The Fig Tree parable offers assurance that despite the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, Israel will eventually be redeemed.
The consequences of persisting in violent struggle with the Roman Empire would be suffered by the innocent and the guilty alike.
Yohanan the Immerser Demands Repentance
In Yohanan the Immerser Demands Repentance John the Baptist challenges his audience, which had gone through all the trouble of going out to the Jordan River to receive his baptism, to accept his even more important advice: to repent of their evil deeds and imitate the faithfulness of Abraham their father.
Darnel Among the Wheat Parable
Is the Darnel Among the Wheat parable an allegory about eschatological events, or a lesson about God’s character?
Spontaneous Growth Parable
An exploration of a parable unique to the Gospel of Mark.
Four Soils Parable
By not revealing what the Four Soils parable was about until its dramatic conclusion Jesus drew in his audience and held their attention, making them the very thing the parable urged them to be: good listeners.
Mustard Seed and Starter Dough Parables
Jesus used the Mustard Seed and Starter Dough parables to demonstrate that the Kingdom of Heaven is a living and active presence that is increasing within the realm of human experience.
Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple
When three eager prospective disciples asked permission to follow Jesus, Jesus responded to each of them with a riddle. Why would God allow Jesus and his followers to sleep on the ground when he provides safe places even for the animals to sleep? How can the dead bury a corpse? Why would a disciple set his hand to a plow when Elisha had given up plowing in order to follow Elijah? These riddles would have to be puzzled over before their meaning was fully understood. But each of the riddles were ominous, and it appears that each of the three prospective disciples reconsidered his desire to join Jesus.
Chickens and the Cultural Context of the Gospels
One aspect of the cultural context of the Gospels that is often overlooked is the role played by animals. In this article I will explore the significance of chickens in first-century Jewish culture and the part they play in the story of Jesus.
“Treasure in Heaven”: Examining an Ancient Idiom for Charity
The growing value placed on charity in the first century C.E. cannot be overstated. As a new sensitivity developed within Judaism that challenged the compensatory “blessings and curses” paradigm of the Hebrew Bible (cf. Deut. 28) as a basis to serve God, so there was a shifting emphasis towards altruistic love embodied in the Levitical commandment, “…and you shall love your neighbor as yourself (וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ אֲנִי יי; Lev. 19:18).”
Farms, Shepherds, and the Cycle of Life
My favorite image of Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-16). I’ve never come close to laying down my life to save our sheep from wolves or coyotes. I don’t camp outside with them in a desert, or lead them for miles to find food and water. But I do care deeply for these gentle creatures. In their quiet acceptance of God’s Will—just being what they are—they teach me to trust that “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23), no matter what.
Jesus’ Sabbath Dispute with Pharisees in a Cornfield
The debate between Jesus and the Pharisees about plucking and eating corn did not concern labour on the Sabbath but concerned eating food which was allowed only to priests.
Are Christians Supposed to Tithe?
If Jesus censured the Pharisees for loading burdens upon the people that they could not bear, would he not censure today’s pastors for doing the same thing?
Let the One Who Has Ears to Hear, “Hear!”
Gospel parables are probably the most widely identifiable teaching form of Jesus. However, readers seldom recognize Jesus’ sophisticated skill as a first-century Jewish parabolist. Indeed, many Christians are unaware that his use of story parables is one of the strongest links between Jesus and contemporary Jewish piety. His parables also demonstrate that Jesus taught in Hebrew.
The Season of Redemption
In the face of a national disaster, hope remained. Summer and its ripe figs—signs of future redemption—would come.
Enemies of the Harvest
In his famous Parable of the Sower, Jesus referred to seed sown in soil that was full of thistles. What did these thistles look like, and how did they succeed in choking the grain plants?
Reading the Landscape: Neot Kedumim, the Biblical Landscape Reserve in Israel
Neot Kedumim is dedicated to exploring and demonstrating the ties between the biblical tradition and the nature and agriculture of the land of Israel, as expressed in Jewish and Christian prayers, holidays and symbols. The reserve’s reconstructed biblical landscapes are open to guided and self-guided tours by groups and individuals.
Streams of Living Water: The Feast of Tabernacles and the Holy Spirit
This year the festival of Sukkot, or Tabernacles, takes place on October 9—16. JERUSALEM PERSPECTIVE has asked the famous biblical landscape reserve, Neot Kedumim, to provide our readers with some of the reserve’s wonderful insights into this festival, and Neot Kedumim staff member Beth Uval has contributed the following.
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