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Yeshua in Context » Temple and Torah

Passover and Yeshua’s Last Week (Based on John)

What happened when in the week leading up to the crucifixion of Yeshua? What if we ask this question of the Gospel of John instead of the more common approach of following Mark-Matthew-Luke (the synoptic gospels, as they are called)? It’s tempting to turn to Mark or Matthew for information, but suppose we simply follow the Fourth Gospel to see what we can learn? Let me begin with just a brief note on my appreciation for the accuracy of the Fourth Gospel on matters related to the Temple and feasts of the Torah. I first began to consider the possibility that John was more precise that the synoptic gospels at the Society of Biblical Literature meeting in New Orleans in 2009. Paul Anderson (The Fourth Gospel and the Quest for Jesus) … Read entire article »

Filed under: Cross, Gospels as History, Last Supper, Passion Narratives, Passover, Temple and Torah

Yeshua the Galilean

Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? -Acts 2:7 The miracle of that special Shavuot (Pentecost) at the Temple was something very human: the appearance of the Spirit of God in individual theophanies on the disciples. Many onlookers seem to have missed the tongues of fire that Luke says rested on the disciples. What they noticed was the strange speech. Humble Israelites were speaking languages from far away lands. And it occurred to the onlookers as more than strange that these powerfully endued speakers were Galilean. It was the Judeans, not the Galileans, who emphasized scribal education. If anyone might be expected to have such learning of languages, and possibly if anyone were to be chosen as a prophet, most would expect this to happen to Judeans and not Galileans. What is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Beginners, Galilee, General, Preachable Points, Temple and Torah

Jewish Jesus

If you prefer listening, you can listen to the podcast here (or subscribe to “Yeshua in Context” on iTunes). I read an interview with a scholar recently in which he talked about the patronizing concept of the Jewishness of Jesus. I’m not precisely sure what he had in mind as the interview did not get specific enough on this point and I have not read enough of this scholar’s work to be sure what opinions he holds. I do know one complaint he had: people who say their historical presentation of Jesus is a Jewish Jesus and then proceed to explain how Jesus is radically different from their notion of the Judaism of his time. He seemed to be ready to dismiss the value of speaking of the Jewish Jesus completely, and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Gospels as History, Judaism Today & Yeshua, Temple and Torah

Yeshua and the Mishnah on Carrying in the Temple

What did Yeshua oppose in his Temple protest action (Mark 11:15-19)? He opposed three things: (1) trading in the Temple courts (2) carrying vessels through (3) filling the place of prayer in such a way as to prevent the main activity which should be here. The second issue Yeshua had, which is stated directly in Mark 11:16, is also discussed in the later deliberations of the Mishnah (c. 200 CE). What is the problem with carrying things through the Temple? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Temple and Torah

Yeshua and Idolatrous Coins

Twice in Mark (with parallels in other gospels) Yeshua confronts hypocrisy about idolatrous coins. The issue of coins containing symbols of foreign worship (avodah zara) came up in an early rebellion against Rome in 6-7 CE (Horsley and Hanson, Bandits, Prophets, and Messiah, pgs. 196-7). The two conflicts of Yeshua involving idolatrous coins concern the Temple tax coinage and Yeshua’s protest action (Mark 11:15-19) and the entrapment question about paying the poll tax to Caesar (Mark 12:13-17). … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Temple and Torah

Understanding Yeshua’s Temple Protest Action

The Temple protest action of Yeshua (a.k.a. the Temple cleansing, Mark 11:15-19) is poorly understood because few consider the details of this narrative and place Yeshua’s actions in the context of the Judaism of his time and the context of the Temple of Herod and the way it was run by the powerful Temple state. Mark’s account is the best of all four gospels to help us reconstruct what happened. This incident is of great importance, probably being what sealed Yeshua’s doom in the eyes of the Temple state and Rome. We should read Yeshua’s actions in the giant Temple complex as a commotion, not bringing the whole Temple activity to a standstill. Yeshua acted alone and did not ask his disciples to participate. In the comments that follow, I … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Background to Gospels, Enactments and Symbolic Actions, Gospels as History, Temple and Torah

Discipleship and the Fig Tree

The following commentary is important for illustrating a key point of discipleship for Yeshua. To understand the basis for these comments on Mark 11:12-14 and 20-25, it is important for me to disclose what I think is the meaning of Yeshua’s resistance to the Temple state. I do not, as some commentators and historians, think Yeshua was against the Temple itself, but against the corrupt administration which turned the Temple state into an instrument of oppression of the lower classes and used it as an instrument for power and position for themselves. After the commentary, I will suggest a few points of application for discipleship in our time. MARK 11:12-14, 20-25 Yeshua curses a fig tree (vss. 12-14). In between is Yeshua’s Temple protest action (vss. 15-19). The next morning’s lesson from the fig tree … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Applying the Gospels, Discipleship - Formation, Enactments and Symbolic Actions, Forgiveness of Sins, Kingdom Future, Kingdom Present, Temple and Torah

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

Yeshua and Sacrifices

A curious question to ask is whether Yeshua ever offered sacrifices in the Temple? It’s a curious question because the gospels never depict him doing so. Our off-the-cuff answer to the question may reveal a lot about our assumptions concerning Yeshua. Another question might be, “Why don’t the gospels ever depict Yeshua offering a sacrifice or mention that he did so?” … Read entire article »

Filed under: Background to Gospels, Erasing Anti-Judaism, Featured, Law, Torah, Sacrificial System, Temple and Torah

Yeshua and the Temple

Chapter 7 of Yeshua in Context is about the Temple Cleansing and chapter 14 is about Yeshua’s trial. In both of them I bring up the issue of Yeshua’s stance toward the Temple in Jerusalem. A number of excellent Christian scholars are in the habit of suggesting that Yeshua viewed the Temple as harmful or obsolete. I’d have hoped the progress of scholarship would have brought well-read people past such misinformation by now. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Aims of Yeshua, Erasing Anti-Judaism, Kingdom Future, Temple and Torah