The parables give us access to the way Jesus re-imagined the possibility of living, of being in the world. They are not just religious, not just about God, although they are that too. As we investigate the parables as fictions we will begin to see that they are multifaceted re-imaginings of life, of the possibilities of life. They help us imagine how we might live life in this world.
~Bernard Brandon Scott

Reason: Well, What Do You Think? – A Sermon


I was blessed to be able to preach today at Capitol Hill United Methodist in Washington, DC where my wife, Sandra, and I have been attending since moving to the DC area in March. In this sermon, I continued an on-going series on the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, particularly reason.

The Scripture passage that provided inspiration for the sermon was Mark 4:10-12; 33-34:

10 When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12 in order that “they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’ “

33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

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19 Responses to “Reason: Well, What Do You Think? – A Sermon”

  1. By d on Jul 8, 2012 | Reply

    I have only listened to 2012 07 so I will share what I think.
    The why of teaching in parables is better understood when combined with Matthew 11. God explains why he would teach the way he did.

    There was no supernatural revelation when the apostles did not understand.
    Christ explained the parables to them. It was for them to know and understand because these Apostles would be those sent to teach future generations and they needed know the correct interpretation as God had ment it to be understood.
    Those teachings would be handed down, understood and paracticed generation to generation in the Christian Church.

    It would be helpfull if the backround and history of the use of parables was incorporated and understood.
    Parables were not new. Parables were a method of teaching in the Jewish Temples. The parables of Christ were not new. They come right out of the Old testament teaching. The difference is, the proper interpretation of..
    Christ ,called Rabbi, would have studied in those Jewish Temples.
    In order for Jesus to have earned the title of Rabbi he would have been trained in process, he would have been chosen to do so. Jesus would have had to have been one of the brightest and best to be chosen to train as Rabbi. He would begin his ministry at the age of 30 which was typical of those trained as Rabbi.

    Gods Word is ment ot be studied.
    How much did Paul study?

    Acts 26:24
    Suddenly, Festus shouted, “Paul, you are insane. Too much study has made you crazy!”
    A lot!

  2. By Troy Sims on Jul 8, 2012 | Reply

    Hi “D,”

    Thank you for your response. Matthew 11 actually says nothing about Jesus’ teaching in parables. Matthew 13, however, contains just slightly different wording of the same passages from Mark 4 that I preached on. Yet, that being said, I believe it is bad scholarship to interpret one book based on the words of another book. That is, in essence, picking an choosing which takes precedence.

    If you actually read the parables, few get interpretations at all. Many of them have widely diverse interpretations down through the years. I’d argue, therefore, that the correct interpretation was NOT handed down as many we are still trying to figure out (i.e. the Shrewd Manager in Luke 16).

    There are occasionally parallels between some of Jesus’ parables in the Hebrew Scriptures, but those parallels are in imagery and similar words. Actually, there are no known sources of parables in Judaism until the Mishnah is written about 200CE, and it only contains ONE (1) parable. It is not until the 5th century CE that parables become common in Judaism.

    To learn more about parables, I recommend Bernard Brandon Scott’s book RE-IMAGINE THE WORLD: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PARABLES OF JESUS as a starting point. Fred Craddock and Eugene Boring’s THE PEOPLE’S NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY is another great resource.

    As Craddock and Boring rightly note, the title “rabbi” was often used rather generically for any teacher or as an honorific title in Jesus’ day. It would not be until the restructuring of Judaism after the fall of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70AD that the term would be restricted to official teachers. Thus, we should not assume that because Jesus is called “rabbi” a few times (only Judas calls him that in Matthew – yikes) that it meant he had special training (though it is possible, but unlikely given the fact that he is called a TEKTON in Greek – one who works with their hands).

    It should also be remembered that the ancient Greek manuscripts of the New Testament were written in ALL CAPS. Thus, we can’t assume that just because our English translations choose to capitalize the word when speaking of Jesus that it was an official title.

