12.5.09

I like this from Mark Allen Powell

'Jesus' conflict with Judaism can be understood as a clash of symbols. Jesus replaced key symbols appropriate to preserving Israel's distinctiveness during exile with symbols appropriate for the new reign of God. Feasting replaced fasting; since the exile was ending, life could now be viewed as a celebration (Mark 2:18-19). Open table fellowship replaced segregating purity codes as a more appropriate symbol of life in the post-exile reign of God. Likewise, healing the sick (as oppposed to quarantining them) symbolised the restoration of creation that was taking place. But, above all, forgiveness replaced retribution, blessing replaced cursing, love replaced hatred. '

The Jesus Debate, p.167

A call to be as radical as Jesus!

1 comment:

David Rudel said...

Hmm...I wouldn't agree with this. Doesn't Jesus claim the exact opposite in Matthew 5:18?

The things that Jesus destroyed were not the symbols that segregated the Jews, but rather the traditions that built up around those codes.

We don't see Jesus eating pork, and the taxpayers and prostitutes He hung out with were Jewish taxpayers and prostitutes. [That is what made the taxpayers so hated, they were seen as traitors to Jews.]

Jesus claimed that people did not have to wash their hands before eating, but it's hard to claim that He taught His disciples that they could eat with anyone they wanted, Peter had to be specially directed by God before he would enter Cornelius' place. 10 years after Christ's death the disciples are still not sharing Jesus with non-Jews.

One thing I don't like about this view is that it tends to legitimize the "fences" the Jews put up around the law, the "traditions" that Jesus openly attacks. It suggest somehow those traditions were an expedient to Jewish solidarity.

However, it seems to me that the Torah itself was more than enough to separate Jews. In an age where Jews (and only Jews) were circumcised and Jews refused to eat with non-Jews, etc. I don't think there was any need for extra traditions to be added to the Torah, and there is very little evidence that Jesus ever went against those divisions specifically stated in the Torah.

Had Jesus specifically broken the Torah (rather than the traditions) it is simply impossible that He would have been considered a Jewish Rabbi (as He is addressed many times since He did not make His Messiah-ship public). Furthermore, the Sanhedrin would not have had to find people to give false testimony against Him. He would certainly not have been allowed to preach in the Synagogues, etc.

Even Paul [of all people] kept the laws in the Torah throughout his life.

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