The Soreq Wall

I’m always learning something new. I learned this one from www.followtherabbi.com. Anyway, here it is:

06-04-11I always wondered about the time when Jesus got mad and threw the money changers out of the temple. (Matthew 21, Luke 19, Mark 11) I wondered why everybody thought it was ok in the first place – it seems to me like common sense that you shouldn’t sell stuff in church. Anyway, here’s what I learned – they weren’t actually in the temple, but in an area outside the temple. There was the temple, and outside it was the temple court, and then outside that was a wall called the “Soreq.” This wall was the closest that a gentile could get to the temple court and it was just outside this wall where the moneychangers were. The wall was about 5 feet and was basically designed to keep the “unacceptable” non-Jewish people out of the temple court. Jesus was mad that they were selling stuff in church, but He was even more mad that they had such disreguard for the (non-Jewish) gentiles who were there to worship. When He got mad He quoted a verse from Isaiah 56:7 which called the temple “a house of prayer for all the nations.” Notice the “all the nations” phrase. I always saw the “house of prayer” part, but. . . Anyway, He was mad that they were treating this particular group of people as outsiders when all along God had included them. Check out the verse before that one – Isaiah 56:6-7 “Foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, to love the name of the Lord. . . .these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. For my house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations.” Anyway, I just thought that explained the verse a bit more to me.

Here’s a bit more about the “Soreq.” In Acts 21:27-32 Paul is accused of bringing a non-Jew past the Soreq and into the temple court. They’re actually so mad that they tried to kill him. Later on, in Ephesians 2:14 Paul is talking about gentiles and Jews being “one” in Christ and he says that Christ has “destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” Could it be that he was refering to this literal wall??

Cool stuff! I love finding things like this ’cause it helps me read the scriptures more like I think the Jewish people would have back when they were written.

The Gates of Hell

06-03-23In Matthew 16, Jesus told Peter, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it”

Now, I have read this quite a few times, but just learned something. The place where Jesus spoke these words is significant. You see, Jesus and the disciples were in Caesarea Philippi near some caves. The Caesareans typically worshiped the greek god, Pan there, and they believed that their god lived in the earth. It was through these caves that they believed he moved back and forth. Literally – the gates of hell! Therefore, all of their worship centered around this place. Their worship was hugely inappropriate for any Jew to be near. (it included prostitution and sexual deeds with goats) The simple fact that Jesus brought them to this place was shocking enough, but Jesus actually suggested that they would be attacking those gates of hell. (Gates were defensive structures in those days so by saying the gates of hell wouldn’t overcome it – he was suggesting an offensive move by the church – well, the disciples.) Most Jews thought it good enough to avoid the world, but Jesus encouraged those interactions.

Now, here’s something else – the rock which would have been near them was a cliff which had niches cut out of it for pagan idols to rest. When Jesus spoke of the rock, it was in direct contrast to what they were literally looking at.

Read the whole interaction again:

Matthew 16

13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven;

Bread of Life

06-03-22 02The miracles of Jesus feeding the 5,000 and the 4,000 are interesting. My new insight is this:

The first miracle – Matthew 14:13-21 – takes place in what the Jews called the “land of the twelve.” (The place where devout Jews from the 12 tribes of Israel continued to worship the Lord.) There were twelve baskets full of leftovers. Representing enough food to feed God’s people!

The second miracle – Matthew 15:29-39 – takes place in the Decapolis area east of Galilee which the Jews called the “land of the seven.” (There were 7 pagan nations driven from Israel  by Joshua) There were seven baskets full of leftovers this time. Representing enough food to feed the pagans too!

Jesus is the Bread of Life and Savior of not only the Jews, but of the whole world!

In Matthew 14:22 and Mark 4, when Jesus tells the disciples to go to the “other side” of the lake, the disciples heard “other side” differently than we do. “Other side” culturally meant to the “land of the seven” where the devil lived and the sea was the place where evil spirits lived. This explains why they were terrified and called Jesus a ghost when they saw Him walking on the water. Jesus was showing them that He had power over these evil spirits and in a way kind of setting them up for the miracle which was to come, where He fed the 4,000 in the “land of the seven.”

Am I taking bread to people in the “land of the seven?” Do I love people who scare me? Have I gone to “the other side” with the Gospel?

Carpenter?

06-03-22I don’t know about you – but I’ve grown up knowing Jesus as a carpenter. I’ve even seen the bumper sticker – “My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter!”

Today I read that the word translated “carpenter” in the new testament is actually “tekton” which means a “craftsman who builds.” Most scholars agree that Jesus was more likely a stonemason who helped construct the buildings in the nearby town of Sepphoris. (only 2 miles from Nazareth) Israel’s buildings are made of stones, so Jesus’ father probably had taught him how to shape and cut stones. Archaeology has shown that Sepphoris was also constructed during the time that Jesus would have been in Nazareth, so it’s logical to think that He probably spent quite a bit of time working there.

Anyway – all this is to say – Jesus probably cut stones not wood!

Weird.

 

Spring Break

Wow – Spring Break has been fun! We’ve been to the Marquee theater, to play laser tag, and the best of all was the picnic at Shy Pond! If you weren’t there, you sure missed out! Anyway, it’s been fun hanging out with you guys!

Today a bunch of old friends came by on their way to the beach. It was tons of fun catching up with them and seeing what God has been doing with them all. It’s such a cool thing to know that God is always at work – all over the place. I get so caught up in my own life that I sometimes forget to look around and notice that life is not about me! It’s about God! When I get caught up in my own stuff, I sometimes remember what a friend of mine (Dustan) once said – "Don’t sweat it! It’s just life!" Most people think that life is a BIG deal, but Dustan’s idea is really probably more true – life is pretty short compared to the eternity that we have before us! I think he’s right alot of the time – It’s ok to stress about "eternal" things, but these "life" things are not worth worrying over.