  3. By d on Jul 8, 2012 | Reply

    I believe if you read some of the rabbanical writings you will see the use of parable as a teaching tool. I will have to diissgree with you on Matthew 11. Jesus did not start his ministry incorporating parables.
    Jesus explains the people rejected his teaching when he spoke plainly. That is why he began to teach in parable.

    As I have come to learn in my study most of what Christ would teach was not new.Christ clarified and explained what the Jews were familiar with.
    People are too quick to forget Christ’s jewishness and all that would include

    You are correct on the use of the title Rabbi. Teacher would have been the term used.
    Are you familiar with The Schools of Hillel and Shamai?
    It is a great topic and I enjoy the exchange.

  4. By d on Jul 8, 2012 | Reply

    One other thing.
    I would say it is the lack of study and comparison of scripture on same topic or same topic like subjects addressed in scripture leads to confusion.
    Putting together all the data scripture and history leads to better understanding.
    Matthew was talking the same topic as Mark so why would anyone not want to read and see thru both sets of eyes?

  5. By Troy Sims on Jul 9, 2012 | Reply

    Hi “D,”

    Thanks for continuing the conversation.

    I agree we often forget Jesus’ Jewishness. I’m certain Jesus was not trying to start something new but to bring reform.

    That being said, I think we often forget how diverse Judaism was then. It was not a monolith. There were the:
    * Essenes (probable producers of the Dead Sea Scrolls) who sought to separate from society to usher in God’s reign;
    * Pharisees who thought God’s kingdom would come on earth only if the Mosaic law was more strictly adhered to;
    * Herodians thought the best response to the world was to play along with the Roman empire;
    * Sadducees who are opposed to all things Pharisaical (obviously an over-exageration) but seemed to try to keep peace with those in power;
    * Scribes – these may have been subsets of other groups or a group in and of themselves or both! They were learned and thus had some power and authority;
    * Priests who worked in the temple who likely tried to stay in good with the Romans in order to maintain their comfortable way of life;
    * The Sanhedrin who appear to be a council of those in power and authority in Jerusalem;
    * John the baptizer and his followers who were trying usher God’s way in with baptizing for repentance;
    * Zealots who thought a military uprising was the way to bring in God’s empire; and
    * Ethnic – There is much speculation as to how actively peasant Jews may have practices Judaism. There has yet to be any archaeological evidence of a physical synagogue in Nazareth, for instance. Given the great cost to travel to Jerusalem AND have an appropriate sacrifice makes this group even more sketchy.

    Jesus seems sympathetic to the ethnic Jews, looking beyond religious requirements. He seems to be against most (if not all) the other groups to varying degrees. Thus, for me, he fits more solidly into the category of a Jewish prophet.

    Rabbi, of course, means Teacher.

    Pardon my cynicism, but when the earliest writings of Hillel are produced (2nd Century) and there’s only one parable followed by the 5th century, I think there is room for development that didn’t date as far back.

    Again, my point: Jesus uses parables to engage his audience. Easy answers usually don’t bring real transformation; wrestling with questions does.

    The issue with reading Mark through the lens of Matthew is that often we throw out Mark’s intentions in trying to create one story of Jesus’ life and not 4. The early church (for the most part) was okay with that tension. Why can’t we be?

    One example: Matthew’s birth story cannot be reconciled with Luke’s birth story. They contradict one another. Yet, we do it every year at Christmas. In doing that, we miss the point of each.

    Quite often, when we look at what Matthew & Luke in comparison to Mark, we see that they often purposely change Mark’s account to fit their own purposes or to dispel with tension or difficulties with Mark’s text. That doesn’t mean Luke or Matthew was right (or necessarily wrong), but they change what Mark said.

    How would you like it if I interpreted what you said through the lens of someone else – throwing out what you believe?

    Have a great one!

  6. By d on Jul 10, 2012 | Reply

    I would not use the term “reform”.
    Christ said :
    “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”
    Reform may be too strong a term and lead some to see Christ as some sort of Zealot which he was not.
    Christ is called Rabbi, teacher and Rabboni in several passages and by more than one person or apostle.
    What did a Master Rabbi teach?

