A recurring and definitive question in reading the story of Yeshua is where he placed himself in relation to the Israelite people and Judaism, on the one hand, and the new community he envisioned coming after him, on the other. When reading controversy stories, should we assume that later Christians are speaking through Yeshua, putting, as it were, words in his mouth? Or is it realistic to read Yeshua as forming a renewal movement within Judaism (and also one that will go beyond it)? Is he forming something other than Judaism to replace it or something within Judaism to renew it?
One of the clearest and harshest stories Yeshua told in condemning his generation was that of the Wicked Tenants (Mark 12:1-12 and also Matthew 21:33-40 and Luke 20:9-16). It is a story which has much potential to be read as some sort of Christian invective or triumphal tale of replacement. It is also very much a story about the identity of Yeshua, his exalted authority and role. It is all too easy to combine the two, to think that any high view of Yeshua’s identity is post-Jewish and belongs together with the story of Christianity replacing Judaism as the chosen faith. And, conversely, any story faithful to Yeshua’s Jewish context, it might be assumed, would then opt for a low view of his identity — a mistaken prophet unjustly condemned.
Watch for the book, audiobook, and ebook of Yeshua in Context to be released in August 2010. To pre-order, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
LISTEN IN ONE OF TWO WAYS:
1. On iTunes, search for “Yeshua in Context” under podcasts.
2. Or listen at this link on derekleman.com.