower parable (Mk 4; Mt 13; Lk 8) tend not to realize that the parable is commenting on a text. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Applying the Gospels, Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Discipleship - Formation, Gospel Genres, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present, Literary Features, Parables, Paradox, Teaching of Yeshua

Applying Messiah’s Kingdom Parables, Part 1

To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables. -Mark 4:11 “Kingdom” is not “afterlife” exactly and it is not “people of Israel” or “people of the Church.” The modern reader tends to inject meanings into Yeshua’s words that are not there. Looking in the words of Messiah for a message on how to qualify for a good afterlife, it is natural for many to see in the word “kingdom” a code word for “going to heaven.” This is a problem compounded by the fact that Matthew, the best-known gospel for many Bible readers, uses the phrase “kingdom of heaven” instead of “kingdom of God.” But, as many will rightly point out, “heaven” here stands for “God.” It is a euphemism, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Applying the Gospels, Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Discipleship - Formation, Gospel Genres, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present, Parables, Teaching of Yeshua

Yeshua’s Exalted Identity (Synoptic Gospels)

Many think the idea of Yeshua as an exalted figure (prophet, Holy One of God, Messiah, divine-man) is primarily the domain of the Gospel of John. But in the synoptic gospels (Mark-Matthew-Luke) we read quite a bit about the identity of Yeshua as something greater than a rabbi: … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1a - Intro to the Gospels, Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Divinity of Yeshua, Identity of Yeshua, Messiah, Son of Man

Repost: The Mountain in the Sermon

On Sunday, I’m speaking to a small class in North Georgia about the Beatitudes. As you progress into Matthew 5-7, this is a vital piece of information about the context. The following information is derived from a paper by Eric Ottenheijm of the University of Utrecht presented at the 2010 Society of Biblical Literature in the Matthew section. In Matthew 5:1, Yeshua went up on “the mountain.” No one knows which mountain, although there is a lovely hill which is the traditional spot. More important than a physical location, though, is understanding the allusion of “the mountain.” There are a number of mountains of great significance in the Hebrew Bible. The echoes of Exodus and Isaiah in particular add depth and meaning to the Sermon on the Mount. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Beatitudes, Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Identity of Yeshua, New Moses Theme, Sermon on the Mount, Spectacular Commentary

Mary’s Psalm (PODCAST Transcript)

I’m reading Scot McKnight’s new book, The King Jesus Gospel, a vital contribution for Christians and Messianic Jews. What’s so great about McKnight’s book is that he plainly and clearly explains why the main message of churches for the past hundred years has been so limpid and produced such a disappointing Christian culture. He doesn’t pretend that a little theological correction will put an end to human failure in religion, but it can’t hurt to have people follow a message that the apostles would at least recognize as the gospel. The main point of McKnight’s book is that the word “gospel” to the apostles meant the story of Yeshua giving meaning to life and eternity. Gospel was not simply a message of personal salvation. Personal salvation is one of the things … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Besorah/Gospel/Good News, DHE (Delitzsch Gospels), Luke's Gospel, Salvation and Covenant

Demons in Galilee

What sort of theology of unclean spirits existed in Yeshua’s time? We have a few hints and texts that can give us a picture. Pagan notions of demonic spirits were no doubt an influence on some, but devout Galileans like Yeshua would have looked to other sources for their beliefs. A few centuries before Yeshua, some unknown circles of apocalyptic scribes wrote some texts that are now known as part of 1 Enoch (which is really five books written at different times). The early part of 1 Enoch is the Book of the Watchers. Who are the watchers? The answer is found in Daniel 4:10 (4:13 in Christian Bibles; see also 4:14, 20 (4:17, 23)) : In the vision of my mind in bed, I looked and saw a holy Watcher coming … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Enactments and Symbolic Actions, Miracles