    Getting back to the original topic:
    The words Christ used are right out of the book of Jeremiah and Isaiah.
    “Harden the hearts of these people.
    Plug their ears and shut their eyes.
    That way, they will not see with their eyes,
    nor hear with their ears,
    nor understand with their hearts
    and turn to me for healing.”

    Old testament parables are found in 2 Samuel, the Psalms and other Old Testament books. The Psalms extend from 1410 B.C. to the late 6ht early 5th century B. C.
    If you look up parable in Jewish text the parable is designed to determine the “ true sense of the law” and correct understanding. So to suggest otherwise is most likely not accurate. Why teach if there is nothing concrete to teach or no absolute truths to learn?

    I agree the Jews were not united in their belief by the time Christ came on the scene but isn’t it interesting that many of the beliefs that would divide the Jewish people would be put to rest in the death and resurrection of Christ

    I do not see any preferential treatment or favoritism to any particular sect of the Jews.
    Peter was chosen and known to be a zealot. Paul was a Pharisee. The woman at the well was Samaritan, John the Baptist lived as an Essene. Christ sat with publicans.
    I will say Christ was particularly hard on the Sadducees but these were Priests and that is to be expected.

    As far as the so called contradictions of the events and happenings surrounding the birth of Christ, well that is another subject for another time.

    As far as Hillil,I bring that up to remind Jesus was a Jew.Born in a Jewish home and raised by Jewish parents. He would be raised and follow typical protocol. There is no question Jewish schools existed and no question of who Hillel was. It may not have been recorded until later but that does not disqualify either from being truth.

  7. By Troy Sims on Jul 10, 2012 | Reply

    Yes, Matthew 5 says:
    17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

    Jesus says he comes to fulfill, says to his hearers, “You’ve gotta follow the law and be better at it than the scribes and Pharisees.” Then, the rest of chapter 5 is a bit of his “reform:” “the law says to do this, I say to do that.”

    “. . . but to fulfil” has wrongly been interpreted as, “Jesus did it so I don’t have to.” Jesus goes on in Matthew 7:12 to say, “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” Do you really think, then, that he’s saying, “I fulfilled the law and prophets so you won’t have to. Treat people however you want, good or bad?” No, he’s teaching us how to fulfil it.

    The usual response is, “I’m only human. I can’t.” Then we forget that “all things are possible with God” and that we can “do all things through Christ who strengthens us.” ALL THINGS, not just some things. ALL THINGS.

    It is sad that Romans 10:4 is mistranslated as “Christ is the end of the law.” Rather, it is “Christ is the goal of the law” – that way of life is the goal for all of us – having the same mind as Christ (Philippians 2:5).

    Again, in the 1st century, “rabbi” (which, again, means teacher) had yet to become solely a proper title. Since you lump all usages of the words rabbi and rabbouni from the gospels together, you miss the point of Matthew. Only Judas calls Jesus “rabbi.” Even in Matthew 23:8, Jesus instructs that no one call anyone rabbi for, he says, you have one teacher (presumably himself). Even then, Jesus (or Matthew) purposely chooses not to label Jesus rabbi but uses another word for “teacher.” For Matthew, rabbi is obviously negative.

    Jesus’ own people from Nazareth call him a TEKTON (mistranslated as a carpenter and mis-understood as a middle class cabinet maker) – one who works with his hands. They don’t say, “Hey, there’s the guy that went off to become a Rabbi!” No. With surprise they say, “Isn’t that the TEKTON?” That means he has no land and likely little or no money. That means it’s highly unlikely he had formal training (despite the attributes that Luke gives him). If his own peopele,

    “Why teach if there is nothing concrete to teach or no absolute truths to learn?” Because Jesus is doing a NEW thing. It is no longer black and white as he points out in reinterpreting the law in Matthew 5, and I make the leap of faith that these are not the only laws Jesus would have reinterpreted. He’s talking about situational ethics.

