Hello to all. I’m “>Q<”,
(That’s a little bee busily flying around, looking to extract honey from scripture).
After having spent a couple of days considering the Lectionary Readings for 14OT, just a couple of days later I discovered an article about the “Gabriel Revelation” this morning. It struck me how what I’d been considering regarding the rebuilding of Sepphoris following the 4 BC Jewish uprising that precipitated the destruction of Sepphoris, and the new construction for Tiberias (which began in 14 CE), both of which coincided with Jesus’ work under the tutelage of his father, with whom he likely worked at either Sepphoris or Tiberias or both.
One has to try to imagine being under the scrutiny of the overseers of these massive construction projects while being a member of the Davidic lineage that had been marginalized to outlying areas, such as Nazareth, after most of the Jewish population of Sepphoris had been enslaved for their part in the 4 BC insurrection against the Roman occupation. My thoughts ran thus: In the light of scrutiny by Antipas’ overseers of the construction, Jesus speaks of the true Father and offers public prayers of praise. Imagine him standing up and turning his palms toward the sky and declaring, "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” We can make the connection, that his prayer could have been an invective against all those who quietly submit to the lord-overseers who are colluding with Rome. And what would be public reaction to a statement like, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him”? By considering the passage in this way, we are able to discern the contrast between earthly authority that oppresses and subjugates versus the true source of authority that moves Jesus to stand publicly to pray such a bold prayer out-loud. Jesus is declaring God’s power to be in his hands, not in the hands of his government and its corrupt ties to Rome’s army of subjugation. His final statement literally reeks of the parallel between the two types of authority by obliquely speaking about the yoke of oppression, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” The yoke Jesus places upon us offers us rest from the struggle, and brings us into direct relationship with him, and the Father through him.
One has to consider the details of the “Gabriel Revelation” stone without getting too caught up in the passions of emotion that want to defend long-held beliefs brought about through a fixed perspective: a man named Simon, a rock (crevice in a rock), the fact that Simon’s head was struck off by a sword (and the potential parallel in Matthew 26:51-52, which tells of someone [Simon Peter?] striking off the high priest’s servant’s ear).
Along with these markers that deserve careful consideration in their own right, we might also be asking ourselves, ‘What was the “sin”, according to the Jews, that required remediation thought Jesus’ death? For them, it was transgressions of the Law that caused them to fall into subjugation by Rome. This is the one theme that is irrefutable in Jewish scholarship. And their messiah/king would remedy their shortcoming by his righteousness so that Palestine would regain its sovereignty.
Regardless of how we understand the events through Christian eyes, whatever took place must make sense through Jewish eyes as well.
Is there anyone here who is willing to discuss this train of thought dispassionately? I’m not interested in getting into an angry defense of narrower theology, but in making sense of scripture that takes history and culture into account.
Peace be with you all,