In the introductions to each of the Deeper Connections 18 Bible studies?shot in various locations in Israel?one can see the hills from which Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount, see the desert in which he found refuge from the crowds in order to pray, ride on a boat on the Sea of Galilee, walk the crowded marketplaces of Jerusalem, and pray at the Western Wall.
It is easy for us to forget that Jesus lived in another culture, which was very different from ours. These introductions try to connect Jesus? 1st century culture to our 21st century culture. The hope is that as we understand Jesus? culture and background better, we will better understand Jesus? teachings and live as better disciples.
Here?s a sample introduction: We?ve all read about how Jesus touched and healed the woman who was bleeding for 12 years. What we often forget is that in first century Judaism, a hemorrhaging woman would have been unclean. In the introduction to the study about this woman (taught by Gary Burge in The Miracles of Jesus), we find Jarrett Stevens hustling through a crowded marketplace, trying not to touch?or be touched?by anyone.
As the camera weaves its way through the crowd, we begin to sense the tragic nature of this woman?s condition?perhaps for the first time. We see and experience that it is not just a physical problem, but also a social and religious problem! She would have been an outcast of society: unable to enter a marketplace, a synagogue, or anywhere where other people were.
Do you think that the people in your church understand what the culture of Jesus was like? Do you think that such knowledge helps us understand the Bible better? What do you think we can do to help understand the Bible as a cross-cultural experience?