    Even just looking at what Jesus says in Matthew 5 on loving ones enemies. He doesn’t say, “You’ve got to love them, now here is how you do that.” That is left open ended. That’s what Paul is getting at when chastising the “works of the Law.” Both Jesus and Paul fall into the prophetic category in which so many of the prophets speak for God saying, “Stop with the sacrifices, the following the letter of the law. What I want you to do is take care of people – period.” As an example, Amos 5: 21 I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. 23 Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. 24 But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

    Isn’t it worthwhile to consider that Jesus more often quotes psalms and the prophets than “the law?” When he does speak of the law, he’s often re-interpreting it or questioning it. There is considerable doubt that the psalms and prophets were taken very seriously within Judaism – at least in terms of establishing ethics – until AFTER the fall of Jerusalem in 70CE, which makes sense. With no temple, so much of the law can no longer be practised. Thus, Jesus is doing something different here than what the “establishment” is doing, focusing primarily on the law.

    Jesus definitely invites and includes all, but does he support the cause of the zealot? Is he on board with what the Pharisees are doing – tithing mint and cumin but neglecting justice? Does Jesus remove himself from society like the Essenes? NO, but he supports those who are downtrodden and cast out by the folks above. He’s seeking reform in all these other ill-conceived versions of how to fix the world.

  8. By d on Jul 10, 2012 | Reply

    I am going to print out your post and study it to comment later but a quick read reveals….

    “It is sad that Romans 10:4 is mistranslated as “Christ is the end of the law.”
    Rather, it is “Christ is the goal of the law” – that way of life is the goal for
    all of us – having the same mind as Christ (Philippians 2:5).”

    That is the goal to become Christ like and it is also true in Christ all law is fulfilled.
    That statement is not a ticket to do as I please or “lawlessness” as Paul later explains, it is a challenge, commitment and humbling of person to do things Gods way. It is Grace defined.

    There are many things that are misunderstood by the masses. To say that statement (carpenter) is false requires a little more information.

    All male Jewish children went to school.
    All male Jewish children were required to learn a trade in addition to their rigorous training in scripture.
    The Old Testament tells us the Jewish child begins learning of God at birth.
    Jewish children would have been required to recite the Torah from a young age and move on in their studies to other writings included in the Old Testament today. The brightest and best who wished to pursue higher understanding would apply to Master Teachers andif selected “learn at the feet” of the teacher. You will remember Mary at the feet of Christ. Interesting?

    When Jesus was addressing a Jewish audience they would know of Moses, Abraham, the teaching of the prophets, and what we call Old Testament writings in detail. That would include Peter the fisherman. Peter may be thought a rough neck uneducated fisherman but that is not true if he followed the traditional upbringing of the male Jewish child in Christ’s day.

    Jesus, you will remember, was falsely accused. The charges against Christ were not true, They were a lie.
    Jesus never discredited the teachings of Moses or the words of the prophets. He was asked that question when the subject of divorce came up. God sent those prophets. God inspired them. God, we are told put his words in the mouth of the prophets and those God chose to send. It would be silly to think God would discredit his own words.

    Jesus, when question, repeats what had already been written. The teaching on love your neighbor, divorce, marriage, and all the law Christ upheld, quoted and applied. He was truly not guilty of breaking any law which qualified Jesus to be called innocent. Christ applied the law correctly and by example would teach proper application of the law.

  9. By Troy Sims on Jul 10, 2012 | Reply

    Hi “D,”

    There is no archaeological evidence of a school in Nazareth from which Jesus comes.
    There is no archaeological evidence of a synagogue in Nazareth.
    Know how much a Torah Scroll costs today? About $100,000. Do you really think a peasant town in Galilee could afford a Torah Scroll (not to mention any of the other scrolls of the Hebrew scriptures)? Even the early churches couldn’t afford to have professionally produced scrolls or manuscripts of biblical texts. We see this by the poor quality of the copying that took place in our earliest manuscripts.

    There is no 1st century evidence that peasants went to such schooling. Aristocrats, yes. Peasants, no. Jesus is not from a rich family. He’s a TEKTON.

