April 7th, 2012
Historicity of the Resurrection and Jesus
1. The Five Facts
- Jesus’ Death by Crucifixion
- Disciples’ Beliefs that Jesus Appeared
- Conversion of the Church Persecutor Paul
- Conversion of Skeptic James
- Empty Tomb
2. Jesus died due to crucifixion
- Mara Bar-Serapion
3. Jesus’ disciples sincerely believed Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to them
- Creeds (i.e. 1 Cor. 15.3-7)
- Sermon summaries (i.e. Acts 2
February 4th, 2012
Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18For he knew that because of envy they had handed Him over. 19While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.” 20But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death. 21But the governor said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Crucify Him!” 23And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!”
The Matthean passage is Pilate’s offer to exchange Barabbas for Jesus. This historical background information given for this passage of Scripture was extremely helpful in understanding the context of the situation. Though, admittedly, there are no extrabiblical references to a release of prisoners at a festival time, there is an account of a release of prisoners.
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August 7th, 2011
As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” 58And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 59And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” 60But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” 61Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” 62But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
The passage in Luke is in reference to a problem passage where Jesus describes the costs to being His disciple by claiming that you must put Him at priority above all else. In a culture completely different from first century Judaism, the words spoken by Jesus are incredibly problematic and make Jesus seem to be unsympathetic to a man in grief. The historical context to Jesus’ words serve to eliminate the problem of sympathy and goes to show that His words carry much further to a deeper and more profound meaning.
The key historical context that is needed is to understand is the Jewish thought and priority to the parents. Parents were to always be shown favor. In light of parents being due honor in the Ten Commandments, it was esteemed with more honor than many other commandments (Letter of Aristeas 228). Tobit [4.3-4; 6.14-5] gives further historical background on the priority and respect given to parents in the context of the death of a parent.
Josephus elaborated on the view of funerals and the dead from a [Jewish] legal perspective according to the law [Against Apion 2.27-28 §§205-206]. The death of anyone was an event that was highly respected. During the funeral procession, anyone who passes by was to join with those who are mourning and lament. Josephus adds that the death of a parent is honored immediately after God Himself and if anyone does not honor this law then that person is to be stoned.
The historical facts that make these words of Jesus so incredibly profound are that it involved the death of someone and the death was of the man’s father. The question that immediately arises is whether or not Jesus broke the law by telling the man to follow Him. The answer would simply be “no,” He did not break the law. Jesus completely overrode that priority given to parents and in doing so actually made a claim of divinity. Notice that Josephus pointed out that parents were a priority immediately after God Himself. In Jesus saying that He had priority over the death of this man’s father was a claim, which would be understood to those who knew the law, that He was God. Jesus [as God] has immediate priority over everything.