Sunday, April 23, 2006

33AD Huddle Gets Started!


Our format for our bi-weekly studies has changed. We are still going to have one "33AD Session" a month, where we will look in depth at certain passages throughout the gospels. We are still continuing with our Gospel of John studies. Every other week, however, we will gather to discuss our book writing project One Hell of a Week which we are undertaking in order to ramp up our personal growth and study of the Gospels...concentrating on the Passion Week of Jesus our Messiah.

So, every other meeting, which I'm calling for now "33AD Huddle", we will discuss your own personal research and hopefully encourage you to write a dramatic account of an event from the Passion Week using your research. If you choose not to contribute a piece to the book effort, that is ok. You can still research on your own topics that will help contribute to our collective research. Although the topic you choose has to have something relevant to the Passion Week, it need not necessarily be limited to the relevant Gospel accounts of the week...You may, for example, choose to research the references to the crucifixion in Romans, the book of Revelation, etc. or study the foreshadows of the Messiah's suffering in Isaiah, the Psalms, or you may choose to look at more in depth other topics of relevance, e.g. the textual differences of the texts, references to the Passion week in other literature, Jewish society and history of the time period, the Roman occupation under Pilate, and so on.

When we gather for our Huddle, we will discuss our research, ask questions, discuss contemporary events in light of Jesus' Passion, go over our creative writing ideas, and so on. I believe this will completely galvanize our learning and understanding of not only the Gospels, but our personal encounters with the Beloved Son of God.

We are attempting to connect with scholars who are not only knowledgeable about the gospels, but they are fluent in Hebrew, read Biblical languages, have studied at Hebrew University, and so are very knowledgeable about first century Jewish literature, history, culture, Biblical interpretation...among many other things. Hopefully, they will help us on our quest through the "Helluva Week" forum referred to above. Please visit this blog to post a current synopsis of the piece you are going to write (if you are game for that) and ask away your questions to begin getting any guidance from them you need about the Passion Week events, the gospel accounts, background and language issues and so on. I'll do my best to answer myself if they don't.

Looking forward to this in so many ways! =)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Session #7: Here Comes the Son

This image of an Israeli peace activist to me is quite startling. I cannot help to think of the unnerving quality of her empathy...and her look to Heaven perhaps says it all. More than that, her protest has something of a touch of Christ's Messianic vision of his protest in Jerusalem.

For those of you who missed our talk last week, a quick recap: We spoke about the true motivation of the high priesthood in getting Jesus done away with and nature of Christ's problem with them. Jesus sealed his fate with his relentless provocation of the corrupt practices of temple authorities. He opened up his passion week by turning over tables literally. But the final straw came when Jesus made it clear that he was truly coming to recover the fruit of His Father's "vineyard". In the midst of the crowds gathering for Passover, he told the "Parable of the Vineyard, the Tenants and the Son" (Luke 20:1-19). In it, Jesus makes it clear that the "Son" (the Messiah, see Psalm 2) was coming to collect a debt...the fruit owed to the Father. In other words, he was coming to collect the tithes of the temple (the "vineyard" of Isaiah 5, which was a metaphor for the temple among the Jews of the day) that never seemed to leave the pockets of a lavishly wealthy and corrupt high priestly clan (the House of Caiphas/Hanan) who are the "tenants" in the parable, and hardly ever seemed to trickle its way down to the landless Levite, the alien (hmm...shall we say "guest worker"), the orphan and the widow...which Deut 14:29 makes clear the tithes should go to. In fact, Jesus blasts the Saduccean priestly hierarchy for "devouring widows' houses" (Luke 20:47). Why were the early Christians in Acts feeding the widows of Jerusalem one must wonder, when this was the responsibility of the temple authorities? It is not for nothing that Jesus labelled the widow's two mites "more than all" (Luke 21:1-4)...for the incident provokes his disciples to comment on the architecture (v. 5), which those two mites were going sustain. Thereupon, Jesus begins to prophesy the temple's demise. Looked at another way, God sold his house for two mites. For he too was not going to rob widows' purses. A new temple was going to be founded, Jesus foretold, the "stone" that the builders rejected was to become the "chief cornerstone" (Luke 20:17, see Psalm 118). The Jewish church was founded on that cornerstone, and not at all incidentally, its first martyr, Stephen, was one of its chief widow feeders.

What is probably driving the empathy of the woman above:

(A Palestinian woman grieves the loss of her house).