Christianity 201

November 29, 2010

Messiah Watching with the Pharisees

Joe Amaral is a Canadian Bible teacher who covers much of the material familiar to followers of American Ray VanderLaan; in other words, the historical and cultural Jewish context of the world into which Jesus Christ was born.

On one of the DVDs available from his ministry, First Century Foundations, he notes that while we tend to dis the Pharisees for their chronic undermining of Jesus’ authority, there is a sense in which they were just doing their job.   As religious leaders, if Jesus was truly the Messiah, they had to be the first to know.

Joe Amaral teaches that according to extra-Biblical material from the times, we know that there were four signs that were to be manifest in someone claiming to be the Messiah:

  1. The healing of a man born blind.   No wonder so much space in John 9 is given to this story.    Verse 32 notes:  “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind.”
  2. The casting out of a demon in someone who was mute.   The pattern at the time was to ask the demon, “What is your name?”   Someone who was mute or deaf and mute would not be able to answer.
  3. The healing of a leper.   While the instructions to “show yourself to the priest” indicates that the law allowed for the possibility of the disease going into remission, as a rule, it did not.   Jesus healed ten lepers in the same moment.
  4. The raising from the dead someone who had been dead for four days.   There was a belief at the time that the spirit “hovered” around the body for three days.   Jesus took his time journeying to the home of Mary and Martha and in so doing, the raising of Lazarus took place on the fourth day.

There is real blessing in understanding the world at the time of Christ that is available through deeper investigation.

You can learn more about Joe Amaral at First Century Foundations.   Today’s notes are from the video Messianic Miracles.

You can learn more about Ray VanderLaan and the Faith Lessons video series at Follow the Rabbi.

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