The rationale for the Yeshua in Context podcast is getting back, in the limited ways this is possible, to viewing Yeshua’s life and message in the categories that were relevant for his own generation. So much water has gone under the bridge since then and the Jesus of Christianity has so many layers added that this is a difficult but important task. The Jesus of historical Jesus studies and the various quests for the historical Jesus have also been colored by many different biases.
We’ve been in a short series, inspired by Adele Yarbro Collins’ recent commentary on Mark in the Hermeneia series of commentaries. She considers how Mark presents Jesus as teacher, prophet, and Messiah.
If there is an area where our ideas have been colored by the later discussion and controversy about Jesus, it is this area of his Messiahship. Animosity and violence has so characterized such discussions for so long, people have polarized into a number of approaches.
A common one from television documentaries and the like is, “Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah–this was foisted on him by his later Christian followers.” A development in Jewish tradition has been a portrait of Messiah intended to look other than Yeshua, a reaction against Christian persecution which doggedly refuses to see any correlation between the Jewish Messianic concept and Jesus. The tendency in Christian commentaries and teaching has been to start with Jesus and find evidence from interpretations of Hebrew Bible texts, a dogmatic approach that says the Hebrew Bible must conform to Christian interpretations and so is not allowed to speak for itself.
What say we try a different approach? It turns out we have quite a bit of writing from before, during, and very soon after the life of Yeshua about various expectations of a Messiah figure. What say we look at these expectations and consider how they are reflected in the way the gospel writers portray Yeshua?
LISTEN ONE OF TWO WAYS:
(1) If you have iTunes, search Yeshua in the iTunes store and subscribe.
(2) If you don’t use iTunes, go to this link at derekleman.com.