Kingdom as Social, Economic, Communal Resistance

I wrote on my main blog today about “Discipleship in [Coming] Hard Times.” See it here. The following is some evidence for the notion that Yeshua intended more than simply waiting for the World to Come, that the future kingdom is in some sense already here and disciples are to bring its realities into the here and now. Kingdom at Hand? What did Yeshua mean about the kingdom of God being at hand (soon to appear) in Mark 1:15? He followed this proclamation up by calling disciples, defeating evil spirits, and making people well. In the world to come there will be no evil, people will be well, and all will be as a family in union with each other and God. Yeshua was bringing future realities into the present. Note that … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Applying the Gospels, Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Discipleship - Formation, Enactments and Symbolic Actions, Kingdom Present, Teaching of Yeshua

The Mountain in the Sermon

The following information is derived from a paper by Eric Ottenheijm of the University of Utrecht presented at the 2010 Society of Biblical Literature in the Matthew section. In Matthew 5:1, Yeshua went up on “the mountain.” No one knows which mountain, although there is a lovely hill which is the traditional spot. More important than a physical location, though, is understanding the allusion of “the mountain.” There are a number of mountains of great significance in the Hebrew Bible. The echoes of Exodus and Isaiah in particular add depth and meaning to the Sermon on the Mount. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Beatitudes, Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Identity of Yeshua, New Moses Theme, Sermon on the Mount, Spectacular Commentary

Yeshua as Torah, Part 1

Not only should we understand Yeshua in his time and his context, but we should also devote thought to applying Yeshua into modern contexts. The various Christianities are the usual focus of this re-contextualization of Jesus, but what of Judaism today? How does Yeshua fit into the context of a Judaism filled with 2,000 years of water under the bridge, halacha, theology, commentary, mysticism, and so on? This is the first post in the category (many more to come) “Judaism Today & Yeshua.” The more Torah the more life . . . he who has acquired for himself the words of Torah has acquired for himself life in the World to Come. –Pirkei Avot 2:7. The Torah said, I was the architectural instrument of the Holy One, blessed be he . . . … Read entire article »

Filed under: Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Identity of Yeshua, Judaism Today & Yeshua, Temple and Torah

Why the Beatitudes Are Much Loved

The Delitzsch Hebrew-English version (DHE), a forthcoming translation of the gospels from the Hebrew version of Franz Delitzsch, renders Matthew 5:3 as follows: O the gladness of the poor in ruach, theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Yeshua makes desirable what is commonly regarded as unpleasant or pathetic. Our emotions are stirred by such talk. The imaginations and hopes of peasants sitting on the Galilean grass were stirred. It is something greatly to be desired, a reversal so needed by those of us who deeply feel our poverty of spirit. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Beatitudes, Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present, Teaching of Yeshua

The Kingdom Has Reached You

Luke 10:9 is variously translated “the kingdom of God has come upon you” or “has come near to you.” Luke Timothy Johnson (The Gospel of Luke, Liturgical Press: 1991) renders it “has reached you.” Yeshua indicated that in some ways the kingdom of God arrived with him and in others that there would be a delay. Luke 10:9 is one of the “now” aspects of the kingdom of God in the “now and not yet” duality. How does Luke 10:9 inform us of one of the senses in which the kingdom had already reached Yeshua’s generation? What does it tell us about the kingdom in our day and in the future? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present

The Beginning of the Gospel

Gospel is a word with many layers. It is a later English coined word (God-spell) used for the Greek evangelion and the Hebrew besorah. The simple translation would be good news. The basic picture is of a messenger who comes to a town with good news: “We are safe; the enemy is defeated.” … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Beginners, Besorah/Gospel/Good News

News about Him

. . . news about him spread throughout the surrounding countryside (Luke 4:14b). Luke places this summary at a crucial point in the story. A report about Yeshua is spreading throughout Galilee. The word for “news” here is not the same word often found in the gospels and other parts of the Bible from which we get our word “gospel.” But the idea is the same. How does the idea of “news about him” fit into the larger picture of Luke’s portrait of Yeshua? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Besorah/Gospel/Good News, Identity of Yeshua