That day, as always, a large crowd gathered around the young rabbi, new on the scene. Amazed at his wonderful teaching, they sought him out wherever he went. And now that news of his miracles had spread, the throng pressed against him even more, nearly backing him into the Sea of Galilee. So Jesus, boarding Simon Peter’s boat, requested, “Row out a little way from the shore.” Continue reading Life’s Turning Points
She walked a lonely road, water jug hoisted on her shoulder, that Samaritan woman. During the heat of the day she made the trek, her solitary trek, to the village well. Only when certain the others had returned to their fires and garden plots did she venture out. They didn’t welcome her company. No more than she, knowing they despised her, cared for theirs. Continue reading The Samaritan Woman
Here in the western world, we no longer use pottery for much, other than plant pots and decorating. But potters and pottery played an important and vital role in Bible times. Continue reading Pottery Making in Bible Times
Poll tax, salt tax, and crown tax! Wherever they went, along major highways, at city gates, or along quiet country roads, the Israelites encountered the tax booth. The main symbol of foreign domination, and that which most stirred their indignation. Foreign taxation was nothing new to them, but the unscrupulous dealings of the Roman tax-farmers and collectors ignited their fiercest hatred. Continue reading Taxation in Bible Times
A brief reflection on Jews and Gentiles in the time of Christ.
When Christ appeared on the scene, it was during a time of hatred, factions, and divisions. Judaism was split into three factions: the middle class Pharisees, rich aristocratic Sadducees, and the Essenes who had taken vows of poverty. All three disliked each other and looked down on the Galileans, whom they viewed as uneducated country people. Continue reading Jews and Gentiles in the Time of Christ
Rabbis in Christ’s time used the following saying to express their disdain of Galilee. They proudly viewed southern Judea, with its traditional lore and religious academies, as far superior to the north. And could find no words strong enough to express their arrogant dislike of their northern Galilean cousins, from Nazareth in particular. Continue reading The Religious Climate in Christ’s Time