Anyway, I hope you have a great Spring Break too.

PS – I’m not saying that life isn’t important – just that there are more important things.

Franciscan Benediction

06-03-07Here’s a Franciscan Benediction (from St. Francis) that I think is cool. I found it on a Charlie Hall CD.

“May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace. May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy. And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.”

Wow – I love it! Cool stuff! Yes God I pray that for all the Christians I know and for me too!

Awesome Moment

06-03-06This past weekend we went on a retreat to Camp Tejas. We called it our “Risk” retreat and focused on what it means to take a step of faith and risk moving out of the normal and into the supernatural. Anyway, I just thought I’d share one of the best moments for me. It was Saturday afternoon and we had a guy named Rodgers speaking to us about his life in Kenya. He made a reference to a story in the book of John (Chapter 5) about the guy who had been trying to be healed for 38 years. He asked if anyone knew the story and I could see the lights going on for Zach, one of our younger guys – he knew the story! He knew it really well ’cause we had studied it in Bible Study earlier this year. Anyway, in that split second of watching him remember the story and the excitement on his face – I knew that my work was worth all the heartache that it causes me. This guy knew the Bible because of something that I had been a part of – thank you God for reminding me that my struggles are worth it. Any “risk” I take for you is no “risk” at all – ’cause you’ve got my back!

Awesome Quote

What you are is God’s gift to you. What you become is your gift to God.

I’m not sure where this even comes from, but it’s pretty cool stuff huh? God has given us everything – our spiritual gifts, our families, our money, even life itself. What we do with those things is how we can honor Him and give back to Him.

I Wanna Be a Chimp

06-02-22 01I guess Justin’s a cow so I decided to join in on the fun – no – here’s an article I found that really spoke to me about how I treat Miranda – well, how I treat most other people too. I get way too interested in accomplishing my task and don’t pay enough attention to the people I’m with. Jesus always focused on people. Women and even chimps are better at this than I am.  (By the way Baby, I’m sorry for the times I’ve paid too much attention to getting stuff done, when I should have just wanted “to be with you.”)

Here’s the article:


Men, Women, Chimps, and Scientists by Dave Brisbin

Women and their men. I see them all the time. Airport terminals are a good place to watch. The roles, the emotions, the language is universal.

I see a young couple from the moving sidewalk coming toward me hand in hand. One of them has just arrived. I can’t tell which; the small case he carries is non-descript. They talk. She is smiling. Looks up at his eyes, back forward again. Up. Back. So much is said with her eyes. I can only imagine. I watch him. He is talking, but looks forward; she alternately at him and back ahead. What I see in her eyes he hasn’t seen as long as I watch.

 

They pass, and I watch their backs. I see her profile tilted up to his face, but only the back of his head—minding the tiller. I’ve seen this before. Why is it so much easier for women to know where to look? Where to keep their eyes? Moving through their lives with their eyes fastened to the sides, on the eyes of those who travel with them—their men more intent on destination, the negotiation of the journey. And how do women keep that look in their eyes as they search up into the profiles of their men?

 

06-02-22 02Last Wednesday night we got a video of scientists trying to teach human language to apes and dolphins . . . . . a segment stays in my mind. One man, a very famous scientist, spent three years raising an infant chimp and trying to teach him sign language. He named the chimp Nim. Nim did very well. Learned several hundred signs. But funding ran out, the project was disbanded, and Nim went to a zoo or something like it. After reviewing hundreds of video tapes of his sessions with Nim, the scientist concluded that Nim was only imitating his teachers and hadn’t really learned anything. Put a big dent in the chimp-teaching business for awhile.

Several years later the scientist went to see Nim. Hadn’t seen him since funding ran out on the project. In clinical voice over, he wondered if Nim would remember him. The video camera caught Nim walking with a trainer just as he caught sight of the scientist. Immediately chimp screeches filled the TV speaker at the rate of about three per second as Nim threw up his arms and sprinted, as well as chimps can in their loping way, for the scientist who got down on his haunches and braced for impact.

Nim leapt into the scientist’s lap and threw his arms around his neck. Chimp arms being what they are, they almost went around twice. All this time and for as long as the camera held on Nim and the scientist, chimp screeches never stopped or even slowed down, chimp teeth big and bright as the scene cut.

And I kept hearing those screeches, and I laughed and smiled and my eyes stung a little all at the same time because the scientist thought that Nim learned nothing, and Nim thought that the scientist was his father, or brother at least. Because the scientist was looking ahead at where he was going. Nim was looking at him.

I’d rather be a chimp than a scientist.

 

I’d rather be a young woman watching her man’s profile than a young man watching the road.

 


How weird is that? We get so caught up in getting everything done and even a monkey knows the most important thing in life is our relationships. I wonder how many times I’ve broken God’s heart by worrying about “getting things done” when he just wants me to “be with Him?” I wonder how many times I’ve done that to Miranda?

Boanthropy

06-02-15No Joke – I just found out today that there is a real disease called “Boanthropy” where someone thinks they are a cow. Someone suffering from this disease actually lives like a cow – they stay outside all the time, eat grass, and drink from a pond. Weird stuff. Evidently this is what King Nebuchadnezzar had during the 7 years that he was off his throne in Daniel 4.

PS – According to what I read, all you vegetarians better be careful – evidently that’s the first symptom of someone with Boanthropy.