Articles Comments

Yeshua in Context » Gentiles

Greece, Rome, Israel #3

And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and sought a way to destroy him; for they feared him, because all the multitude was astonished at his teaching. –Mark 11:18 The gospel did not just happen. The events which marked the onset of a new stage in the world’s redemption happened in a time and place with three main cultural backdrops. Parts 1 and 2 introduced Greek and Roman influences on these events, both in Yeshua’s time and the later time the gospels were written. What about conditions and social structures in Israel itself? What are some basics readers need to know about conditions and groups in Israel? What about Jewish concerns in the times of the evangelists? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Background to Gospels, Beginners, Formation of the Gospels, Gentiles, Ideal Israel Theme, Identity of Yeshua, Judaism Today & Yeshua, Law, Torah

Greece, Rome, Israel #2

“Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a coin, and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesars.” Yeshua said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at him. –Mark 12:14-17 What has the gospel to do with Rome? As in the first installment about Greece and Hellenism, we’re considering Roman background in the life and message of Yeshua as well as in the time of the evangelists who wrote the gospels … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Formation of the Gospels, Gentiles, Greco-Roman Background, Son of God

Greece, Rome, Israel #1

Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth. . . . He said to her, “Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” -Mark 7:26, 27. Our reading of the gospels should take into account three streams of culture. In particular we can says that the times of Yeshua were affected by: (1) the reaction against Hellenism or Greek culture in Israel that had come to the fore in the days of the Maccabees from 165 BCE on, (2) the influence of Rome both for good and bad in the life of Israel, and (3) the struggles of Israelite groups and cultures to define themselves in a changing world. The three cultural streams of the gospels should … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Formation of the Gospels, Gentiles, Greco-Roman Background

Abraham in the Gospels

What does it mean to be an Israelite? This is the sort of question that was on the mind of people in Yeshua’s time. Rome had power. Israel was a subjected people. But God was expected to show up any time. And being a child of Abraham meant privilege in God’s eyes. Israel’s story begins with Abraham, the one who was chosen by God. His children would be in covenant relationship with God without regard to merit (free election) and forever without condition (irrevocable election). Being an Israelite meant secure covenant standing with God. Yet the story of Abraham is not merely about national privilege for Israelites, but blessing to all the families of the earth as well. At several places in the gospels we see how this dynamic idea, being a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Abraham, Background to Gospels, Gentiles, Salvation and Covenant