    Leaving Matthew out of the equation (since he seems to have a disdain for the term “rabbi”), even others who call Jesus “rabbi” does not imply that they think he’s had special Jewish training. For instance. . .

    When the early church says, “Jesus is Lord (KYRIOS),” they are saying, “Caesar is NOT Lord (KYRIOS) – same Greek word” despite what coinage and other Roman signage might say.

    Similarly, to say, “Jesus is Rabbi,” can also be taken to mean, “Those folks are NOT Rabbi,” despite what some may say.

    Yes, Mary sits at the feet of Jesus to listen to him – just like I liked to sit at the feet of my Grandpa and listen to him tell stories. That’s a sign of respect, not necessarily an indication that Jesus has training as a rabbi.

    “Jesus never discredited the teachings of Moses.” “Christ applied the law correctly and by example would teach proper application of the law.” We have no evidence that Jesus adhered to the “cleanliness codes” of Leviticus. He touched and ate with lepers (not to mention being touched by a bleeding woman), rendering himself unclean. We never hear of him doing the ritual bathing or separating himself from others until morning. What about, “Moses says you can get divorced. I say no.”

    The main point of my sermon was this. Jesus taught in parables, and he purposely did not explain them to folks. The character of the God that I see in Jesus is not one of deception, of trying to keep people in the dark or on the outside. I CANNOT believe Jesus teaches in parables so they won’t get it. That is not grace. That is not even free. If that was Jesus’ point, why even tell parables – or even teach – at all?

    The disciples did not transmit the interpretations of these down, despite what you said in your first comment. We’re still trying to figure them out today. What they do, however, is create conversation, create community, and engage the minds that we so often want to shut down – or that others want to shut down for us (like the GOP in Texas that thinks higher order thinking skill should not be taught in schools).

    In the spirit of Wesley, I’ll have to say that I think we are going to have to agree to disagree. We can think and let think. And at the same time, I won’t break with you over our differing opinions. What matters?
    * God takes the initiative (in all sorts of ways) to be in relationship with us despite who we are or what we’ve done or haven’t done – Prevenient Grace;
    * God willingly accepts us as we are – Justifying Grace; and yet
    * God loves us too much to let us stay the same, so God works in us and through us as we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling – Sanctifying Grace.

  10. By d on Jul 10, 2012 | Reply

    Your question:
    “Do you really think a peasant town in Galilee could afford a Torah Scroll (not to mention any of the other scrolls of the Hebrew scriptures)? Even the early churches couldn’t afford to have professionally produced scrolls or manuscripts of biblical texts. We see this by the poor quality of the copying that took place in our earliest manuscripts.”

    He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read.Luke 4:16

    14Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. 15He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

    16When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:

    18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.

    He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,

    that the blind will see,

    that the oppressed will be set free,

    19and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.f”

    20He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. 21Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”


  11. By d on Jul 12, 2012 | Reply

    Sorry it took so long to get back to you on the topic.
    Your statement:
    “In the spirit of Wesley, I’ll have to say that I think we are going to have to agree to disagree. We can think and let think. And at the same time,’

    I do not see the exchange as persons being right or wrong.
    I see things as an exchange of information so all grow in Christ.

    It is a benefit to all when we learn something new. When we are led to look at something we may have missed or had not considered. I read your comments in earnest and have picked up a few things you mentioned. I make comment and hope you consider and do the same.

    To continue:
    You have mentioned no synagogue in Nazareth several times so I will make the following comment for you to think over.

    1. It is evident Christ could read. I do not think you are contesting that fact with your comment. People that read where schooled to do so.
    2. Jewish communities in the days of Christ with us were permitted special exception by the Roman authorities to practice their religion, worship their God and some independent rule of Jewish community.

    3. Considering the above, Is it reasonable the Jews would not have set up schools for their children to learn and places of worship? It is also true traveled to Jeruselem. Is it unreasonable to consider Jesus could have traveled there to study at a later age? You will remember even the Samaritan woman knew something of God by her comments to Christ. Even though “Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9)

    4.”When Jesus was just a boy and went missing he was found, after three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.
    47. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.”
    That is a typical description of a young man in study. It is how Jewish children were schooled.

