When you read the Fourth Gospel in light of its Jewish context, you realize that the focus of this gospel is narrow but profound. John focuses on a mystical theme, the union of heaven and earth, the coming down from heaven of the Word to reveal divine love and lift people into the life of the age to come.
Mystical ideas had been around before Yeshua’s time, in Torah (Moses and the elders see God on a lapis lazuli pavement) and the prophets (Ezekiel’s vision of the divine chariot) and the wisdom books (wisdom personified and preexistent). These themes continued throughout Jewish history and found expression in a number of movements, including Hasidism and kabbalah. Paul Philip Levertoff comments that the Gospel of John is the most Hasidic writing of the New Testament.
Much of what Yeshua said in his discourse with Nicodemus was based in the prophetic theme of a new birth in the last days, the pouring out of God’s Spirit making people new. Yet some also of what Yeshua said was beyond Nicodemus’ ability to understand before the resurrection and enthronement of Yeshua happened. This podcast will focus on John 3:1-8, the discourse about the need for a birth from above, a mysterious action of the Spirit. Next time we will discuss the rest of the section, 3:9-21, in which Yeshua gets more specific about his theme.
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.