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Yeshua in Context » Messiah

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

Low and High Versions of the Yeshua Story

THE YESHUA STORY, LOW VERSION At last, in the days of the Second Temple a great Son of Israel arose in Galilee. He was a Hasid whose piety and Spirit-endowment worked healings. He was a teacher who spoke of the kingdom, the malkhut hashamayim, the world to come. The Temple authorities and the would-be rabbis in Judea opposed him. His miracles bothered them, since he was not one of them. His fanatical following scared them and was enough to convince the Roman governor to kill him. But the God of Israel raised him and he ascended to be the heavenly Messiah. God revealed that the death of Yeshua was a substitutionary atonement for all who would believe. At the end of the age, God will send him back as the Messianic … Read entire article »

Filed under: Divinity of Yeshua, Identity of Yeshua, Messiah, Yeshua as

REVIEW: The Jewish Gospels by Daniel Boyarin

Daniel Boyarin is Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture and rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. In the foreword by Jack Miles, he is called “one of two or three greatest rabbinic scholars in the world.” I’m not qualified to assign numbers to who is or isn’t the world’s greatest Talmud scholar, but it is easy to say that Boyarin knows his Talmud better than any but maybe a few dozen people in the world. So, it might surprise you to know that Boyarin thinks Judaism and Christianity are compatible. His goal, stated on pages 6-7 is to help Christians and Jews to stop vilifying each other. He doesn’t follow Jesus and isn’t asking fellow Jews to do so. But he demolishes all ideas that Christian devotion to Jesus is contrary … Read entire article »

Filed under: Answering Objections, Background to Gospels, Book Reviews, Divinity of Yeshua, Identity of Yeshua, Judaism Today & Yeshua, Messiah, Paradox, Spectacular Commentary

Bethlehem Shepherds, Video

This week’s Yeshua in Context Video is timely, as many are starting to think about the birth narratives of Yeshua in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 at this time of year. For the next few weeks, I will explore facets of the birth narratives. Next week: Bethlehem’s Star. Who were the shepherds of Bethlehem? Why do they figure so prominently in Luke’s birth narrative? What do we learn about Yeshua and his context? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Detailed Commentary, Geography, Luke's Gospel, Messiah, Preachable Points, Video

How They Read “Messiah” #1

It’s important to neither exaggerate nor diminish the importance of messianic hope in the times of Yeshua and the disciples. Exaggeration looks like this: Rome and the Herodians continually had to quell messianic pretenders and uprisings. Diminishing looks like this: there was virtually no messianic hope in Yeshua’s time and no one was looking for a king to lead a revoution. Both claims have been made. In Michael Bird’s Are You the One Who Is to Come?: The Historical Jesus and the Messianic Question, there is a helpful chart of some major messianic scriptures and references to the thought of the time about these texts. What kinds of things were people saying about Isaiah 11 in Second Temple Judaism? That will be our theme in this first installment. To help those who … Read entire article »

Filed under: Apocalyptic Literature, Background to Gospels, Hebrew Bible as Testimony, Messiah

Revealed to Little Children

In “Why Yeshua? A Jewish Question,” I listed nine elements of Yeshua’s identity and purpose that add something new to Judaism (see it here). The first of these nine elements has captured my attention and been the source of my thoughts and searching for a few weeks now: Yeshua is the Moses-like Prophet-to-Come, the New Moses, whose agency as the Voice of the Father reveals depths of God unknown or ambiguous in previous revelation. I listed for readers the findings of Paul Anderson regarding the prophet-like-Moses theme in the fourth gospel, which is not a minor motif but a guiding principle of the entire Gospel of John (see my post “Moses-Like-Prophet in John” here). In searching out examples of how Yeshua revealed greater depths of God than had previously been known, I first … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Divinity of Yeshua, General, Identity of Yeshua, Judaism Today & Yeshua, Kingdom Present, Messiah, New Moses Theme

Hidden Corners and Disciples

This is the greatest liability of Yeshua-faith: that God does his work quietly and in hidden corners while the world is looking for noise and spectacle. Luke 10:21-24 is material not found in Mark. It is found in Matthew, but Matthew has it separated into two separate sayings on two occasions: 11:25-27 and 13:16-17. Messianic fulfillment comes in unexpected ways and Yeshua’s identity peeks through the veil. On that same occasion Yeshua rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your gracious will. All things have been given to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Discipleship - Formation, Divinity of Yeshua, Identity of Yeshua, Messiah, Mysticism in the Gospels

The Temptation in Luke

LUKE 4:1-13 Yeshua, filled with the Spirit, is tempted (1-2), desert-bread (3-4), world-kingdoms (5-8), Temple-pinnacle (9-12), the devil waited for an opportune time to test him again (13). The commentary that follows is about the specific emphases in Luke’s version on the filling with the Spirit, the different order from Matthew, and the overall meaning of the three temptations. See the other articles categorized under “Temptation” for a fuller view of this important scene in Yeshua’s life. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Identity of Yeshua, Messiah, Temptation

Suetonius and Messianic Expectation

Some have claimed that there was no popular expectation of a messianic figure in Yeshua’s time. They say only some esoteric groups such as the community of the Dead Sea Scrolls had such beliefs. They especially doubt the idea that popular expectation was of a political-deliverer-messiah whereas Yeshua revealed a different kind of Messiah, a suffering figure who would inaugurate God’s kingdom in a different way. Under the “Messiah” category, I am accumulating some evidence in support of the popular messianic expectation theory. See for example this post in which Josephus explains some of the rationale for the First Jewish Revolt which started in 66 CE as being related to a messianic notion. Now, let me share a little Suetonius. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Messiah

Greek and Roman Background: Son of God

Some people use the kind of information I’m sharing here to say things like, “The virginal conception of Jesus by Mary and the Holy Spirit is the kind of story pagans would make up about their rulers.” That is not where I am going with this. But it is vital background for understanding Yeshua as the gospels present him. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Greco-Roman Background, Messiah, Son of God

Josephus on the Messiah Concept

Israel went to war with Rome starting in 66 CE. It all started when some Greeks sacrificed birds outside a synagogue and the Romans did nothing about it. The chief priests in Jerusalem ceased offering sacrifices in honor of Caesar and a bitter war resulted, ending in Jerusalem and the Temple in ruins and a vast number of Jews and Romans dead. Josephus, a Galilean general, captured by the Romans, who became a collaborator with the Romans though always a defender of the greatness of his people, explains in a famous passage in The Jewish War (also called Bellum Judaicum or BJ for short) what one of the root causes of the war was. It was a concept of a Jewish ruler who would actually rule the world: … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Josephus, Messiah