Recently I enroll into a course module in my bible school learning about the New Testament from the bible. I like to take this opportunity to share with you my experience of what I have learn in the module.
When I first enter into the class, I was honestly very eager to start the class as I wanted to know more about the Scriptures other than just reading the text. Unexpectedly, the beginning of the class started with lots of history lessons of times before Jesus came to this earth. The teacher shared with us many historical events such as the times of the Hellenization, Ptolemies, Seleucids and much more to understand the symbolic world of the NT. I realized through the study and understanding of the historical events that happen before Jesus came gave me a clearer understanding of their culture and sufferings the Jews had to go through during those times before Jesus came.
One key idea I learn from understand the symbolic world of the NT is that many people who read the bible tend to read the context of the bible and relate the text to today’s context or culture. However, the bible was written about 2000 year ago and the cultures of that time are totally different from today’s time.
On top of learning the historical events and culture that happen before Jesus time, the teacher also covered many aspects of Jewish Religious communities which I found it quite interesting. I was shocked to learn there were various different communities during that time with different believes and practices and it’s exactly what is happening in our Christian community as well today. Among the communities during that time were the Hasidim, Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots.
For the longest time that I read the bible, I have always wondered why the Jews did not accept Jesus as their savior. On top of that, they held an illegal trail against Jesus held at night in a closed meeting without any witness to defend himself. That just shows to me, how much Jesus was not accepted by the Jews.
It was than later the teacher highlighted that the Jews had some expectations of a messiah. Before Jesus, there was King David (2 Sam 7) who gave a everlasting kingdom to the Jews. Therefore, they were expecting someone with authority and power to bring peace as a powerful messiah. When Jesus appeared, it did not appeal to the Jews he was the messiah as he did not show much of what a king David did that time.
What was worst was I learn that even the 12 disciples themselves were actually not too sure if Jesus was the messiah. Just like the other Jews, they expected a Messiah just like King David to bring that out of danger from the Romans but however what he does in the ministry seems to be totally different from what happen in the past.
It was because of this understanding that I realized why, the 12 disciples all left when Jesus was caught and many of them went back to do their business. It was only one person in the gospel that actually knew who Jesus was through his time on earth and he was a non believer!
It was mention in Matthew 27:54 that the centurion who was guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened said “Surely he was the Son of God!”.
Another key idea I learn during the understanding of the 4 gospels Mark, Matthew,Luke and John. That actually each gospel is written for a different audience in mind and purpose. For example, Mark was written to tell the message of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1) where as Matthew is focus on Didactic & Liturgical. Therefore, if you have that mindset in mind of the writer’s purpose it actually gives you a clearer understand why some verses were written in that way.
Throughout the entire class so far, what I take back the most was that Christians are to do things that is pleasing to God. It is only when we do things that pleases God that God will be pleased with us. God is free to do what he pleases and actually does not need to hear our prayers. As sinners we all deserve to die and go to hell but it was because of Jesus who love us so much he sacrifice him selves with all our sins to give us hope and salvation through him. I thank God for Jesus and because of his mercy and grace we can still be loved and forgiven as long as we humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness Amen!