    5. Is there any evidence in scripture that supports Jewish children were required to not only be well schooled in their God and religious practice but also in a trade?
    Yes there is. You will remember Paul, before an angry crowd reminds them:
    “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, and I was brought up and educated here in Jerusalem under Gamaliel. As his student, I was carefully trained in our Jewish laws and customs.”
    We also know Paul, formally Saul was a tent maker by trade.
    Not to be missed is “studied at the feet” once again.
    Rabban GamalielI was a leading authority in the Sanhedrin mid 1st century CE. He was the grandson of the great Jewish teacher Hillil the Elder Acts 23:3, Acts 5:34.

    This God we worship and the Book we hold dear holds treasures beyond measure.
    I don’t have anything else to say and I hope it inspires one to think deeper and study more as I was led to do.

  12. By Troy Sims on Jul 12, 2012 | Reply

    Hi “D,”

    Please, understand. I’m not saying I haven’t enjoyed our exchange or learned from it. I just feel we had reached an impasse in terms of our worthwhile, fun, and stimulating conversation. That was an important part of my sermon as well: the theological discussion should take place in community, and in our modern world, the internet allows that community to be expanded in great ways. I hope that we can converse about other topics, too.

    I’m just of the opinion that likely Jesus didn’t read based on the archaeological and historical evidence of a peasant area. The only book that says Jesus read was Luke 4, which you quoted – and is one of my favorite passages (I think it sums up Jesus’ ministry – and defines what ours should be). Luke was likely a well-to-do Gentile who didn’t fully understand Jewish or peasant culture. Note, as a quick example, how he turns the thatch roof (common in peasant Galilee) of the story of the paralytic and his 4 friends into a tile roof (of Rome or Asia Minor). I think Luke is, in essence, writing parables ABOUT Jesus based in his own experience and those he is likely writing for.

    Could Jesus have learned to read later in life? Sure.
    Could he have still been an incredible person without training? Yes. Training doesn’t necessarily make us intelligent (it certainly doesn’t hurt).

    Jesus does, often, criticize folks for not hearing what they had read (or should have read) in the Scriptures. That doesn’t necessarily mean he could read. It does mean he listened, and listened well!

    Like I said, I do hope we can converse on other topics. I just feel we’re going around in circles at this point. That being said, it might be worthwhile to discuss these at another point down the road.

    I’ve enjoyed it. If you have a website, I’d love to know the URL.

  13. By d on Jul 12, 2012 | Reply

    I have no website.
    There are so many blogs out there one could get lost in the maze.

    I will leave you with one final thought.
    Mathew, Mark, Luke and John say Christ taught in the synagogue.
    Christ would most likely had to have been a person with some form credentials to attract so much attention from the High priests and access to teaching in the temples. Do you think the high priests would have given a moments attention to a man not a Rabbi?

    Just something to think about. No response needed.
    You have aood one.

  14. By Troy Sims on Jul 17, 2012 | Reply

    Here’s an important distinction to make. There was one temple, and that was Jerusalem. The temple was not a synagogue; the synagogue was not the temple.

    Remembering that there was likely no synagogue building in Nazareth, it seems likely it was very ad-hoc. As Nazareth (and most towns in Galilee) were peasant towns, they likely could not afford a building, scrolls, or an “official” rabbi. Were Jewish stories likely taught? YES, but probably following an oral tradition.

    It’s important to realize that in the synoptics (Mark, Matthew, and Luke, which are likely more historically accurate than John), Jesus doesn’t have interactions with the chief priests until he takes his one trip to Jerusalem during the week leading up to Passover.

