When Judaizers Skip Window's Mites on the Sea of Galilee.

skipping-stoneNT Wright says this about Jerusalem and the Ministry of Jesus,

“It was in this world that Jesus grew up, and to this world that he addressed his preaching. If we are to understand the thrust of Jesus’ ministry, we must project ourselves as far as possible into the worldview and mindset of a first-century Jew”.*

This was pointed out by a friend on social media and when I read it, it caused me to recoil a bit. Maybe it’s because of some wild propositions I’ve seen recently regarding the New Covenant, maybe it’s because some seem to think that just because they’ve smelled the fossilized leather one of Jesus’ sandals or skipped window’s mites on the Sea of Galilee that they have better biblical interpretive skills, or maybe it’s simply that I’m mentally fixed on this issue at the moment, I don’t know, but it’s the last part this N.T. Wright quote that bothers me.

“If we are to understand the thrust of Jesus’ ministry, we must project ourselves as far as possible into the worldview and mindset of a first-century Jew”.*

While I would agree that any holy due diligence seeks to understand culture, history, audience, language, etc., should be encouraged, I’m not so sure that ‘projecting ourselves into mind-set of a first-century Jew,’ is really our goal.

“For who has known the mind of THE LORD JEHOVAH that he may teach him? But we do have the mind of The Messiah, The Christ (Aramaic Bible in Plain English) 1 Corinthians 2:16 in conjunction with Isaiah 40:13

[Tweet “Our goal is the mind of Christ, the trans-century Jehovah, not the ‘mind of a first-century Jew.”]

In the early church, those who taught a combination of God’s grace and human effort were called “Judiazers.” The word Judaizer comes from a Greek verb meaning “to live according to Jewish customs.” The word appears in Galatians 2:14 where Paul describes how he confronted Peter for forcing Gentile Christians to “Judaize.”  I fear that Judiazers are again on the rise and that the subtle doctrinal encroachments that are being put forth now are only the first of many waves.

Our goal is not be conformed to this world, or the history of it, but to be transformed by the renewal of our minds, that through the testing of them, ‘we may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.’ (Romans 12:2)

How does this renewal come? By thoughtful reflectiveness in faith, by not thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought, and by appropriating the blessings of unity in a multi-function ekklesia. (Romans 12: 3-21) By being “made new in the attitude of our minds” (Ephesians 4:23). By becoming a new indigenous and celestial species, (2 Corinthians 5:17). By embracing the death of our crucified selves and living in the reality of Christ living in us. (Galatians 2:20).

Also, I’m stuck in the idea of ‘understanding the thrust of Jesus’ ministry.’ Why do we want to understand the thrust his ministry? Why not try to understand His truth, ‘Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth,’ (John 17:17) and let ministry flow from there?  Trying to unravel the mysteries of Jesus’ ministry and steps before His teaching’s seems to be reverse engineering ourselves into a state of clever paralysis.

Finally, if it’s true that here is neither Jew nor Gentile (Galatians 3:28) and that we are all and equally Abraham’s seed (Galatians 3:29), then Why chase after the minutia of the mind of the first-century Jew instead of the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. Yes, even the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:10)

*S.C. Neill and N.T. Wright, The Interpretation of the New Testament, 1861- 1986 (2nd ed., Oxford, OUP 1988) 379-403

0 thoughts on “When Judaizers Skip Window's Mites on the Sea of Galilee.

  1. Peter says:

    God prefers Windows since that whole Apple thing in the garden.

  2. springsman says:

    I believe the reference of Wright is that we need to know not only the mindset of the world but of the jews also. Jesus’s ‘answer’ to the world’s and to the jews background would be key to Jesus ministry to show everyone who He was, and to represent the judgement of God and his purpose. We would be deemed worthy to be His.

    • fortheauthor says:

      We are deemed worthy to be His by faith is His redemptive work and shed blood. That is what He came to show the world, Jew and Gentile alike. The sacrifices in the Old Testament were a picture of what was to come; Christ was the final sacrifice. When He came and died, it was finished and the sacrifice was taken away.

      Much of the Jewish mindset was belief in salvation through law keeping, which was why Jesus strongly rebuked the keepers of the law. They did not recognize the purpose of the law, but abused it, and abused people with it, rather than using it to lead to grace and faith, the way David and Old Testament faithful did.

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