Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem for the events collectively referred to as the “Passion Week” was well planned. For some time he had been “on his way to Jerusalem”, and in his final approach he passed through Jericho. This oasis city had been in existence already for thousands of years, and its location astride the route to Jerusalem brought many travelers.
The most ambitious of these reference materials is a four-color Greek synopsis, which is designed to highlight the agreements and differences in wording between Matthew, Mark and Luke.
You may have received a letter from her. Or maybe you met her at a conference or workshop. In one way or another, she has had a part in your connection with Jerusalem Perspective. Her name is Barbara Chambers and she has been our office administrator since the end of 1994.
Spring is changing into summer. More correctly, the rainy season is becoming the dry season. We are commanded in Scripture to be thankful (Eph. 5:4; Phil. 4:6; Col. 2:7; 4:2), and even, to express our thankfulness publicly: “I will remember the deeds of the LORD…I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds” (Ps. 77:11-12; NIV). Therefore, I want to publicly thank God for his mercy in bringing down rain upon the land of Israel during this rainy season. We have witnessed a miracle of immense proportions!
One of the most amazing and unusual experiences we have living in Israel is to see people who are avowed enemies nationally and historically come together in harmony and peace. A number of Israeli organizations bring together Arabs and Jews who have mutual interests (for example, in the area of the arts). Often harboring strong religious and political differences, these people get to know and understand each other on a personal level.
Thousands of Israelis are inundating telephone aid centers. The reason: the difficult security situation and fear of approaching war with Iraq.
From the early centuries of the Christian era to our day, expositors of the Gospels have struggled with Jesus’ teachings on the Kingdom of Heaven, particularly with their temporal dimension. Will the Kingdom of Heaven appear one day in the future when the Son of Man suddenly comes? Or, has it been germinating like a seed with much potential for growth? Perhaps as C. H. Dodd suggested, it should be described as both realized and eschatological: germinal in reference to the past (and present), but explosive in regard to its coming manifestation.
I would like to congratulate Professor Safrai on his award, and add a personal note: I have known Professor Safrai since 1965 when he was one of my instructors at the Hebrew University. I have spent literally hundreds of hours with him. Not only is Professor Safrai one of the greatest scholars that the Hebrew University has ever produced, he is also a mensch. Kind, well-mannered, and above all, patient, he has been a model of right living to his many students.
One of the strongest impressions I have from my first year in Israel (1963-1964) was taking part in a Passover Seder (the joyous home celebration of Passover). It happened that during this first year in Israel my first contact with the Jewish people took place—there were no Jews living in Cleveland, Oklahoma, where I grew up.
As practitioners of Jesus’ teachings, our conduct certainly should be characterized by charity, but a helping hand with strings attached or expectations appended is not pleasant. This constitutes one of the mysterious aspects of the kingdom of heaven. It is The Transparent Agenda, a mandate to do good to all without prejudice and without expectations.
For the last three years Israel has experienced much lower than average rainfall. The situation is so bad that the Sea of Galilee, which serves as the nation’s main water reservoir and whose normal level is minus 208.90 meters, is now minus 214.16 meters, that is, almost 16 feet below normal.
One thing seems certain, in my opinion: we must renew our covenant with God again and again. Our relationship with God is not a one-time commitment, but an ongoing relationship.
The Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research held its Second Annual Symposium on Tuesday, November 20. The meeting for members and the reception for affiliates, budding scholars and friends of the Jerusalem School took place at the Hotel Monaco in Denver, Colorado.
As I lay in a hospital bed at Hebrew University’s Hadassah-Ein Kerem Medical Center, it was obvious to me that my body was completely out of control. My heart had been beating erratically for over 100 hours, and the only hope for restoring my heart to normal rhythm was cardioversion (electric shock therapy).
Last night I attended the birthday party of one of my closest friend, Halvor Ronning. Gathered around him were children, grandchildren and friends. Having lived 65 years, Halvor had reached a milestone in his life. There was good reason to celebrate.
Dr. Horst Krüger, Jerusalem Perspective’s representative in Germany, has suggested to me that Genesis 48:16 may be part of the background to a phrase found in the Lord’s Prayer. I believe that Dr. Krüger has made an important discovery.
In the time of Jesus, by rabbinic ruling, the giving of alms, or charity, was an acceptable substitute for sacrificial offerings. Jesus seems to have preferred the giving of alms. The story of the widow who put two small copper coins into the temple treasury (Luke 21:1-4) may be an example of someone who brought an offering of alms to the Temple rather than an animal sacrifice. The widow was very poor and could not afford to purchase an animal, or even small birds, to be sacrificed.
April here in Israel was a month of mixed emotions, a mixture of joy and sorrow. There were two major commemorations: Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 19) and Memorial Day (April 25); and two major joyous celebrations: Pesach, or Passover (April 8-14), and Independence Day (April 26).