    Why did Jesus draw the attention of chief priests and other Jewish leadership in Jerusalem? He brought a band of people into the temple area when Roman officials are on high alert for persons groups who might want to be a new Moses leading people in an Exodus from Roman rule. Not only that, he turns over tables and makes a scene. Plus, he comes back day after day to teach. Each time he draws a crowd who are amazed and like what he is teaching as opposed to what those in authority are teaching (and practicing). He is clearly a threat on many levels.

    It is also very important to realize that while Jesus is teaching in the “temple” during the week of Passover, he is likely NOT teaching in the temple proper. More than likely, he is teaching in the court of the Gentiles, which was a controversial addition made by King Herod the Great to show his political power both to the Romans above him and his subjects below. How can we assume that? First, he turns over the tables of the money changers. Second, and related to the first, when asked about paying taxes, Jesus asks them to tell him whose image is on the coin THEY have. No graven images were allowed in the temple proper – thus, the need for money changers who exchanged people’s money with images for coins without. Anybody could be in the court of the Gentiles, and anybody could preach.

  15. By d on Jul 17, 2012 | Reply

    “Jesus replied, “Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people gather. I have not spoken in secret.”
    Joihn 18:20

    “And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

    Matthew 21

    Jesus refers to that “Herod built temple as “my house” understood as God’s House.
    The Levites, as the servants of the Temple….
    …The Temple of Solomon was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.

    “The place of meeting was called “bet ha-keneset,” since an assembly of the people for worship was termed a “keneset”; the assembly described in Neh. ix.-x. was known in tradition as the “great assembly” (“keneset ha-gedolah”;”

    . The great prophet, in the second part of the Book of Isaiah, in applying the phrase “house of prayer” to the Temple to be built at Jerusalem (Isa. lvi. 7 and, according to the very defensible reading of the LXX., also lx. 7), may have used a phrase which, in the time of the Exile, designated the place of united worship; this interpretation is possible, furthermore, in such passages as Isa. lviii. 4. The term was preserved by the Hellenistic Jews as the name for the synagogue (προσευχή = οἶκος προσευχῆς; comp. also the allusion to the “proseucha” in Juvenal, “Satires,” iii. 296).

  16. By d on Jul 17, 2012 | Reply

    “5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.”

    The Holy City is Jerusalem also called the City of David.
    Notice the word temple.

  17. By Troy Sims on Jul 17, 2012 | Reply

    Notice Jesus isn’t teaching there.

  18. By d on Jul 17, 2012 | Reply

    Jesus is always teaching.

    9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
    Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
    Behold, your king is coming to you;
    righteous and having salvation is he,
    humble and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
    Zechariah 9:9

    ט גִּילִי מְאֹד בַּת-צִיּוֹן, הָרִיעִי בַּת יְרוּשָׁלִַם, הִנֵּה מַלְכֵּךְ יָבוֹא לָךְ, צַדִּיק וְנוֹשָׁע הוּא; עָנִי וְרֹכֵב עַל-חֲמוֹר, וְעַל-עַיִר בֶּן-אֲתֹנוֹת.
    9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy king cometh unto thee, he is triumphant, and victorious, lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass.

    וּשְׁאַבְתֶּם-מַיִם, בְּשָׂשׂוֹן, מִמַּעַיְנֵי, הַיְשׁוּעָה.
    3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
    Isaiah 12:3

    What does Jesus teach?
    “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
    Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” John 7:37-38

    This most likely occurred at the Water Drawing Festival or Simchat Beit Hashoavah.
    Jesus would have been addressing Jews. They would be the primary participants.

    We have to put the pieces together to get the true picture

  19. By Troy Sims on Jul 17, 2012 | Reply

    Again, let us agree to disagree. I don’t believe much of any of the Gospel according to John is historical. For me (and I’m not alone) it’s a theological treatise written by someone explaining Christian concepts to predominantly Greek speaking Gentiles using a narrative that includes Jesus. If you read the text closely, you’ll see that he often has to explain what the Jews do. The book starts with the Greek concept of LOGOS.

    So, to quote something to me from John and say I have to read that into another book of the Bible (or vice versa) is going to make me say, “Let us agree to disagree. We’re talking apples and oranges at this point.”

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