Monthly Archives: May 2015

Imagine you are preparing for marriage with some pre-marital counseling. The kind and helpful clergy person smiles at you, asking, “So why are you taking this step and finally getting married after three years of being together?” You gaze deeply into your fiancé’s eyes as you answer, “Most of our friends are married and we…

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To some degree, today’s short piece is a follow up to yesterday’s post in which I explained and defended the interest in Messianic Judaism we find among many non-Jews. I begin with a statement about MJ as a Jewish place, a home for Jewish believers. I then move into responding to the emotional situation reflected…

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They are inspired by what they read in the Bible. From Abraham to Moses to David to Isaiah, the Jewish people are the center of God’s plans to make something beautiful in this world. Some people who are not Jewish themselves are drawn by this, drawn to the Jewish people and toward Jewish practices that…

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Sometimes we don’t appreciate something until we face the possibility of losing it. Or worse, not until it’s already gone. It’s easy not to be able to see what’s so holy about certain things. Like the Sabbath day. Or a Torah scroll. Or a certain prayer from the Siddur. Or a certain holiday. But think…

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At the end of Part 1, we theorized that Paul’s rivals in Corinth presented Yeshua as a wonder-worker, a man who ascended to divine status, was possessed by divine power, and whose miracle-working could be passed down to his followers. To some, this depiction of Jesus might seem close enough, the very view, in fact,…

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The Good News Translation captures 2 Corinthians 11:25 well, “I do not think that I am the least bit inferior to those very special so-called ‘apostles’ of yours!” The term in Greek is huperlian apostolon, often rendered “super-apostles.” Their boasted qualifications led Paul to a fool’s speech in 2 Corinthians 11 and 12, boasting of…

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It’s easy to miss the Jewish brilliance of Paul. It’s common not to regard him as a Jewish thinker at all. He no doubt had much more to say than we will ever know in our lifetime, given the limitations of the Pauline writing we possess. But there are glimpses of more. And it is…

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Son of Man

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In making self-claims, Yeshua’s normal mode was to be ambiguous. This feature in the way the Gospels tell the story has become known as “the messianic secret.” It means that even today it is possible for some historians to say things like, “Jesus had no knowledge of being either Messiah or a divine man.” Is…

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This is the paper I just read at the Hashivenu Forum, a Messianic Jewish think tank. You can tell from my paper a lot about Dr. Vered Hillel’s paper on divorce. Dr. Hillel is the Provost of Messianic Jewish Theological Institute http://MJTI.org. I believe her paper will be posted on http://MJStudies.com. I will let you…

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It could be easy to doubt Paul. He is widely regarded as a key founding figure of Christianity and many people have mixed feelings about the legacy of the church. Perhaps Paul gave some bad guidance. Perhaps he left people thinking they could live like hell and wait for heaven. Perhaps Paul was a small-minded…

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In a fascinating study, Larry Hurtado examines the ways people in Yeshua’s lifetime exhibited worshipful behavior toward him (How On Earth Did Jesus Become God? Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005, pgs. 134-151). To be clear, people would fall on their knees before a king or general or even a landlord to implore their favor. Just because…

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God is the Lord of time and we are creatures swimming in it. But we can only swim in the stream of time in one direction. Time keeps on slipping, slipping into the past. And when time is gone we can only remember it. We sometimes remember it with regret. Others we recall with fondness. Sometimes…

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I’ve been teaching students Biblical Hebrew online for about two years now. But some people want Modern Hebrew and I don’t teach that. I’m thrilled to announce that a friend and member of our congregation is now starting to take online students. My wife and I began working with our friend as a tutor in…

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My friend and student, Krista Coyan, leads an interfaith Jewish service in a historic synagogue in the Czech Republic in the town of Ceske Krumlov. I periodically share happenings in Ceske Krumlov with MJ Musings readers. I will be traveling there in early August after a stop in London to meet with some new Messianic…

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One of the earliest expressions the first followers of Yeshua used was marana tha, which in Aramaic means, “Our Lord, come.” What they likely meant was, “Lord, Yeshua, be present with us in our gathering.” This is like Yeshua’s saying, “wherever two or three are assembled in my name, I am there with them” (Matt…

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The 2015 Hashivenu Forum is coming May 14-15 in Hartford, Connecticut. Hashivenu is an annual Messianic Jewish think tank. This year’s topic is “Marriage and Divorce.” I have been asked to give a response paper to Dr. Vered Hillel’s “A Messianic Jewish View of Divorce.” Before sharing this excerpt from my paper, I need to…

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The Torah teaches us the ideal, but has no power to enable us to live it. What the Torah unaided cannot do, God does in us by his Spirit. Last week’s Torah portion contains the essence of righteousness, the beauty of living for God through neighbor-love. Learning to do this in the power of the…

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I have an email list called the Daily D’var. I’ve been doing it for a while now, I think it has been five years. I send each day the daily portion of Torah, outlined and commented upon and with the full text of the JPS translation of the Torah. I also send a daily portion…

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