Jesus the Apostle

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Early Christian depiction of Jesus and his disciples in the catacombs of Domitilla in Rome. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Today we usually think of Jesus as the one who appointed apostles, and to hear of Jesus himself being referred to as an apostle can sound jarring. But while referring to Jesus as an apostle might seem strange to Christians in the twenty-first century, this designation for Jesus would not have sounded strange to early believers.

Sending the Twelve: Apostle and Sender

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Byzantine illustration of a man sending someone on a journey. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Apostle and Sender saying (Matt. 10:40; Luke 10:16) not only gave assurance to Jesus’ emissaries as he sent them out on their first healing and teaching mission, it also offers us an extraordinary glimpse into Jesus’ high self-awareness as the shāliaḥ, or official representative, of Israel’s God. In this segment of the Life of Yeshua commentary, David N. Bivin, JP’s editor-in-chief, and Joshua N. Tilton envision how Jesus’ Apostle and Sender saying may have been worded in Hebrew and explore the Jewish backgrounds of this profound saying.

JP Welcomes New Author—Professor Serge Ruzer

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Professor Serge Ruzer

Our most recent author, Professor Serge Ruzer of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has just published a new article on JP that explores the Jewish context of Mark’s account of Jesus’ baptism, and how this description ties in with first-century Jewish messianic expectations.

The Programmatic Opening of Jesus’ Biography as a Reflection of Contemporaneous Jewish Messianic Ideas

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Fresco by Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel depicting the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In this study Professor Ruzer suggests that there was a broader first-century Jewish context behind the narrative strategies employed in Mark’s prologue to Jesus’ messianic biography. On the other hand, he also demonstrates that Mark 1:9-11 can be used to recover an early phase of a pattern of messianic belief, seemingly shared by wider Judaism, that continued into the rabbinic period. In other words, New Testament evidence can be an important witness to broader trajectories in early Jewish messianic beliefs.

May His Memory Be for a Blessing

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Elie Wiesel. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The recent death of author and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel reminds us that we are living at a time when the survivors of the Holocaust are becoming fewer. The eyewitnesses to the horrors of the Nazi extermination program have done all they can do to entrust the memory and the responsibility of what happened to the next generations. How will we handle this awesome responsibility?

Gospel Origins: From a Hebrew Story to the Canonical Gospels

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Illuminated page from a manuscript of Eusebius' works. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Originally released as a pamphlet entitled The Gospels in 1972, Jerusalem Perspective brings you this discussion of the Synoptic Gospels by Robert L. Lindsey in a newly revised and updated edition. Herein Lindsey critiques the theory that the Gospel narratives were developed orally by Greek speaking Christians in a decades long process. Lindsey argues that there is strong evidence that the material preserved in Matthew, Mark, and Luke descends from a Hebrew document written shortly after the events it describes.

Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town

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Adam Elsheimer, Jupiter and Mercury in the House of Philemon and Baucis (ca. 1608). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton suggest a Hebrew reconstruction of Jesus’ instructions about how the twelve apostles were to behave when they entered a town. In this pericope we learn about the giving and receiving of hospitality among Jesus’ earliest followers. We also learn what may be wrong about the popular view that shaking the dust from the apostles’ feet was a symbolic action meant to signal to Jews who rejected Jesus that they were henceforth to be considered as Gentiles.