Returning to JersualemJune 5, 2015 in Israel ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F
Last field day of the trip. Tomorrow, we return to Jerusalem for one final exam, then one more free day and then we’re off to the airport to return home. I can’t wait to see Carol and Sam and all my friends, but my heart is heavy thinking about leaving this place. It’s been such an important trip for all of us here. Carol’s been telling me “You need to go, you need to go,” and I knew that I did, but frankly, I didn’t know that I needed it this bad. It is not an overstatement to say that I will never read my Bible the same again. As I mentioned the last time I posted, it put flesh and muscle on Jesus, and all the humanity that gets erased from our Bibles comes pouring out in this beautiful country.
Let me share a little insight in that vein from yesterday. Judeans (people from area around Jerusalem) saw Galileans (people from the area around Galilee) as unsophisticated people with imprecise language and suspect religious commitment. Perhaps something equivalent to our modern-day “redneck.” As I said yesterday, the area of Galilee is the place Jesus called home. If you think about that, it changes the way you would read so many previously unnoticed passages. Think of Peter standing around the fire as he denies Jesus. “We can tell you’re from Galilee because of the way you talk.” Do you hear it? As you read through the gospels, if you listen carefully, you’ll hear this pattern repeated over and over.
Remember Nathaniel who says, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” At first blanch, it might look like he holds the same condescending attitude toward Galileans, but Nathaniel is from a small town, (Cana) not too far from, nor too different from, Nazareth. It almost seems as if Nathaniel subscribes to the label that had been placed on all the Jews from that region. Self-deprecation is part of his vocabulary, and he seems to own the prejudice.
If that’s the case, then Jesus not only had to overcome general disbelief in the true nature of His calling (namely Messiah), but he also had to overcome a prejudice that saw him as a lower-class citizen.
When you walk through the streets of a Greco-Roman Decapolis such as Sephoris or Beth She’an, and you see the beautiful marble columns, the paved streets, incredible mosaics, public latrine system, shops, water, 7000 seat theater, you can just hear the Roman way of thinking screaming for your attention. “Come here, let us show you what we are capable of!” And you jaw drops as you walk through their spectacular cities and entertain yourself with their offerings.
And then there’s this dirty Shepherd, hailing from hickville, stirring up a ruckus. He only has a few friends and doesn’t last very long. He ends up dying on a cross. Maybe you heard of him. Or maybe, you didn’t even notice.Read more